aquacultured coral
 

 


raising ocellaris clowns

 

Get your clowns to lay their eggs in a ceramic flower pot.
Easy to do, just place it near their nest site and they will do the rest.

Find yourself a round vessel to hatch them in.
I've used a glass vase, (so I can take photos) but a bucket would be just as good.
Rounded is best, using square tanks results in the larval fish tending to get stuck in corners and then starve
.
When the eggs are about to hatch, (usually just after their little eyes have developed),
remove the flower pot to the hatching vessel.
The eggs are visible on the right inside wall of the flowerpot, just below the airstone.

Use the same water they have come from.
Add a heater and an airstone placed so as it bubbles up past the eggs.
This helps keep the oxygen up to the eggs.

 
Wrap the vessel in brown paper and add a lamp.
This is a 5 watt lamp, just enough light for the larval fish to hunt the rotifers, on a 12 hour photoperiod.
The brown paper enables the larval fish to see the rotifers, they need a dark background to hunt.

For the next step first you'll need to have mastered greenwater production.
Here's how I make greenwater.

Here's a link to a more extensive "how to" for greenwater.

Add some live mature greenwater, I use a combination of 3 different phyto-plankton in order to give a balanced diet.
 
You can see by this photo how green and murky the water gets.
This is good
!

For the next step you'll need to have mastered rotifer production.
Here's my rotifer culture maintained on greenwater.

Here's a link to a more extensive "how to" for greenwater.

Add live enriched rotifers.
When the larval fish hatch they will have an immediate supply of food.
This is critical!
Larval fish at about 24 hours old. It took a couple of days for all the eggs to hatch.
Remove the flowerpot and return it to the laying pair for their next batch of eggs.
Keep adding enriched rotifers twice daily, and a touch of greenwater.
Keep the brown paper on, I removed it just to get the photo.
This is before I'ved added the daily rotifers and greenwater, so the water has cleared a little.
The little bright spots are larval fish.
Also I removed the airstone and now just have a stream of coarse bubbles to keep the current turning.

After a week being fed live rotifers the larval fish have doubled in size.
Not yet looking like clown fish, but that comes with the next stage "Metamorphosis".
For the next step you'll need to be familar with hatching artemia, (Baby Brine Shrimp).
Here's my cheap and easy artemia hatchery.
8 days since hatching and the fry are developing.
Though early hatched fry are bigger than the late.
Still feeding enriched rotifers, but now its time to introduce newly hatched artemia (Baby Brine Shrimp) to the diet.

I've siphoned out the detrius on the floor, trying not to suck out any live fry.
Still to murky to count numbers but I'd guess at 50ish.
Week two and the rotifers have been phased out.
Now the diet is of BBS and ground up dry fish food.
Eventually the BBS will be withdrawn and the fish will just have dry food.

BBS mixed with a little greenwater.
Ground up dry fish food, passed through a plankton screen to ensure the bits are small enough to be eaten.
At about 14 days old.
I've siphoned out the detreius.
And I've done a couple of small water changes.
At about day 18. Still feeding BBS and ground dried food.
In fact the dried food is starting to make the container look decidedly dodgy.

Its a bit tricky getting a decent shot with all this goop on the glass.
Still they seem to be growing, but with a closed system there is only so far you can go.
I'm itching to move them to the next stage.

Next stage is tranfer to a re-circulating system.
On my bench so I can keep an eye on them.
This one's plumbed into the pond in the background.
Only thing special is the sponge guard fitted to the downpipe, to stop the fish going down.
Day 21 and I've transferred all the juvenile clowns to the recirculating system.
Diet is still BBS and ground dried food.
Now they actually look like Ocellaris clowns.
The colouration and white stripes are developing noticeably.
The BBS will be phased out of the diet, leaving the juvenile clowns just on dry food.

Day 28. BBS phased out, now the diet is ground dry food only.
Swimming and behaving like Ocellaris clowns.
Schooling up.
At about 8 weeks. Dry food only for a few weeks now.
 
Credit where it is due.