Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Postby William » Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:41 pm

Breeding Log: Allens Dottyback – Manonichthys alleni

I was very excited when I found two of these fish last spring (Late Febuary I believe). I quickly snatched them up for a very good price and was so very excited – I had one of these years ago and it was one of my most favorite fish I had ever had. Both were small-ish at around 2” I was quickly let down when I was down to 1 after l12 hours. Looking back at it, aggression might have played a role, but at the time I attributed it to shipping stress.

Time goes by and I am unable to find a replacement for the one I lost. Then comes August and I find replacement. This one is similar in size to the first ones when I got them. But it has been quite a while and the original has grown to ~3.5”. I toss the new guy in and before I had a chance to rescue it, it had been beaten to death.

Fortunately two weeks later I found another one. Again around 2”. This time I placed it directly into the basket rather than giving it a chance to settle in before their first play date. After it was settled in (a week later or so), I let him out, the larger fish had quickly beaten it up pretty good an I returned it to the basket. Once the fish recovered from the wounds from the last play-date I let them go play again. Always the smaller fish was quickly beaten to near death. One time it was so bad that I though for sure the fish would not survive. The wound broke all the way though it’s body cavity and some “guts” were hanging out of it’s body. But even that wound it recovered from eventually. This little guy is really a trouper. This went on until this 3 weeks ago. Rather than immediately trying to disembowel the smaller fish, HE danced for HER for 5 minutes or so before moving on to hunt and destroy mode. (Notice this is the first time I used sexual pronouns). Last week the same thing. And then this week – even more progress. HE did not try to kill her. She came out of her basket they checked each other out, and she then returned to her basket un-damaged. J I call that huge progress.

This week I have been leaving the door to her basket open for several hours each day(after a few hours she does seem a bit worn out defending herself from the male). She does seem to be gaining some weight around the mid section, and It would not surprised me if they produced their first egg ball before too long.
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Postby William » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:31 pm

The Female, (I am now comfortable calling it a her) has learned not to leave the safety of her basket, and I can now leave the door open all day so that when she feels the urge she can go on a date with her mate. The door has been open for more than a week now, and I have not seen her come out once. And because of this she looks in very good condition (Based on past experience with these two the male will beat her up pretty good in short order when he gets the chance).

And, she is continuing to put on weight in the mid section. I have a feeling that there are some eggs brewing. Hopefully they will make their first egg ball this week.
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Postby William » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:00 pm

And I have eggs.

The male would not come out of his pipe today so I thought something might be up. The pipe they chose to lay in is the relatively small 1" pipe that the male just barely fits in. I was unable to see around him to confirm that their were eggs so I pulled the pipe and emptied the contents into a net. And there was infact an eggball.

I don't know that this is their first nest. But it is the first nest I noticed....

To the unaided eye, they look identical to the infertile eggs my Aldabraensis produced. I photographed the eggs, and then returned them to the pipe.

But on the computer screen, they look fertile!!! Now I just hope that the male does not decide to eat them.

Image
Image
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Postby mpedersen » Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:50 pm

AWESOME!!!!! I'm absolutely asking to be put in line for a pair of these, so you better get 'em through!!!! :)
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Postby William » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:09 am

And some pictures of the parents.

The Female.
Image

The Male
Image

The 20H tank they share with a large pair of Gold Striped Maroon Clownfish.

The female hangs out in the basket in the top. It is hard to see in the image but there is a glass divider on the front of the basket: the divider is positioned with a small (1/2") gap on the left side.

The male hangs out in the large 1 1/2" pipe on the bottom right during the day, and sleeps at night in the smaller 1" pipe on the top left.

They layed the egg-ball in the Males night-time den.

Image
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Postby aomont » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:27 am

That red spot on the pelvic fins is really a charm !
Congrats Will !
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Postby mpedersen » Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:34 am

Not the alleni I thought they were now that I see the broodstock, but equally nice for sure!!! I was hoping this was the yellow brested form! I gotta say, yours look better than any of the pictures I've seen of the white-tailed form...very deep blue!

I had to pull up Scott Michael's book on Dottybacks. According to that book, Will's form is the one currently listed as M. cf alleni, "probable new species". This form occurs in the more eastern part of [M. alleni's] range...These two color forms probably represent two distinct species." I should also note that this M. cf. alleni is supposedly more common in the hobby than the yellow brested form.
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Re:

Postby William » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:55 am

mpedersen wrote:I was hoping this was the yellow brested form!

Me too. The yellow bellied variant is at the very top of my wish list.
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Postby William » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:27 am

I have to say that Dad is an awesome parent. He did not come out of the pipe for 1 second the entire time the egg-ball was in there.

But just my luck. Last night I was expecting a clown hatch, and I got a dottyback hatch.

This morning the nest was gone and the male was out of his pipe. He did not look fat so I am assuming he did not eat it and they hatched last night.

Dottybacks must hatch later in the night than clowns do, when I went to bed, 3 hours after the lights went out, they had not begun hatching yet.

From the looks of the eggs when I photographed them on Saturday, fertilization must have occurred on Friday or Thursday. For now I am going to go with Friday Fertilization.

So that makes the schedule.

Friday - 1st night
Saturday - 2nd night
Sunday - 3rd night
Monday - 4th night

Hatching on the 4th night.

The few fertile P. aldabraensis eggs I had hatched/would have hatched on the 5th night so I was not expecting them to hatch until tonight.

