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Unread 05/09/2006, 11:19 PM   #1
mwp
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Pairing Red Scooter Blennies (Synchiropus stellatus) - sexing / dimorphism?

Well, it had to happen eventually. Over a year ago I contemplated the purchase of a "red scooter blenny" for one of Renee's tanks but ultimately passed.

With our successes (and failures) with Synchiropus splendidus, I had been contemplating the "next step" should we actually be successful. I had some frags to trade in at a LFS today; didn't want to leave them there and settle up "later" as they normally don't accept ANYTHING from private individuals...I just happened to have something they really wanted.

Ultimately, after browsing for 2 hours and passing up all sorts of stuff, we were drawn to a small Synchiropus "stellatus", the Red Scooter Blenny. Of course, the long term goal is to pair them up and give them a shot after the mandarins have either given up or been successful to something like 120 days

As best as I can find, the sexing is not too difficult. From Fishbase.org - "first dorsal fin with lines and ocelli in males, black with white margin distally in females".

So, are any of you keeping this species? Anyone have more experience sexing them? So far, I suspect we have a "female" but of course, the big question is do the male sexual characteristics only appear at adulthood or would they be visible in a 1" juvenile fish?

We probably have a couple years yet before this one is mature, and I have to get it trained onto frozen foods, but hey, it's worth thinking about now, right?

Would love any input!

The best pictures I've been able to find:

Male without a doubt! - http://fishwatch.tripod.com/img/lgSy..._stellatus.jpg

Female, maybe? - http://a1272.g.akamai.net/7/1272/112...e/lg_71822.jpg

Matt


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Unread 05/10/2006, 06:57 AM   #2
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Not sure if this helps but this was a pair that I had. The female was at least one inch. The male only slightly bigger, but with the dorsal fin more elongated. I find scooter blennies much easier to wean compared to mandarins, somehow they are less fussy.

The first link you have posted is a female indeed, at least to me. Somehow females do appear to be redder compared to males.

http://img161.imageshack.us/img161/7...onetcourts.jpg


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Unread 05/10/2006, 08:41 AM   #3
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Cool FuEL, I think I got it

Here's our tiny 1" S. stellatus that demonstrates all the characteristics of being a female.




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Unread 05/10/2006, 08:55 AM   #4
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A couple more comments...first, I thought you guys would all love to know that this little one got named - Scoots McGee.

Also, curiously, I wonder if mostly females are being collected on this species...I would see that happening if the females are more brightly red. That's troublesome in my book - one male can easily fertilize many females in the wild, so if you harvest one it's not nearly as detrimental as if you harvest a female, who only has a limited number of eggs to lay to start with. Guess this might be a really good species to work with.

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Unread 05/16/2006, 08:38 PM   #5
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Well, just an update on our budding Red Scooter Blenny project...the female didn't need any training to take frozen foods..she's a PIG when it comes to enriched brine.

Yesterday on a whim I stopped at a LFS I was driving by and in the tanks I found a pair of Red Scooters...the male was kinda pushy with the female and well, we already HAVE a female, so the male (rather skinny) is going through "feed training" as I did with my mandarins. 24 hours in he loves live brine and has already eaten a couple frozen brines...looks like we may get a really nice pair of these a year down the road (at least)...gotta get 'em fattened up, gotta grow the female, then have to move the female into a 24, then after she's settled in I'll have to introduce the male.

Hopefully by that time I'll have had some success with the mandarins!

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Unread 05/16/2006, 09:49 PM   #6
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She is definately a female and on the young and too skinny side. The little ones are not very hardy, so I am glad she is eating well. Be careful not to give her pellets, etc. that are too big for her.

They do grow fairly fast. She'll be grown before you know it -- I think two years is far too pessiminstic. When I had a pair my male was quite small (under 1 1/2") but still mated with the female.

Scooters are charming and delightful and docile. One of my faves, but also one fish I wish weren't so readily available. Too many folks can't feed 'em.


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Unread 05/16/2006, 10:18 PM   #7
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FWIW a few years back I bought some (2) rsb intended for reale. They didn't sell and were in a 10 gallon tank which was part of my seahorse system at the time. I was amazed to find that they spawned regularily in the 12" high tank with no hesitation but at that time I wasn't even close to doing anything about it. I ultimatley sold the pair to a friend who lost them in his reef.


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Unread 05/17/2006, 12:27 AM   #8
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Well, I have 450+ mandarin eggs in another new incubation scheme...once I've nailed those down hopefully the RSB's will be ready I like hearing that they grow fast too! Yeah, the skinny picture...that was the day we got her (or day after). She is now already FAT in the belly...the meat just has to show up on her bones. The male...well, I STILL think our male mandarin is too skinny..could be part of the problem we've been having with hatching!

Spawning in a 10...SOOOO cool. This is my first PERSONAL experience with them...I never brought them into the shops I worked at (granted, they weren't so readily available back then). So far they seem a touch easier to get onto food than the mandarins were....

I can't wait to start the "Red Scooter Blenny" breeding log!

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Unread 05/17/2006, 04:22 PM   #9
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Very interesting thread. I have a red scooter and it must be a male because of the weird looking dorsal fin. I hope to pair them up someday. I love scooters even with a bb tank they still get plenty of food.


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Unread 05/17/2006, 04:24 PM   #10
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I gotta cross link to this thread that JENS posted of S. stellatus doing the mating dance...apparently the VID is from Germany....

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...postid=7385196

Hopefully my pair will be on food solidly in the next 4-8 weeks, and then not too long after maybe they'll get put together...well..after I've nailed down the mandarins!

