fish Protecting Eggs
Hopefully your clownfish have laid eggs and are constantly taking care of them. They will fan the eggs with their tail and pick at them with their mouths. The first day they are laid they will appear orange. After a couple days they will appear grey and finally grey with silver eyes. When the silver eyes appear, the eggs will hatch the following night. Before the eggs hatch there will be some preparation to take care of.
- Hatchling tank– You must raise the baby clownfish in a separate aquarium. This will make sure that they are able to get the proper food without competition from other tank mates. A 10 gallon aquarium will work fine. I use a
24 gallon nano tank I no longer use. Lighting is a must. The clownfish fry will constantly be searching for food and their vision is not the greatest when they are born. Make sure that the lighting isn’t too bright, a single power compact fluorescent works fine. You will not be able to use any filtration in the tank. A filter would injure the delicate babies. The only circulation will come from an air stone. A small sized air pump and air stone will help to keep the water oxygenated and moving.
- Live Rotifers- The newly born babies will only eat live food. Don’t even try to feed the babies flake or crushed foods as they will not eat it, and it will only foul the water. Live rotifers can be purchased from Reed-Mariculture. I have tried several other stores, but Reed is the best. You also will need food for the rotifers which Reed also sells. The best food for rotifers is Nannochlopsis or Rotifer Diet. Keeping a rotifer culture alive can be more difficult than raising the clownfish fry. In a 5 gallon bucket prepare 3-4 gallons of saltwater with the same specific gravity of the water in the rotifer bag (usually around 1.017). After the water has been mixed you can add the entire bag of rotifers from Reed. Continue to add Rotifer Diet to the water until the water turns a green color. The water should be about this color (see picture below). You should add rotifer diet drop by drop until you achieve the correct color. Never let the water fade from this color. You will have to check the color of the water daily to make sure that enough food is in the bucket. The rotifers will also need an air pump and air stone for circulation. Make sure to set the air flow as low as possible. Just a slight bubble is more than enough air. You should have your rotifers at least a week before the clownfish hatch to get the numbers up to the proper amount. Do not take any rotifers in the first 3-4 days that you have them. This will allow them to reproduce up to a high count. After a couple days harvest some of the rotifers. This can be done by pouring some of the green water through a coffee filter. You should harvest 1/3 of the rotifers each day to keep it multiplying. Once enough green water has passed through the filter, you should add the rotifers to your hatchling tank. Dip the coffee filter in the water and wash the rotifers off of it. You can also purchase a rotifer sieve on the internet like this one.
Don’t rush these steps just because your clownfish have eggs that are ready to hatch. If they laid eggs once, they will most likely lay eggs again in the next couple weeks. So if you aren’t successful you can always just try again at the next hatching.
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