Starry Blenny (Salarias ramosus)

TvanB1

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I have a pair of Salarias ramosus that spawn regularly in my display tank. They lay in a 1” PVC tube with a 45° elbow on one side and a 90° elbow on the other. Their clutches are huge, upwards of a few thousand. I feed LRS reef frenzy, a DIY soft pellet food, and live copepods 5x daily. Just this week I moved the pipe with eggs into a separate tank and nearly all of the eggs hatched. There were thousands of seemingly healthy fry swimming around. I offered L-strain rotifers but they didn’t seem to eat them. They made it to day 3 before dying off.
I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with rearing this fish or it’s counterparts. I assume it would be similar to Salarias fasciatus. I can’t find any conclusive information on the larval cycle or feeding of this species, most threads come to an end after a few failed attempts.
 
AS

ichthyogeek

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Oooh, blenny larvae! To the best of my knowledge, nobody's raised Salarias blennies to 6 weeks post-meta (basically the standard for achieving the "I've bred a species of fish!" mark). Here's a summary of what I've read about for most fish.

Observation: 3 days post hatch sounds like just the right time for larvae to run out of internal reserves and die of starvation. Have you been able to get any closeups of the larvae to see if they have silvery stomachs, which is indicative of them feeding on rotifers? Or do they tend to have that slightly malnourished fish look on their stomachs? What's their mouth gape (which determines the prey size they can munch on)? What are you gut loading the rotifers on? Rotigro? Microalgae species (if so, specify please!)

Knowledge: Rotifers are not the end-all and be-all of marine aquaculture unfortunately. It has to do not only with the size of the food item, but also on the swimming pattern. Right now, the "hot thing" when it comes to culturing fish is Parvocalanus eggs and first instar, which a number of pelagic spawning fish larvae will take as a first food (Centropyge, Tangs, etc.). You mentioned that you have copepods. If you have any calanoid/cyclopoid ones, consider tossing the eggs/nauplii into the rearing tank!
 
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TvanB1

TvanB1

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Also, deets! What copepod strains are you feeding? What's in the soft pellet recipe/how do you make it?

I’m only culturing Tigriopus californicus and Apocyclops panamensis at this time.

My soft pellet ingredients are:
Golden Pearls 5-50 micron
Copepod powder
Small amount of Spirulina algae powder
Decapsulated brine shrimp eggs
Probiotics
American Marine Selcon

I combine all of the dry ingredients into a small bag and shake until its combined. Then I add Selcon until it reaches a good consistency before adding a few drops of probiotics.
 
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Ooooh I would love more details on how you paired these fish!! Do you notice any differences in the male and female? I love my starry blenny and would love to have a pair!
Maybe @ThRoewer could offer some advice on the larvae and feeding.
 
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TvanB1

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Oooh, blenny larvae! To the best of my knowledge, nobody's raised Salarias blennies to 6 weeks post-meta (basically the standard for achieving the "I've bred a species of fish!" mark). Here's a summary of what I've read about for most fish.

Observation: 3 days post hatch sounds like just the right time for larvae to run out of internal reserves and die of starvation. Have you been able to get any closeups of the larvae to see if they have silvery stomachs, which is indicative of them feeding on rotifers? Or do they tend to have that slightly malnourished fish look on their stomachs? What's their mouth gape (which determines the prey size they can munch on)? What are you gut loading the rotifers on? Rotigro? Microalgae species (if so, specify please!)

Knowledge: Rotifers are not the end-all and be-all of marine aquaculture unfortunately. It has to do not only with the size of the food item, but also on the swimming pattern. Right now, the "hot thing" when it comes to culturing fish is Parvocalanus eggs and first instar, which a number of pelagic spawning fish larvae will take as a first food (Centropyge, Tangs, etc.). You mentioned that you have copepods. If you have any calanoid/cyclopoid ones, consider tossing the eggs/nauplii into the rearing tank!

I don’t own a microscope or any other hardware able to get a close up picture of the larvae, but looking at them they don’t seem to have any silver sheen to their stomachs. Im not sure on the mouth gape, I just decided a few days ago that I might want to give this a shot. Still very early in the stages of collecting information haha. They are definitely smaller than clownfish larvae. I used to feed my rots RotiferDiet from Reed Mariculture but transitioned to using RGcomplete. I will look into different species of copepods small enough to feed these guys.
 
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TvanB1

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Ooooh I would love more details on how you paired these fish!! Do you notice any differences in the male and female? I love my starry blenny and would love to have a pair!
Maybe @ThRoewer could offer some advice on the larvae and feeding.

