Ah, this brings back memories…good old Reef Central (from which I’ve been banned since 2006 for being a “commercial seller”, which I’m not nor was at the time in question, and in fact I was following ALL the published rules; got the smackdown for what the mods called an “unwritten rule”; well more precisely for disagreeing with my suspension over an unwritten rule.  Figures). An interesting forum conversation was brought to my attention by a forum reader, and well, since I can’t post on Reef Central, I’ve pulled the quotes I felt a desire to respond to, and have done so here.
davocean – I recall reading that one of the breeding pair, and maybe that very one there died, but I’m not absolutely certain on that.
MP – there never was a “breeding pair”. There was a large female that was shipped with the Lightning Maroon which pretty quickly got sick, and never recovered. The Lightning Maroon shown above is alive and well
davocean – What a lot of needless drama in that link that would have been nice if he edited that crud out.
MP – I am guessing this is in reference to my rebuttal over the recent “character assassination attempt” that was beyond baseless?
davocean – I know maroons are fussy and all, but it’s hard for me to believe that much time and dificulty to pair.
MP – it’s “easy” if you have the right mates. With PNG being shut down, and with the fish I had requested never arriving, I am forced to go the hard way. It is conceivable that could possibly have the Lightning Maroon paired in as little as 72 hours if I ordered up a couple small, captive bred white stripe maroon of random origin. But in order to keep the PNG bloodline, I have to work with “larger” males, which makes pairing difficult.
davocean – I can’t say I disagree w/ the trolls comments, or at least some of them, mainly being distracted, which was kind of obvious when it turned into an ecoxotic/panorama review.
MP – Well for the “Troll”, that allegation of distraction was the fundamentally incorrect fact that I had somehow started up an Orchid Business in the last year.  Sorry, but wrong decade.  For me, the Ecoxotic setup was a distraction…a welcome diversion from the slow progress and lack of other news, since the project was, for many months, basically put in a holding pattern while trying to get the appropriate mates from PNG. I was happy to have something to write about when there was nothing going on with the breeding part of the project.
davocean – I could only read/bear so much, as far as I could tell the lightning is badly scarred/wounded, and not paired up yet?
MP – Obviously you really picked and chose what you read. Yes, the Lighting Maroon did at one point get beat up by a Centropyge argi a while back; it happened while I was out of town – I would’ve noticed the issue immediately, whereas my 2 caretakers didn’t.  I didn’t expect the first dorsal to heal.  The Lightning Maroon has fully recovered from the fin damage it sustained.
davocean – didn’t catch the angel fish part, but that leads me to wonder why he didn’t have a cover on his tank? I think if I paid that much $$ or had such a rare clown I would have every angle covered for it’s safety, but oh well, not my clown.
MP – actually there were “two” covers on the tank. The egg crate “jail” that housed the Lightning Maroon to allow it to interact with, but not have physical contact with, another much larger generic WS Maroon, had a top on it. And then, resting on top of that, was a second screen top. To this day I do not know how the Lightning Maroon escaped from jail and got into the main tank.
davocean – The part I don’t get also is his pairing and purposely throwing in weak clowns he intended on culling back on top the potential mate to add some sort of confusion, or I guess make the potential mate seem more desireable? I don’t know, seems an odd way to pair.
MP – once again, you seem to pick and choose what you read. This pairing idea was fully explained in an earlier post, and yes, I think you have the general jist. The smaller clowns are meant to act as a distraction, spreading out the aggression of the female, and if it really works, it causes the female to accept the male, in order to have help driving off the remaining intruders. It is not my technique, it was shared with me a while back by Mitch May (Booyah’s Reef). And it may have actually worked too. But here’s where you got it wrong – I did not test this technique with the Lightning Maroon, nor it’s mate. I tested it with the other 2 PNG Maroons I’ve had on hand, which were imported at the same size, both “males”. It has taken a little over a year to push enough size divergence through rationing food to the smaller one, to get enough of a difference that the proper social structure would come to fruition.
davocean – I think I would have prefered the lightning be a female anyways, so maybe it will work out for the better.