- Lesson learned, next time I will pull these guy's nests on the 4th night.
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Postby William » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:32 pm

Wow, these guys are quick. They laid another egg-ball today, less than a week since they laid the last egg ball. I am going to have plenty of chances to get it right with these guys.

And the best part was, I was watching while it happened. Sooo cool.
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Postby William » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:13 pm

I noticed the male was not in the pipe guarding the eggs. Worried that he had eaten them I tore apart the tank looking for the eggs. I was going to pull the nest tonight anyway, so I figured I would just keep it when I found it (right where they should be in the pipe the eggs were laid in).

So I took some pictures of the eggs, and am now working on constructing some kind of egg tumbler.

_____________

So here are the eggs. They are less developed than would I expect for eggs that are going to hatch tonight. Perhaps I was wrong in expecting them to hatch tonight. Also interesting is that the last eggball was at least 4x larger than this one.

Image
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Postby mpedersen » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:32 pm

Sweet pictures Will - how'd you get them?
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Postby William » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:53 pm

Short answer: I take a picture with my camera and then crop HEAVILY.

Long Anwer:

Camera: Canon EOS 5D
Lens: Sigma 150mm Macro + Kenko 1.4x Teleconverter + Canon 500D Diopter
Exposure: 1/200s F/16 ISO 100

The egg ball was in a drinking glass setting on a table. The flash was lieing on the table about 1" away from the glass and connected to the camera by a cord. The Camera, shooting from directly above is hand held. The focus set to minimum distance and I move the camera up and down to get the focus right rather than adjusting the focus distance on the lens.

Here is the resulting image.

Image

I then selected a 600px x 400px section of the above image (marked in red) and crop the rest away. I then save the image without resizing it further.
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Postby William » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:17 pm

Argg.... I am so aggravated. They did hatch tonight. Why is it so hard for me to predict when eggs are going to hatch?

Without going into the (irrelevant) details, I suspect I already killed most/all of them by convincing myself that they were not going to hatch tonight.
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Postby William » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:49 pm

I believe that 2 larvae survived hatching. And I believe that both of them are still alive.
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Postby mpedersen » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:51 pm

It only takes one.... ;)
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Postby Luis A M » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:00 pm

Good work,William :D Keep trying!
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Postby William » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:09 pm

They should have spawned today,
  • Based on the time between the last two spawns, today should be the day.
  • Neither would eat today (which I have found it an almost fool-proof sign that a spawn is impending in all my fish)
  • The male spent 2 hours dancing
  • The female showed interest - and on several occasions entered the males den (but only for half a second - when they spawned last time they stayed in there together for 30 minutes or more)
But it never happened....

I feel so sorry for the male. He put so much effort into it. Not only did he dance for 2 solid hours, he wore the scales off of it's tail (quivering inside the pipe seems to be the last step in luring the female in) All for nothing.

It will be interesting to see if they spawn tomorrow, or if they wait a another whole week.
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Re: Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Postby William » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:34 pm

A sad follup on this one. About a week after the missed spawn, the ritual began again. During the dance, the female jumped ship and landed behind the tank in a hard to reach spot. It took me ~5 minutes to get to her, and return her to the water.

After that stressful event, she went on a hunger strike, refusing to eat at all. 4 weeks later she finally died (presumably from starvation).

So I am now on the look out for another female....
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Re: Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Postby William » Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:01 am

I have finally located another female. Hopefully this one will last longer than the previous female....
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Re: Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Postby jadeguppy » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:20 pm

Wow, what a long wait for a female. Good luck!
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Re: Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Postby BaboonScience » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:37 pm

Will
Are these the pair that the egg ball came from. If so, I had to cull just to feed them. I have about 50 - 75 after a week. Some look a bit squirrly but about 50 are feeding well. Already on bbs as a regular diet.
Sorry, no pics.
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Re: Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Postby William » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:22 am

No John, these are not the parents of the eggs I gave you. It will be fun when you finally figure out what you have been growing. :) Actually since you bring it up - the next egg-ball from the pair who's babies you are growing will be hatching tomorrow night. Do you need any more? :) If not I think I might give them a shot myself.

Hopefully it won't be too long before you can play with some of these guys eggs. This pair is progressing quite well. I have had the new female for about 3 weeks now. Up until now the female has been protected from the male in the basket. The female looks like she might be getting ready to spawn. So I replaced the glass separator with one with a small hole in it so that the female could leave the basket if she chose.

The first day she ventured out of the basket during feeding time. Surprisingly the male did not make any attempts at all to kill her. Perhaps the year of bachelorhood has taught him to be nicer to the ladies ;) But she spent most of the time in her basket. Today she spent most of the day out of the basket and tonight is even sleeping out of the basket.
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Re: Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Postby William » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:17 pm

Well, that turned out to be disturbingly easy.

They spawned today....
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Re: Breeding Log – Manonichthys alleni

Postby William » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:55 am

On Friday night I pulled the eggs and put them in to tumble. None hatched. I have learned that unlike with clowns, you can not return dottyback eggs to the parents after you take them. So I just left them tumbling.

Saturday night, they hatched. This morning when I got up, there was nothing left of the eggball, and there are lots of larvae. The larvae are very cute and quite distinctive from any of the Psudochromis sp. larvae I have hatched. They have a very distinct yellow spot on their back. Size wise they are about the same I think - measuring in a 3.6mm

This morning I added rotifers and IA nanno.

I also pulled one larvae to photograph.

Image
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