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Unread 05/18/2006, 12:50 PM   #11
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Has any one been able to get their Scooter Blennies to eat frozen food? If so, how did you do it, or did they eat the frozen food on their own.
Thanks


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Unread 05/18/2006, 12:59 PM   #12
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Some will take to it on their own. If not, first acclimate the fish to "feeding time" and a particular feeding instrument or apparatus. I use a piece of clear rigid tubing with a pipette on the end. Use live food like adult/juvenile brine shrimp at first and be very rigid in your feeding schedule.

One they recognize feeding time and the feeding implement, mix live food with dead food of the same type, like live brine with frozen brine. Once they have eaten the frozen versions a few times, mix less and less live food in until it's all frozen.

Then you can start adding other (more nutritious) frozen foods in at feeding time.

This whole process can take days or months; depends on the fish, and it will work for any hard-to-feed fish like other dragonettes and anthias and sand-sifting gobies. Scooters seem to take to frozen food pretty easily.


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Unread 05/18/2006, 01:09 PM   #13
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Apayne, Nicole has pretty much nailed it down. I have a similar description of how I trained the mandarins to feed in my long mandarin thread - 2nd post on the 2nd page - http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...5&pagenumber=2

FWIW,

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Unread 05/18/2006, 08:51 PM   #14
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Nicole and mwp,
Thanks for the info, it will be put to good use. Now it is time to start growing some brine shrimp for my scooter.
Thanks a lot,
APayne


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Unread 05/18/2006, 08:54 PM   #15
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P.S.
mwp
I see you are a fly fisher also, are you ever tempted to try out a new pattern in your tank? LOL.
Have a good evening,
apayne


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Unread 06/07/2006, 09:39 AM   #16
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Just came across this article and I just surprised I didn't find it sooner - pairing S. stellatus in 2005

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/20...nftt/index.php

It's just shy of a month since we added the female, and the male has probably been around 3 weeks. SHE is doing GREAT, HE is doing OK. I'm still maintaining them seperately for now, getting both to slowly fatten up before I introduce them to one another (a good lesson from controlling aggression are the African Cichlids - when they're hungry they're always more agressive)! I'd post a picture of the male but he's in a NET breeder...a little hard to shoot through that white mesh...

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Unread 07/04/2006, 10:42 AM   #17
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Back on May 16th we picked up a Male Red Scooter Blenny. Back on Saturday I released him from 6 weeks of "solitary" into the main cardinalfish tank...he went from being drab and dull to VIBRANT in just a couple days! All we need to do now is grow up that little female I posted above and get her into spawning mood, and then place her in with the male...or I could just go find a larger female RSB for the time being!





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Unread 07/04/2006, 11:40 AM   #18
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He's gorgeous! Still skinny, but aren't they all when by the time they get this far from the collection point?


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Unread 07/04/2006, 12:28 PM   #19
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Actually Nicole he's put on a LOT of weight - when I purchased him he had the typical sunken belly and "diamond-shaped" cross section...i.e. those horizontal "ridges" that show up on their sides from starvation. Sure, by comparison to the Mandarin pair he may be "less fat" but otherwise I think he's healthy and doing well at this point...keeping the fingers crossed.

One of the things that I've noticed you can use to gauge fish health is the back half of the body in front of the caudal fin...this area is very *thick* and fatty now. He may not be in "prime" condition yet, but I'm hopeful that the scary part is long gone.

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Unread 07/04/2006, 12:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by mwp
Apayne, Nicole has pretty much nailed it down. I have a similar description of how I trained the mandarins to feed in my long mandarin thread - 2nd post on the 2nd page - http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...5&pagenumber=2

FWIW,

MP
Matt,I read that again but am not sure when you say "live and frozen brine"if you mean nauplii or adults.
One item that mandarins (though not all of them) eat with gusto is live tubifex worms,if they fall before their noses in the few seconds they keep wiggling in SW.


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Unread 07/04/2006, 12:57 PM   #21
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Ah, frozen and live Adult brine - thus the necessary Selcon enrichment on the live stuff (I purchase adult brine when needed locally and feed with Phytoplankton mix...by the week's end they are blue/green instead of your traditional "orange-brown" color). It takes time to train them...i.e. I isolated this male for about 1.5 months before feeling he was fat enough and aggressive enough of a feeder to go into a tank with 12 other fish. He took frozen foods within a couple days; the female RSB took frozen foods from day one and required no training..she's still a "madman" when feeding time comes around. Meanwhile, I'm still watching our 2nd mandarin female with a close eye...she eats frozen foods but "not enough" at this point to keep he weight up...it's gonna be at least 2-3 more weeks and I'm thinking I need to reposition her net and take out the rocks I have on the bottom of her pen..I think she's missing most of the food that goes in.

The reason I chose live Adult Brine as the initial food is that unlike bloodworms / tubifex which are harder to locate and more expensive, the live brine can be left in the net pen all day, allowing a timid and thin feeder to feed in peace and quiet at her leisure - key for the initial first days with a Synchiropus that's in "could go either way" condition.

FWIW,

Matt


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Unread 07/04/2006, 02:30 PM   #22
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Wow! Great thread! Now here's a novice question... Are wild RSB the only ones we have showing up in the LFS?
Can't wait to see yours spawn!


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Unread 07/04/2006, 03:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Actually Nicole he's put on a LOT of weight - when I purchased him he had the typical sunken belly
I believe it!

Sue - yes, just WC dragonettes available for now, except in very rare instances. The "impossible" barrier on breeding these has been broken, though, so maybe more BC specimens will start to be available.


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Unread 07/04/2006, 06:45 PM   #24
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Wow, he´s gonna be gorgeous when fatter and in love !
Anderson.


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Unread 07/05/2006, 07:11 PM   #25
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Hi!
Nice Thread!
My question is How do u adapt mandarins to Brine shrimp and other kinds of food?
thanks


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