Designer Clownfish popularity remains strong, with surges of interest each time a new variety is announced to hobbyists. To date, most tinkering of clownfish genetics has occurred within the Amphiprion percula and ocellaris complex, but the way things are panning out for ORA, there will be some exciting developments coming from Premnas biaculeatus before long.
Historically ORA has avoided the crossing of White Stripe and Gold Stripe Maroons (Percula and Ocellaris as well) because it doesn’t result in offspring that “improve” upon their parents. However, the Lightning Maroon piqued our interest and we were excited to see what the results of a Gold Nugget cross would be. We haven’t been the only ones curious about this combination, as other aquarists are also working with this same cross.
Our first successful pairing was a Lightning Maroon male crossed to a Gold Nugget female. As expected, the first generation of offspring displayed a huge degree of variation in the patterns, many of them are reminiscent of Premium Goldflake Maroons with a few important differences: the markings are usually more symmetrical on each side and many have several holes in the white areas. We also see fish that have nearly solid white flanks and appear to have some Lightning like spangles. In addition to these two desirable traits we get a number of fish with a traditional Gold Dot type pattern and regular, three striped Maroon Clowns.
Looking at the first couple of batches, there seems to be about 6 distinct phenotypes or grades present within the group, with some variation present within each grade. It is uncertain to what degree, if at all, these fish will develop the gold color transformation characteristic of their Gold Nugget mother.
These new Designer Clowns are undeniably attractive and unique. Some will certainly grow to be highly coveted collector specimens. However, this is our first step towards producing new, exciting variants of Maroon clownfish. Many of the fish from these first few batches do not display the characteristic clownfish conformation we strive for. Because of the considerable inconsistency, the uncertainty of what the fish will look like as they age or what we’re dealing with exactly in terms of genetics, we’ve decided for now to refrain from using or establishing trade names for each of the apparent phenotypes or grades. Instead, we’re dubbing all patterned fish from this first cross as ORA GoldXLightning Maroons and keeping track of their normal-barred siblings. We have already begun setting up new pairs with our first generation GoldXLightings and have plans to implement some linebreeding in an attempt to reliably produce the more desirable phenotypes. Additionally, we’ll also be backcrossing to each of the parent strains to see if we can achieve some even more extreme varieties. With each successive generation, we will be providing hobbyists with an increasingly refined ORA Designer Clownfish, at which point we may deem the strains that breed true as name-worthy. If a name already exists for a particular phenotype we will adopt it.
We have a lot of work ahead of us and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it! You can see more photos of these fish on the product page here.
If Designer Clownfish aren’t your thing, don’t worry, we still raise all the wild types just for you!