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There’s no time like the present to start breeding marine ornamentals

By Shane Graber - Posted Sep 15, 2011 08:00 AM
This year’s MACNA has inspired me to put a couple of my many tanks to good use. What better way to do it than to set up a system for breeding marine ornamentals. Post 1 of a multi-post series.
There’s no time like the present to start breeding marine ornamentals

The endangered Banggai Cardinal Fish (Demoiselles). Photo by prilfish/flickr.com.

Breeding marine ornamentals is an important facet of our hobby given the ever-increasing pressures on our world’s oceans.  It’s also a good way to learn more about the full life cycle of the creatures we keep in our glass boxes. I’ve wanted to breed fish for a while, but time constraints have always seemed to hamper me.  With my children now older, it's a prime time to start as I can use this as an opportunity to teach them about this important part of our hobby and maybe get them involved in some way in this project.

Which marine ornamental should I choose to start this project? I want something relatively simple. I want something that doesn’t require culturing phytoplankton and rotifers (although I could use some of the great Reef Nutrition products or the APBreed rotifer system I blogged about yesterday).  A species that gives birth to larvae big enough to take Artemia sp. brine shrimp as a first food would be an ideal choice.

Consulting my copy of Matthew Wittenrich’s The Complete Illustrated Breeder’s Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes shows that he recommends a couple of prime candidates for those new to breeding marine ornamentals:

  1. Banggai cardinal, Pterapogon kauderni (pictured above, fishbase info)
  2. Neon goby, Elacatinus oceanops (fishbase info)
  3. Certain clownfish species like A. ocellaris (fishbase info)

Out of that starter list, the Banggai cardinal rises quickly to the top of the fish that I’m interested in breeding as Matthew Wittenrich likens breeding them to “breeding guppies.” They’ll make an excellent first fish for this newbie fish breeder and they take Artemia sp. as a first food, which is a huge plus in my book. No need for culturing phytoplankton and rotifers!

While undertaking this project, I plan to document my progress and what better place to do it than from this blog and from the Marine Breeding Initiative website so that others can benefit from my journey.  I plan to document the full build, fish selection, pairing, larval rearing, etc.

If you have any thoughts or tips as I undertake this, please sound off in the comments and let me know. My first order of business is going to be researching the design of this upcoming system.

And the journey begins...

Author: Shane Graber
Location: Indiana

Shane has kept saltwater tanks for the last 12 years, is a research scientist, lives in northern Indiana, and is a proud Advanced Aquarist staffer.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/.

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