Not Hypochondriac, Hyposaline!  I’ve heard stories of people who get an “uber rare fish” and end up killing it because they worry too much about it or just fuss over it.  I promise I am not going to be that guy.  The Maroons are still settling in, but I’m taking prevenative steps that everyone working with clownfish should consider.  Let me stress now that I USE QT (quarantine) but even I admit, I don’t do it often enough.  It just so happens that in the case of the Lighting Clown, the “QT” and the “final destination” tank are one and the same.  I’ll be circling back around to recap the entire story of the Lightning Maroon and it’s mate to date in the coming days and weeks, but I felt this was worth an immediate update.
While I’m still scrambling with OT at work, and wanting to get the project defined and advisors better integrated into this project, I knew I had to get the ball rolling on soliciting advice from trusted and experienced breeders.  The first person I invited was Joe Lichtenbert, founder of Reef Propagations Inc (RPI), clownfish breeder for 20+ years, editor on Hoff’s breeding book, author, and all around very supportive personal friend.  I knew I could trust Joe to the ends of the earth to not gossip while things were still “under wraps”.  The second person I asked to collaborate was Edgar Diaz, owner of Addy-Zone Hatcheries (AZ), former C-Quest employee, and the guy who didn’t withhold information some might have considered “proprietary” when it came time to helping me rear my first marine fish, which happened to be the Greenbanded Goby, Elacatinus multifasciatus.  After knowing Edgar for so long, it was truly like seeing and old friend when I finally got to meet him face-to-face in Michigan last month.  Of course, I have also continued to bombard Mark Martin, Director of Marine Ornamental Research @ Blue Zoo Aquatics, with emails as well – afterall, he entrusted me with the care of this fish! -update- Mark’s response concurred with all other responses on the subject.  He wrote, “We keep our heavy medication systems at 1.010 or a little lower sometimes and the clownfish do fine. I would do it to be safe. Most medications have a tendency to be more effective at lower specific gravities as well so if you ever need to medicate, the specific gravity will already be lowered.”
In asking for any and all advice on how to treat these fish now that they are in my care, Joe Lichtenbert was adamant about putting the fish into Hyposalinity at  1.010 as a prophylactic measure to prevent Brooklynella.  This “treatment” should last at least 2 weeks.  Edgar Diaz 100% concurred.  I honestly think Mark has been so busy he’s still catching up on my emails from 2 days ago!  With any wild caught clownfish, even with the BEST CARE the entire way, Brooklynella is a legitimate concern and something anyone working with clownfish MUST anticipate.  Along with the Lightning Maroon, Mark had sent other clowns that I had on order, which had been on hold for me while I was out speaking @ MASM’s MBI and LIRA’s NERAC V.
In the end, thinking this through carefully, they were right to make this recommendation.  Joe told me Maroons are known to be PRONE to Brooklynella, which I hadn’t recalled but sure enough, it’s mentioned in the literature.  Those clowns I mentioned…well, the happy, healthy, eating like a pig Allardis (Amphiprion allardi)…one of them showed the signs of Brooklynella last night, as did a stunning PNG Saddleback (Amphiprion polymnus).  They’re in a separate system from the Lightning Maroons.  Doesn’t matter.  That sealed the deal for me.  If it can happen to fish that are FULLY “settled in” and “looking great”, I considered that my warning from above.
And so, ALL the new clowns that arrived this week, including the Lightning Maroons, are being brought to hyposaline conditions at 1.010.  As of this morning, the Lightning Maroons are at 1.014, and the other system was at 1.015.  The clowns that showed brook, their system had all the non-vertebrates (snails, hermits and Caulerpa) removed, and Formalin was dosed at the suggested rate of the manufacturer at 1 drop per gallon.  As time permits, I’ll get both systems down to 1.010 by the end of the day, and they’ll stay there until sometime in the middle of April.
So, what do you think?  Am I nuts?  Wise?  Please post your comments, thoughs and experiences with hyposalinity below!