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Old 09/05/2018, 01:52 AM   #1
Hodad2
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My Adventure Breeding the Striped Blenny (Meicanthus Grammistes)

Hello everyone. Iíd like to share a success that Iím very proud of. Iíve been breeding marine ornamentals for the last year and a half. I saturated watching a series of YouTube videos on how to breed clownfish. From there, I learned how to culture rotifers, the most popular and universal first food for used in breeding fish mostly. You feed the rotifers microalgae, which also can be culture at home fairly easily, but buying a concentrate with many strains of algae is a lot easier. These concentrates contain extra essential and vital nutrients that are then fed to the larvae. Sounds like a lot but not that complicated. The hard part is keeping up with the water quality.
One of my first brood stock purchases was a group, of 5 Striped Blennies. They caught my eye with their sleek look. The vivid golden background is perfectly contrasted with horizontal pigment lines that run down most of the sides, with the rest random pigment dots and really caught my eye. The best quality of this fish is itís personality. These blennies are fun to watch their inquisitive, comical and curious nature. I could sit for hours and watch them.
After I got them home, acclimated and settled in to their new home in my larger display tank. They use the natural small indentations or ďcavesĒ in the live rock. They will look in to check it first, then turn around and back in. I did find out after the fact that these little guys ha e FANGS AND VENOM! Also known as the Fang or Venom Blenny. The venom is a powerful neurotoxin which can immobilize predators, even when swallowed. The venom from this little fish is so unique that it is being investigated by medical researchers because of the way that it acts on opioid receptors in humans. It was written up in the AMA Journal and a few aquaculture journals. Full of surprises.
Ill be posting the videos and pics in order and they are not really that organized yet. I will be posting the pics as I write this thread. I feel like theres way too little education about sustainable breeding by producing tank raised slecimens. These aquacultured fish and other marine ornamentals like shrimp, are alot healthier and handled with more care than their wild counterparts. We need to preserve our oceans, the wildlife, vast coral reefs and the whole ecosysem which is in great danger of becoming overwhelmed by the changing environment. We need to be wise stewards of this gift that we posses. We all can do our part as hobyists, to educate everyone.This is my part. The next posts will follow shorty so stay tuned.
Heres some pics of some of the adult broodstock of Striped Blennies..jpg[/IMG]


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Old 09/05/2018, 02:22 AM   #2
Hodad2
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I combed the infernet for information on breeding saltwater fish. I soon found out that this knd of information is hard to find, whatever that reason is. My searches led me to only a handful of books on breeding. I can provide the list of texts if anyone is interested. I bought used.
These books helped me get a good idea of what I need to do to be a succesful home breeder. One book in particular, covered all aspects of breeding. It goes thru each step starting with how to choose your broodstock. Also touches on the different ways fish spawn, how to look for differences when sexing the animals, pairing, conditiong, larval rearing, culturing live "first foods" like copepods and rotifers. Nutrition is covred thoroughly as is different way to maintain water quality and comaring larval rearing systems. Alot of information, a book ill never give away or sell. Its called "The Complete Guide to Breeding Marine Ornamentals" by Matthew Wittenrich. You can easily find used online.




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Old 09/05/2018, 06:29 AM   #3
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Awesome!! I have Matts book as well. I like it but was sad it didn't have Mandarins since he has done them.


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Old 09/05/2018, 01:55 PM   #4
mr9iron
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Originally Posted by Hodad2 View Post
I combed the infernet for information on breeding saltwater fish. I soon found out that this knd of information is hard to find, whatever that reason is. My searches led me to only a handful of books on breeding. I can provide the list of texts if anyone is interested. I bought used.
These books helped me get a good idea of what I need to do to be a succesful home breeder. One book in particular, covered all aspects of breeding. It goes thru each step starting with how to choose your broodstock. Also touches on the different ways fish spawn, how to look for differences when sexing the animals, pairing, conditiong, larval rearing, culturing live "first foods" like copepods and rotifers. Nutrition is covred thoroughly as is different way to maintain water quality and comaring larval rearing systems. Alot of information, a book ill never give away or sell. Its called "The Complete Guide to Breeding Marine Ornamentals" by Matthew Wittenrich. You can easily find used online.




