Baby Clownfish (Awesome of the Day)
No, that's not the latest animal band name (though you're welcome to use it if you're more twee than these guys). They're just the latest addition into the Jackson family. Two years ago, my parents got tired of scraping algae off their 50-gallon salt-water aquarium, and I volunteered to provide their fish with a new home. Included in the deal was a pair of clownfish named (of course) Nemo and Marlin. Nemo even had a gimpy right fin. When Nemo eventually died, I bought Marlin a new buddy that my kids named (of course) Nemo. The pair seemed to get along nicely, but when a brood of eggs showed up about a week ago, I realized the Marlin was really Marlena. Apparently all clown fish are born males, and the dominate ones become female.
I did a little research online and learned that when you can see silver
eyes at the tips of the eggs, they'll hatch a couple of hours after
dark. That made for a lot of late nights this week, since the eyes
turned silver on Tuesday, but the eggs didn't hatch until last night. I
shined a flashlight into the tank and saw tons of tiny fish swimming
around the water. I scooped them out with a net and put them into a
little five-gallon tank, and reality hit. What the hell do I feed these
The answer is live rotifers. Disney's Nemo might have been orphaned by a bad barracuda, but clownfish larvae are born predators. They won't eat anything but live food. After calling every pet store in Atlanta this morning, trying to find these barely visible creatures to no avail, I stumbled across a guy from Atlanta selling them on ebay. So now we have about 50 tiny clownfish on their first hunt. Assuming they survive, most of them will be available for free to a good home in Atlanta. Unless they hatch a plan to escape the aquarium and return to the Great Barrier Reef.
Josh Jackson is the editor-in-chief of Paste magazine and blogs daily about music, film and culture (and sometimes beer) at High Gravity. You can follow him on Twitter @joshjackson.
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