This post is the continuation of the “how to breed Clownfish at home” post I put together a few days ago.
So moving through the list of equipment you will need to but in order to successfully breed clownfish at home. Next on the list is:
Purchasing a microscope may seem like an extravagant expense at first, but trust me. It’s well worth it in the long run. You may have poor eyesight, which means you may find it tough to see rotifers swimming in their culture vessel, even under the brightest light. Using a microscope to check a sample of water for rotifers will make the task of making sure your rotifer culture is going as planned much easier. You may also be faced with the difficult task of differentiating between different types of organism. It’s difficult to differentiate between copepods and other types of small organisms commonly found in established marine aquariums. Checking under a microscope will make this task much easier.
You can purchase a microscope fairly inexpensively these days. Chinese knock-offs are common on eBay or Aliexpress.com for example. I purchased my first unit from an online store. It is of chinese origin and suits me just fine. I bought a 40x to 400x magnification unit. For looking at rotifers and phytoplankton, you will find that this level of magnification is acceptable, with slightly higher magnification being advantageous especially when looking at different algaes, which are extremely small. I would also recommend that you buy a unit with a small battery powered light rather than a mirror that uses natural light to bring out the subject on the slide.
You will also need to purchase glass microscope slides, cover slips, and if you feel like it a couple of dual concave slides for viewing water samples more effectively.
Different phytoplankton cells have different shapes and having a microscope that enables you to determine the shape clearly will help you identify what type of phytoplankton culture you are looking at in case you are trying to culture your own culture from scratch, or isolating a potential culture by extracting a few cells out of a water sample, or by figuring out what has cross contaminated your phytoplankton culture.
Below are some typical images you would see under a microscope while you are breeding clownfish at home:
A Copepod under 100x magnification
You can see why its difficult to differentiate between different algaes from the two photos above, they are both green but the nannochloropsis has a slight oval shape rather than a spherical shape like the tetraselmis. It can be very interesting, educational, and rewarding to see what you are working with under a microscope!
Clear plastic Chinese Food containers
Using Chinese takeaway containers may seem a bit of a silly idea at first but they are actually very useful indeed.
When you are attenpting to catch the fry when they first hatahc late at night, you will be very glad to have one on hand. Because they are clear, they do not block the light which means they can be used as an excellent water scooping device for the newly born clownfish fry while they chase the light source all the way to the top. I will go into extensive detail on how to bring the fry to the surface in a future post. It requires a small battery powered torch among other things..
You can also use these containers to house sick larvae or larvae that are getting picked on during the first few days. These little fellas get huge really quickly. You can almost watch them grow in the first few days. Some individuals naturally get bigger than other during the build up to metamorphosis while others stay a bit small. You can use these containers suspended in the main grow-out tank to house the weak individuals to target feed them a bit more food compared to the rest to help them catch up.
You can also use these containers to house some injured or sick individuals. I have actually had success with this method in bringing sick larvae back from the brink of death by separating them micromanaging their food and water quality, ensuring the water they are kept in is pristine.
The containers can also be used to enrich a batch of rotifers with microalgae prior to feeding the rotifers to the clownfish larvae. The same can be done for the copepods and brine shrimp. Enriching means feeding them phytoplankton (microalgae) to make sure there is microalgae in the gullet of the organisms before they are released as food for the larvae in the grow-out tank. This ensures the larvae get good nutrition rather than filling their little stomachs up with the clownfish equivalent to potato chips.
The humble Chinese food container
If you found this post to be a good source of information stay tuned for he next one coming soon on the rest of the equipment you will need for breeding Clownfish at home successfully.