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Very cool. Iím tagging along to see your progress. I love threads like this.



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Old 09/07/2018, 12:07 PM   #5
Hodad2
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Originally Posted by kizanne View Post
Awesome!! I have Matts book as well. I like it but was sad it didn't have Mandarins since he has done them.


Iím determined to breed those kizanne! Iím going to start researching, then find out the best place to get a healthy pair of adult mandarins. That would be too cool.


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Old 09/07/2018, 01:14 PM   #6
Hodad2
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So continuing the story...

I eventually was able to get ahold of 5 adult Striped Blennies. I went to a few different stores and was able to find all locally. As I started observing them, I saw that they were a very social fish, mostly interacting with their own species. They all cluster in a group and start doing this exaggerated dance. I immediately suspected it was part of a mating ritual. This went on for a few months. I also noticed that the biggest fish, which I suspected was a male, would ďwhipĒ itself back and forth, as youíll see an example of below.
While Iím at this point, it would be a good place to stop and say some important things regarding broodstock that Iíve learned, so I donít forget. When choosing some of these or other species within the Meiacanthus family, always buy in groups of 4 or 5. With these guys there is no really obvious differences between sexes, so it hard to specifically buy just a male or just a female, until AFTER theyíve laid eggs. You basically have to gamble. You can increase your odds immensely by buying more than four, statistically speaking. One male will mate with more than one female and vice versa. In my case, I have one large male that I know of for sure hat mates with at least two different females. They will lay the eggs throughout the week. In pieces. Each female will duck into the males ďcaveĒ and lay eggs over a period of about 3 or 4 days.the male will then tend to the eggs. Blennies are not like clownfish, which will do not really have a sex until pairing occurs, each one being capable of turning out to be either sex. These blennies are born either male or female and remain that way for life. Also, unlike clownfish, they do not mate for life with one partner. They are a very promiscuous little fish! Iíve spliced a couple of videos together. As you watch, notice how the female will lay the eggs and the male will duck in to fertilize right away.
https://youtu.be/or20ttp04Fs

Was everyone able to catch the fertilization? Iíll try to post better video.


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Old 09/07/2018, 01:38 PM   #7
Hodad2
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Hereís a video that I captured much later on, after the eggs were laid. But it seems like the right time to post, since I just posted them laying the nest. This is of an egg that is almost ready to hatch. Itís microscopic video of an egg, partially hatched and you can see the heart beating and blood or fluids flowing. They eyes are also visible.
https://youtu.be/0hrE3nHVEZA


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Old 09/07/2018, 01:47 PM   #8
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Hereís some close up pics of the eggs. Such a rich color. These Blenny eggs take about 9 or 10 days to hatch. Itís interesting to watch the egg develop. It will change color slightly as the larva inside matures. As it gets closer to hatch time, the eyes will start giving off a silver and golden sheen from the developing eyes. You may be able to pick that out from the pic, but hard to see unless u have a magnifying glass as theyíre at the far end of the tube as well. Speaking of tubes, I supplied several choices of pvc ďcavesĒ for them to make nests. They are just 1Ē PVC with an end cap.
This last pic you can really see the eyes.... Was everyone able to see?


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Old 09/07/2018, 02:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hodad2 View Post
Hereís some close up pics of the eggs. Such a rich color. These Blenny eggs take about 9 or 10 days to hatch. Itís interesting to watch the egg develop. It will change color slightly as the larva inside matures. As it gets closer to hatch time, the eyes will start giving off a silver and golden sheen from the developing eyes. You may be able to pick that out from the pic, but hard to see unless u have a magnifying glass as theyíre at the far end of the tube as well. Speaking of tubes, I supplied several choices of pvc ďcavesĒ for them to make nests. They are just 1Ē PVC with an end cap.
This last pic you can really see the eyes.... Was everyone able to see?


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Very cool.


