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dwd5813
02/18/2010, 10:15 PM
I have a couple questions regarding these fish and ordering them from bluezoo.
first, in reading the descriptions i see that some will develop with full black coloration and others with orange faces. at what size/age is it reasonable to assume that the current coloration is permanent? I ask because I'm interested in finding fully black (and white of course) color morphs.
the other thing i'm wondering is what size/age they are sexed at? I'd like to have a pair, and it seems that the easiest way to achieve this is by putting two unsexed fish together and letting them figure it out.

i realize that these goals in a purchase of fish may be mutually exclusive, and if that is so, then i'll just have to decide which is more important to me, but i'm interested in hearing your feedback on both topics. thanks very much for any help you could give me.

edit: i forgot to ask, what is the reason for the restriction on these? i see various potential reasons in the description but wonder if you might narrow it down to these specific fish.

BlueZooAquatics
02/25/2010, 12:26 PM
Those are great questions. All of them. At this time, there is simply not enough data to answer questions about coloration with any type of absolute certainty. Having said that, one of our very good friends is Matt Pedersen who is looked at as one of the industries experts on raising clowns. Here are some excerpts from his response:

"Given everything we know about clownfish pigmentation, specifically black, it is never 100% permanent (I've had a WC Onyx Perc lose ALL it's black). Generally for the Black Ocellaris, I would think that until the fish are spawning, there's still a chance for color development. So 3 years, and 2-3 inches."

Matt also talks about how the addition of intense lighting may affect the development of the black coloration quicker ala blue stripe clowns.

Here is what was said about the second part of your question:

"...buy two young juveniles and grow them up. It will take 3-4 years to get them spawning If you want to shorten the time, here's a tip. The reason buying two fish of the same age and growing them up takes so long is because it seems that the time it takes to mature to a functioning female is around 3 years in Black Ocellaris. However, we know functional MALES can develop more quickly...i.e. I know of an 8 month old Percula being fertile (A. percula is another 3-4 year to maturity species). So, possibly, if you buy a LARGE Black Ocellaris, one that is already 2-3", you can assume that it is at least 2-3 years old. If it is not already a female, it will BECOME ONE when you place a smaller, juvenile Black Ocellaris with it. That could, theoretically, shorten the time it takes to get a spawning pair."

Now, it will be a little tricky finding a female for sale anywhere. The ones we sell are no more than 9 months old. I think in your case patience will be key.

In conclusion, the reason for the restriction is because these are little stress buckets. Once established they are fairly bullet proof. But getting them established can be tricky. We will guarantee them however if you have them held for pick up at a FedEx sort facility. That way you can eliminate a great deal of the stress for m shipping.

We certainly hope all of this info helps in your decision.

noboddi
02/25/2010, 07:27 PM
It might help to understand that the black in occelaris (and percs) is melanism, not pigmantation. It is a response to several factors, diet and intense lighting be two of the most important.

Tanning is a melanistic response to light in people if that helps. Works different in clowns, but same concept.

BlueZooAquatics
02/26/2010, 09:51 AM
"While there are definitely several environmental/external factors that will influence the development of black coloration in a myriad of clownfish species, there is a solid, undisputed underlying genetic basis for this coloration in the Black or Darwin variant of A. ocellaris. That is to say, you're never going to take a normally colored A. ocellaris and "tan it" to the point of it becoming a Black Ocellaris. And again, a big component of this genetically programmed coloration showing up fully, to the point of the fish being completely black without any tan or orange nose, is age / maturity. It does seem that ultimately, given enough time, most if not all Black Ocellaris will become fully black, even in the absense of external factors that may otherwise speed the full development of the coloration." -Matt Pedersen

dwd5813
03/01/2010, 08:10 PM
thanks very much for the detailed responses. it seems that buying two juvenile fish will be best for me. with the understanding that they will ultimately develop into fully colored black and white patterns over time it allows for the witnessing of the change over time which would be pretty interesting in itself the more i think about it. the idea is to keep them alive as long as possible, so i'm good with witnessing stages. also, thanks for the clarification of the guarantee. i'll contact you when i've got the tank ready.