So here's my intial thoughts and musings:
#1. Bill mentioned nothing to discourage me from my theory that lighting levels play a role in how much black coloration will develop in an "onyx" line. Bill citing wild "black percs" coming from the shallows certainly bolsters that information. I also find it interesting that Bill experiences low #'s of Onyx in growout with the ambient / skylight situation, but yet other growers may be getting higher percentages in their growout, and if I remember correctly, at least one (Rod) is growing out under Metal Halides.
#2. There is certainly something distinctly different about the line of "Onyx" developed by C-Quest. There is definitely the issue of a Black Dorsal fin
....which seems to be a hallmark of the line and 100% absent in wild collected fish that otherwise share the same phenotype
. Of course, this still raises the question - how much of what we see in a fish like those produced by breeders working with the C-Quest line is the result of selective breeding BEYOND the original "mutation"...which leads me to ask...
#3 If it is in fact a mutation at all? There's still the question of the original broodstock that founded the C-Quest line. Were the original broodstock perhaps from SI or PNG? Afterall, we do know that SI and PNG perculas, even if not fully "black" do tend to have MORE black. Could it be that ANY SI or PNG Percula has the "capability" to express "Onyx" coloration via the genetic makeup? Could the expression of this phenotype
simply be the result of environmental factors (i.e
. what depth it settles at)? Or could we be looking at a case of Polymorphism
#4. Of course, there is also the question of age? We all know perculas take rediculous amounts of time to form things like bars, let alone black coloration. My general observation is that there is definitely a "time" factor associated with the development of full black-flanked coloration, both in wild fish and in the C-Quest line. I should again point out that even my male, purchased at an "adult" size, did not have any black between the 2nd and 3rd stripe at the time of purchase - it developed over the subsequent 8 months. To me, that means that my male percula was like at minimum 2-3 years of age before it had developed the full "Onyx" coloration. So is it age, light, or both?
#5. Those questions aside, it seems that for at least some folks, their "Onyx" perculas breed true and produce many Onyx Offspring. This would certainly be a qualification of a "Fixed" strain. Up until now, it's been called into question as to whether "wild" "onyx" clownfish can produce more "onyx" clownfish. My initial take, before seeing any evidence, is that in the wild, a phenotype
that has existed for some long-standing period of time will likely naturally breed true, or at the very least, there is some critical advantage to that coloration so only those that develop the full black coloration survie to maturity. It would make sense though that the species probably would breed true. I would expect any wild form of a fish to breed true, so in the case of Wild Caught fish, given the proper environment and care in growout, it is FULLY reasonable to expect that with enough time, they should all grow up to look like their parents. With all that said, only now are some of my first F1 Onyx starting to hit the 1 year mark, and while I have yet to see any fully marked "onyx" out of my offspring, among those that I've personally seen, most sure look like all they need is a tailbar and a bit more time...their flanks are already "dusky" between the 2nd bar and the caudal
#6. Here's the kicker for me. The LFS
I was at this evening happens to have 4 Onyx Perculas on hand straight from C-Quest! Out of these four, 2 are fully barred and fully colored and even have the "trademark" black dorsal fin
of the C-Quest line. These 2 happen to be the smaller ones. Of the larger two, one is a misbar, has the black dorsal
, and has what is best called a "black line" running along the back between the 2nd and 3rd bar. The last "Onyx" I didn't stare at as much, but if I recall correctly, has the black dorsal
but has no hint of black between bars #2 and #3 at this point in time. Size wise...not that far off from the male I purchased who is now my male broodstock WC
Onyx! I've seen others of the C-Quest line that don't have the black dorsal
either...so while a Black Dorsal
is most likely indicative of the C-Quest line, to not have a black-dorsal
would not rule a fish out of the C-Quest line.
As you can see, there's a lot of information there and yet not a lot of conclusive findings...just a lot of things leading you to believe something but no concrete facts to back up anything at the moment!!!
I guess there is one main thing I should point out...there are definitely two distinct lineages of fish being referred to as "Onyx". Whether that's correct or not is most likely a matter of personal choice...Wild Caught Fish showing full-black flanks are being referred to as "Onyx" Perculas regularly now.
So, the "Wild Type" of "Onyx"
- There are wild fish that come in from places like SI and PNG which have fully black flanks (or develop that trait later on in the aquarium).
Then, there's the "C-Quest Line" of "Onyx"
- fish from a selectively bred line of percula, originating from Regular Percula Broodstock at C-Quest, which may develop black flanks and usually have a black first dorsal fin
as well. The line has been bred by selecting fish which show early developing of their black coloration as well.
The remarkable part is that the only commonalities between these two lines is their phenotype
- the black coloration covering basically the entire flank. One is of wild natural origin, and the other is certainly suspected of being a mutation. If this is truly the case, it may be that there are completely different genetic and environmental factors at play in the coloration developing of fish from each line..in other words we might be comparing apples to oranges?!
I welcome all the folks out there who are raising offspring from "Onyx" parents to weigh in and share your experiences! As far as I am aware, there are at least 4 breeders working with the C-Quest line. I am the only one I know of working with "Wild" fish at the moment...anyone else out there?
Last edited by Anonymous on Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.