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Old 09/07/2018, 02:43 PM   #10
Hodad2
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I had at least a week to prepare for the hatch. I had been working on a plan for a larval rearing system, modeled after ideas from a textbook on breeding marine ornamentals. It worked out very nice and was very satisfied with results. It made keeping water quality easier. Itís hard to keep ammonia and nitrates down in a larval tank. Water quality is the most important. It can affect the long term health of the fish as well.
Its really a very simple system. I bought a feed tub from a Tack&Feed store, plumbed with 1Ēpvc and bulkhead. This all runs into a HOB feet/dry filter I picked up for 10$ at a LFS. in the first chamber I have A couple types of macroalgae I had around to clean up ammonia/nitrates. In the second chamber it flows thru a reuseable filter pad, then through some plastic bioballs, and at the very bottom, totally submerged, is some porous ceramic balls for biological filtration. I started loading up the tank with Apex pods. I planned on adding rotifers on hatching day.
I also added STABILIZE and PRIME from seachem to help with the cycling. Once it was done I was able to start with hatching. Below are pics of the larval tank. It needs refinement, Iím working up some ideas.but itís got all the fundamental parts and is kind of a hybrid between a wet/dry filter and traditional sump/refugium. It works very well.



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Old 09/07/2018, 02:50 PM   #11
Hodad2
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I took the eggs out of my display tank where the male fish had been tending to the eggs, keeping the eggs aerated and free of detritus and fungus by swipin with his tail frequently. After the oldest eggs reach 8 Days they were removed and placed in the larval tank, strapped to the standpipe with some gentle aeration, yet still brisk. I found the best way to do this is an airstone that will remain on the bottom and have a wide spray of bubbles. I prefer to use one of those 1 inch bar airstones in this setup. It provides a good amount of water movement from the center out, as well as acting As a surrogate father, keeping the eggs swaying gently and keeping debris from settling on them.
Hereís a pic...


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Old 09/08/2018, 05:12 AM   #12
Hodad2
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I was really tired the night they were supposed to hatch. I waited, sitting on my couch nearby so that I could get up and watch. I was so tired that I fell asleep and slept till the next morning. The next morning I had a HUGE HATCH! I was so awestruck. Itís an incredible feeling that you canít describe, only have to experience it for yourself. There were so many little tiny fish darting about. I quickly grabbed my magnifying glass, my phone for video. I knew that this fish hasnít been bred much in captivity, except for the one hatchery that does. Definitely a great moment for me, as it was my first chance to raise larval fish. Before that, I had just bred peppermint shrimp and Bangaii cardinals.
Hereís the video below that I captured. If you look closely, you might be able to see the copepods and rotifers that I placed into the tank. I just realized that I did not talk about rotifers, which I will do in the next post. Itís a very important step in the whole process and applicable to a a great majority of species bred. Next post.
So take a look. I donít know if itís visible in video, but you can see the eyes of the larvae glow, kind of like the way catsí eyes glow. They are otherwise dark when viewed from above, with a clear tail that is constantly moving. Check it out...
https://youtu.be/aRw6ToYKeyM


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Old 09/09/2018, 10:38 PM   #13
Hodad2
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I use what is know as the ďgreen waterĒ method. When setting up a larval tank, youíll load up the tank with whatever live food youíll be using. I use rotifers and copepods, a common firstfood. Then, youíll tint the water with whatever phytoplankton youíll be using to feed the pods and rotifers, loading them up with all The essentials that the larvae need to thrive. I use a product called RG Complete. It is concentrated phytoplankton, several species, with additional essential nutrients.
Rotifers are an ideal first food for many reasons. First, they reproduce rapidly. They can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Although not a saltwater organism, it adapts to saltwater quickly. You can load them up with whatever nutrients you need for your larvae by feeding them specialty feeds like RG Complete. Hereís a pic of a rotifer in case anyone does not know what they look like.
Copepods are an even more nutritious food for larvae. Bursting with carotenoids and essential fatty acids. Studies have shown that copepods fed to larvae will reduce mortality and even shorten the larval period. Here a pic of some Apex pods unde a microscope. You can see adult copepods, Copepodites and the Copepod nauplii....


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Old 09/14/2018, 12:03 PM   #14
steamman
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I used to culture rotifers for my clownfish breeding. I believe there are many different types of rotifers. I read 2000 species. I did see there are freshwater and marine species.

https://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-...rates/rotifera


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