I had a single Starry for about 9 months before trying to pair them. I guess I just got lucky with picking a male. My existing one turned out being a female.
My female has an anal fin that ends abruptly. The male has 3 ‘streamers’ at the very end of his. The male also seems to have bigger ‘eyebrows’ although it is subtle and this may just depend on the fish. My male turns white when courting the female. He chases her around the tank until she lays eggs in their tube.
 

ichthyogeek

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Nice! Can you send us pictures of the male and female and ID them for us? Sounds like there's some sweet sexual dimorphism, which means it'll be easier to find male/female pairs in the future!

I definitely have heard of Apocyclops nauplii being fed to fish larvae before, and I'm fairly sure they're smaller than rotifers; it might be useful to toss them in at ~5 nauplii/mL if I remember correctly.
 

Thespammailaccount

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Maybe smaller rots like the s type and Parvocalanus and Tonga pods? Have not tried to raise fish. Following along

DB5E1D65-DFC9-411B-BEC5-692721DE6B44.png DB0FDEFA-F737-43C1-88E3-35FAEE8A4B98.png
 
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TvanB1

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Nice! Can you send us pictures of the male and female and ID them for us? Sounds like there's some sweet sexual dimorphism, which means it'll be easier to find male/female pairs in the future!

I definitely have heard of Apocyclops nauplii being fed to fish larvae before, and I'm fairly sure they're smaller than rotifers; it might be useful to toss them in at ~5 nauplii/mL if I remember correctly.
I will get some pictures of them tonight and hopefully a video of their courtship behavior. I think I will try Parvocalanus crassirostris if S-strain rots are still too big. Will have to start some phyto cultures to keep those though.
 

andrewkw

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I don’t own a microscope or any other hardware able to get a close up picture of the larvae, but looking at them they don’t seem to have any silver sheen to their stomachs. Im not sure on the mouth gape, I just decided a few days ago that I might want to give this a shot. Still very early in the stages of collecting information haha. They are definitely smaller than clownfish larvae. I used to feed my rots RotiferDiet from Reed Mariculture but transitioned to using RGcomplete. I will look into different species of copepods small enough to feed these guys.

I'm just getting into fish breeding myself, and getting a microscope has been invaluable. In fact without it I would not have known my rotifers were a) contaminated b) mostly not rotifers. I've also been able to examine my fry up close as they unfortunately pass away - due to lack of food. I reluctantly tried to feed baby brine too early due to rotifers being lost in the mail and I could actually see their guts clog proving the food is too big.

The microscope I got was just over $100 Canadian - anything but the cheapest of the cheap on amazon seems to be fine. Using the phone attachment is a bit of a pain, i have 2 specs of dust somewhere in the image train I can't seem to get rid of, but I still get pretty decent pictures.

The other option which also has been a help is a cheap clip on macro lens for a cell phone. This thing was probably less then $5 and it works pretty good see :

1598300167556.png
 
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TvanB1

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I'm just getting into fish breeding myself, and getting a microscope has been invaluable. In fact without it I would not have known my rotifers were a) contaminated b) mostly not rotifers. I've also been able to examine my fry up close as they unfortunately pass away - due to lack of food. I reluctantly tried to feed baby brine too early due to rotifers being lost in the mail and I could actually see their guts clog proving the food is too big.

The microscope I got was just over $100 Canadian - anything but the cheapest of the cheap on amazon seems to be fine. Using the phone attachment is a bit of a pain, i have 2 specs of dust somewhere in the image train I can't seem to get rid of, but I still get pretty decent pictures.

The other option which also has been a help is a cheap clip on macro lens for a cell phone. This thing was probably less then $5 and it works pretty good see :

1598300167556.png

Ill definitely look into it. I would probably spend all day checking stuff out under it :)
Im curious as to what took over your rotifer culture?

Also, pictures coming today. Work started off busy this week.
 
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TvanB1

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Not the clearest pictures but the best I could get with limited time.
Notice the difference on the anal fin. The male has streamers while the female does not. The male also has bigger "eyebrows" than the female. These differences could just be discrepancies between two different fish and not indicative of sex.
 

andrewkw

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Ill definitely look into it. I would probably spend all day checking stuff out under it :)
Im curious as to what took over your rotifer culture?

Also, pictures coming today. Work started off busy this week.

My wife is constantly teasing me about always checking the rotifer density. Even looking at phytoplankton can be interesting too! We took one of our cats to the vet and I *almost* emailed them some pictures of what was perhaps on her eye but my slides were no longer sterile and my 25 minutes of microscope experience didn't qualify me for a diagnosis.

As for my rotifers the first place I ordered from had almost no rotifers. The contamination was Euplotes which is apparently a common contaminate. They are way smaller and way faster so probably out competing the rotifers from the suppliers culture and they never bothered to recently check them. 100x more Euplotes then rotifers if not a higher percentage.

Obviously if you order from somewhere like Reed you don't have to worry, or if you get some cheap from a hobbyist you can't expect someones fish room to be 100% sterile but the only way you can be sure how many rotifers you have is to look through a microscope.
 

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