MP – Several people have felt this way, and in this opinion, there is no right or wrong – both sides have merit so it the determination is made by the project goals, and thus, how best to meet those goals. There are pros and cons on both sides. For me, the circumstances over the first year suggested I keep it male, as others have responded – it would allow me to pair it with any other PNG Maroon captured, including a large female Lightning Maroon if such a fish were found and made it’s way to me. However, with no fish coming out of PNG, I was forced to use only fish I had on hand, which is why at the start of this year I had to change my battle plans and push the Lightning female. It took a year+ on the other PNG Maroon pair, I only “got it done” last week and there’s still no spawning. Given that I started a year later with the Lightning Maroon, no telling how long it’s going to take for it to turn female.
Whip316 – wouldnt you want it to stay male? doesnt most of the better genes come from the males anyway?
MP – There are rumors that striping pattern is inherited from the male. I don’t really believe that, but when the goal was to keep this fish male, that was one of the reasons. If it turned out that this were actually true, wow, that would suck for the project now that the Lightning is going female. Frankly, I *think* these rumors stem from the fact that the wild Picasso Percula used to start the entire Picasso Percula line from ORA was the male in the pair. I can say with certainty that female Picassos have plenty of genetic input in mating as well.
davocean – I was just voicing personal opinion on wanting the standout clown to be a nice big fat egg laying female, and males are kinda more vulnerable since they are the ones that have to prove themselves worthy to the much more aggro female.
MP – ah, but there’s the other issue. Female Maroons tend to darken and/or loose stripes. The Lightning Maroon may cease to be a “showpiece” in a few year’s time. So I’m taking LOTS of pictures now, while it still looks great. It has already darkened considerably however.
Deangelr – I agree with your logic as well.. If I were Matt I would be patient and let biology take its course. I would leave the lighting in the tank and put a small maroon in a breeder box in the same tank. It would be visible to the lighting but safe from it also. Every couple of weeks I would attempt to pair them.. Eventually the lighting will realize that is ok to turn female and should do so..
MP – I chuckle deangelr – the proven fertile male PNG Maroon is in a specimen cup wiht holes drilled in it. Has been for months now. I believe there is video of it when I first introduced it. You have basically described what I am doing.
deangelr – IME with maroon clowns, they are actually one of the easiet clowns to pair. A very large maroon and a very small maroon will pair up instantly. At least they did for me in my 2 tries.
MP – again, that’s what I alluded to earlier saying “I could do this in 72 hours”. With the right mates, pairing Maroons should be easy. With less ideal mates (in terms of size) it becomes tough. I have many other maroons here so I can work with them and learn from them, and indeed, they are not easy to pair if there isn’t a big size difference. Also, GSMS are fundamentally different, and far easier going. Experiences with Gold stripes don’t really translate to White Stripes.
davocean – I’ve always felt maroons are one of the hardest to pair, but that just been my exp.
MP – wait, didn’t you just write above, “I know maroons are fussy and all, but it’s hard for me to believe that much time and dificulty to pair.”?  Which is it davocean?
davocean – Well I guess that is why I was thinking my first thought, since my last female maroon that was fairly large, killed the first 2 males(and they were tiny) before I could even grab a net. And this was w/ the breeder box trick. Now days I can read them a lil better and I totally agree breeder box intro is best.
MP – Looks like we’re all in agreement afterall…pairing white stripes can be tough indeed.
UPDATE – MP – and one more followup – it seems this blog post stirred the pot over on Reef Central.  Good.  The reason I responded here on TLP was a) because I can’t respond there and b) to set the record straight.  I’m always open to having a dialog here on the project’s site (that’s what the comment system is for), but when MISINFORMATION is put out there by third parties, well, I’m well within reason to set the record straight by whatever means available.  So if you’re posting factually incorrect information, expect to be called out on it.  If you go on to propose opinions based on misinformation, doubly so.
And to the side commentary about how I handle “disagreement” Toddrtrex 😉 – I have no problems with anyone who “disagrees” with me, but I find it rather preposterous for someone to propose any type of opinion at all if they don’t even have the facts straight in the first place.  If you’re going to criticize or comment, have the decency to make sure you’re well informed first.