So, plans have been in motion.  So many plans that in fact I’m not sure I laid them all out!
The most pressing issue remains the female PNG Maroon and her never-ending health battle.  Today, Monday, she’s decided to swim around more, to possibly eat better, but also to develop cloudiness in both eyes now.
My plan for the female started maybe a few days ago, and Boomer reminded me a bit of something I was already working on, and that is moving the female out of the main 20 gallon tank.  I’m honestly getting the vibe that the 20 long may be causing as much harm as good.  Boomer specifically expressed concerns about even the slightest elevated ammonia levels.  For me, it’s more about going back to some of those earlier comments that talked about the notion / concept / theory that wild caught clownfish are best served by being placed directly into host anemones.
Well, I picked up a large RBTA (Red Bubble Tip Anemone) from Jim Grassinger (  I cleared out the 10 gallon that was being used to rear Black Ocellaris babies (at one point 150+) and gave it some serious water changes.  It’s lit with twin tube HO T5’s, so there’s arguably sufficient lighting for the nem and then some.  This tank will be the destination, the “recovery spa” if you will, for the female PNG Maroon clownfish.   Of course, provided she makes it this far.

RBTA and Caulerpa

Possible future recovery room for the female PNG Maroon Clowfish.

And for the female, yesterday I removed some of the live rock to aid in my daily cleanup of uneaten food.  It could help her with foraging for food as well, but I’ve yet to see her actually eat anything off the bottom.  Today she got a water change, but this time, makeup water was at full strength.  She was again dosed with Maracyn SW this evening.  Fin rot has definitely stopped, but as I mentioned at opening, we now have cloudy eyes on both sides.  The female also looks fat, which is alarming to me, because I don’t think she’s eating enough to account for the “robust” look to her belly.  More likely, internal bacterial problems, which means this fish isn’t going to make it to the “spa”.   Take a look for yourself…what do YOU think?

Female Maroon as of 4-19-2010

Same date and time, just the other side...

But let’s not forget the “male”, the Lightning Maroon.  First off, let me say that the great sex debate has been rekindled anew.  I for one am still convinced that the fish is male, but I AM aware of the potential serious side effects this could have for the Lighting Maroon if I’m wrong.  For those who missed it, I have separated the Lightning Maroon Clownfish from his PNG Female over health concerns.  He currently resides in his bachelor(ette) pad in my “SPS” tank.
Lightning Maroon Clownfish in a breeder net

The Lightning Maroon Clownfish in his "breeder net" bachelor pad, with 3 bubble tip anemones.

I had mused last time about keeping the “social pressure” on this fish to keep it male.  I honestly believe that having the PNG female in the same tank, even with the divider, was sufficient.   Well, I never got around to printing out a picture of a large Maroon Clownfish to stick outside the basket.  Instead, this evening I obtained a truly massive Maroon Clownfish, who we’ll call the Labrador Clown, courtesy of Frank  & Mary.  Frank genuinely does not know how long he’s had this fish, but it’s measured in years.  Frank got it when he bought up a used 75 gallon tank, so you know this fish has been around the block and then some.
The plan is simple.  House this “clean”, well established Maroon Clown in the same tank as the Lightning Clownfish to maintain that social pressure.  Under no uncertain terms, I will not be allowing them to “play”, even if somehow the Lightning Maroon gets out of the net, past 2 layers of netting, and into the tank with this big clownfish.
But first, the reality is that the tank already houses clownfish…a pair of Red Saddleback, aka. Fire Clownfish, Amphiprion ephippium.
Amphiprion ephippium

The Male Sumatran Fire Clownfish

Now, these clowns have been in this tank for months and I know they’re a pair.  But they’re never together and never spawning.  Why?  Because for some reason, the Pymgy Anglefish Male (Centropyge argi) HATES the smaller Fire Clown and keeps him pinned in the upper back left corner (as you can see in the picture above).
Well, I got them both out, and they went into the tank that used to house my Latezonatus clownfish!  Again, just a reminder, I KNOW these Fire Clowns are a pair despite never seeing any of the “pair bonding” activity, and in fact the “pair” generally inhabiting opposite sides of the SPS tank.  Well, this move is probably a good thing for the Fire Clowns and my efforts with them.  Donchathink?

Fire Clownfish in a new, quieter home.

The Fire clowns are in fact behaving as if they’re finally a pair, and finally have a place to call their own.  And that freed me up for the last bit of shuffling fish for the evening.  Drip acclimating Frank & Mary’s Labrador Maroon (they call it the Labrador because it’s big and greedy at feeding time, akin to a Chocolate Labrador they own)

The Labrador Maroon Clownfish in the bucket!

I won’t go into great detail about Frank’s fishing excursion to catch this Maroon…I’ll simply reiterate that a) I own Frank a baby from the Lightning Maroon if I ever get any, and b) again, thank you Frank.  Again, the plan for this fish is to simply swim around the Lightnig Maroon’s breeder net and look intimidating…not much else.  If I really needed to, I could try pairing them, but to pair the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish with a “generic” White Striped Maroon wouldn’t be the best mate, and wouldn’t be in accordance with the project objectives I laid out.
One final note…check out those dark gray bars on the Labrador Clown.   I wonder if this dark-dark-dark coloration will hold.  We’ll see…