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Old 03-05-2005, 03:50 PM   #1
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Help! Disturbing clownfish behavior

I have a mated pair of perculas. The smaller (male) has been laying on top of a lava rock today. This is the first time I've seen him do it, but my husband says he saw him doing this a couple of weeks ago. He's seemed fine, he's eating, etc. But he keeps going back to the rock, swimming in one place just above it and then landing on top of the rock motionless, even laying almost completely on his side. Then he swims away from the rock a little ways and comes back and does it again.

Are my worst fears about to be realized, or is he just messing with me? He's making me extremely nervous.

Any responses GREATLY appreciated. I've got 2 little boys to prepare if I have a dying fish.

Jodi
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Jodi's stats: Tank set up 9/6/2004 - 75 gallon glass - ProClear SlimLine 125 w/d - Rio 2100 - c/c substrate - 200w heater - little chunk of live rock
Caretaker of 2 mated f. percula clownfish & 8 red legged hermit crabs
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Old 03-05-2005, 04:10 PM   #2
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Clownfish mating?

Added observations/questions:

I've been suspecting that the fish were getting ready to mate. The female has been checking out the inside of the barnacle and she's never gone there before. I wondered if she was checking out a place to lay eggs or something.

We now see there is something white on top of the lava rock, and that is where the male fish is laying. He does swim away - they seem to be keeping close to the tang, maybe to keep him away from what they have on the rock?

What do clownfish eggs look like? This is a small white...something. Maybe 1/8 of an inch long. Perhaps our male is fertilizing or protecting some eggs??

Hoping this is it rather than a dying fish! I guess I need to be educated on the mating practices of clownfish. 8O

Also, we were planning on doing a water change today. I'm going to postpone that until we figure out what's going on.

Again - any replies or enlightenment greatly appreciated!

Jodi W
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Jodi's stats: Tank set up 9/6/2004 - 75 gallon glass - ProClear SlimLine 125 w/d - Rio 2100 - c/c substrate - 200w heater - little chunk of live rock
Caretaker of 2 mated f. percula clownfish & 8 red legged hermit crabs
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Old 03-05-2005, 05:22 PM   #3
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Does the clown swim straight when moving? Any visable signs of disease or infestation? Color okay and eyes clear? Do the fins look okay?
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Old 03-05-2005, 06:13 PM   #4
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He seems to be swimming straight. He looks totally healthy. His color is normal, nothing wrong with him that I can see. If I hadn't seen him laying on the rock, I'd never have thought twice about him because he looks and is acting completely normal - other than the rock laying thing. He doesn't seem to be breathing funny, either. He just seems...agitated at times. Moving his fins and body around fast, but staying pretty much in one spot.

Right now both clowns are away from the rock. He's swimming around a big piece of coral, seems to be able to go any direction he wants to. He's swimming around very close to the coral, like he's brushing up against it, but not in a 'scratching' way - more like he's doing it as a behavior. Now as I'm watching him, he is doing a lot of head up swimming rather than being horizontal - but he's swimming horizontal, too. It's so hard to tell since they always swim like they're half drunk. The female fish is also swimming closer to things than I've noticed before - usually they like to swim by the glass and they're keeping close to the items in the interior of the tank now for the most part.

Where's a fish whisperer when you need one?

I'm really thinking this is some kind of mating/egg laying behavior. They are young clowns - I just noticed the size discrepancy being obvious in the last couple of months and I've had this pair since the end of October. They were very small when I got them and about the same size. That's why I'm pretty sure they've 'morphed' into a boy/girl pair. Surprisingly, we named them correctly at the beginning.

I *really* need to do a water change, but I guess I'll wait another week and observe in the meantime.

Thanks for your reply. Please let me know what you think about the added info. (I just glanced over and he's laying on the rock again - he lays totally motionless for about 8 seconds, then starts moving his fins again. After awhile he swims away.)

Jodi
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Jodi's stats: Tank set up 9/6/2004 - 75 gallon glass - ProClear SlimLine 125 w/d - Rio 2100 - c/c substrate - 200w heater - little chunk of live rock
Caretaker of 2 mated f. percula clownfish & 8 red legged hermit crabs
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Old 03-05-2005, 07:02 PM   #5
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I would just give it some time. Can you post your current water parameters...ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, SG, Ph, temp?
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Old 03-05-2005, 07:39 PM   #6
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You're supposed to tell me he'll be fine.

But, okay, if you insist...tested today and the numbers were:

temp: 76
sg: 1.023 (I usually have it at 1.0225, but I may have raised it a bit when I changed water last weekend - plus it needs a top off)
nitrate: 20 (this has been our norm since cycling - Iowa water, you know )
nitrite: 0
ph: 8.2
ammonia: 0

And I splashed some of the nitrate test on my favorite shirt. Grrr. I really miss the dry-tab test kits!

So the numbers are pretty much what they always are for me.
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Old 03-06-2005, 09:53 AM   #7
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Everthing looks good. Might want to boost the temp a bit. 79-80 is abit more ideal. Just keep an eye on the clown.
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Old 03-06-2005, 11:25 PM   #8
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sounds to me like he is trying to host the rock. my percula clown "cuddles" with my power head all day. They're in love
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Old 03-06-2005, 11:38 PM   #9
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I wouldn't worry about it that much. Clownfish have the tendency to act very strange, hence the name "clown" fish (not only because they look the part ). As long as you don't notice any signs of illness or labored breathing it should be fine. Keep us posted!
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:12 AM   #10
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Jodi, where at in iowa you from?
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