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KimP

Berghia breeding attempt

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Here's my attempt at breeding berghia nudibranchs. Pulled out the ol 3g micro-reefs tank. Small enough so they can all find each other (they're colonial) and find the aiptasia, but hopefully big enough to control temp and salinity swings. Plus I still have all the equipment for it. I ordered 10 of the berghia last week and at the last moment decided to try to breed them instead of putting them in my tank. I really needed 15 minimum for my tank but at $13+ per berghia, plus $50 shipping, I just couldn't stomach buying as much as I'd need. I read everything I could find about breeding these guys and there are so many different ways people have tried, so I took all that info and came up with this, so far. If I have any success at all, I'm sure things will change along the way. The goal is to increase my numbers to at least 15, so I can hit my tank with all of them at once.

Supposidely pods eat the berghia eggs and the bigger ones apparently can even eat the adults. Not sure if all that's true, because how do they reproduce in tanks, but I'm planning on putting only aiptasia in the tank and try not to put any rocks in there. Although getting my hands on bare aiptasia isn't the easiest thing. Another idea is to use something to kill the pods on some aiptasia infested rock, like in a bucket not my DT, then put it in with the berghia. If I can rinse it well enough. The problem I see with having rocks in the tank is not being able to keep track of the adults or where all the eggs are. I like to keep track of the adults so I can pull any out that die right away to maintain water quality.

What I had going starting out:

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The idea is to have the adults in the 3g, and move the egg swirls into the container on the right. My thinking is this way I'll be able to do water changes on the 3g without sucking out the babies. Seems like the babies are super tiny and take a bit to settle out and start feeding. I have a microscope and a couple good loupe magnifying glasses so I'm thinking I'll watch the eggs and when I think some may have hatched, start checking the water for babies. I don't have a plan yet for water changes on the baby set up, or what I'll do after they hatch, but I'll come up with something. It can take 3 or more months for the larvae to settle out (!!!) according to this Advanced Aquatics article http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2008/11/breeder

More pics from this weekend:

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Pictures from yesterday:

FTS

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Egg container

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Eggs!

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Eating aiptasia. They don't waste any time and can mow a pretty big one down in no time! Pretty satisfying to watch devil.gif

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With the light off. I'll have to take pictures like this from now on. Didn't realize how blue they'd be!

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I'm down one adult today, and when they arrived there was only 9 in the container, so I currently have 8 adults.

Pics from today:

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There are about 10 egg swirls in here now,

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If anyone has experience with this I'd appreciate any advice! Also some brainstorming ideas from anyone would be very welcome too. I don't really know what I'm doing

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Some pictures from this morning. Still have 8 adults. There are 3 new egg swirls :)

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How are you getting the aiptasia out of your tank and into the breeding tank? Do they eat the real big aiptasia too? I have those huge glass anemone/aiptasia. I'm assuming they are different

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Good job! Lets hope you have a farm of them!

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How are you getting the aiptasia out of your tank and into the breeding tank? Do they eat the real big aiptasia too? I have those huge glass anemone/aiptasia. I'm assuming they are different

So far I've been pulling out the little, easy to remove things from my tank, like a barnacle and various frag plugs with aiptasia on them. Then I use a razor blade to scrape them off or bone cutters if I need to cut them out, then rinse it off and drop it in. I don't know much about aiptasia yet, and if there are different kinds. I have a couple huuuuge ones and am going to put one in and see what happens. I don't have a solid plan yet for when the easy to remove ones are gone from my DT. I don't have much rock that's easily removed that doesn't have coral on it. I was thinking last night that I should probably set up an aiptasia tank (seperate from my DT, ha!). I'm assuming I won't get any aiptasia to grow in it though! They probably only grow where you don't want them.

I'm thinking if it really takes 3 months to get babies, that it'll be the holiday season before I have any big enough to use.

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Good luck! Watching this with interest...

This is very cool

Good job! Lets hope you have a farm of them!

I'd be interested in purchasing some of the babies when they're ready if they'll be for sale. Good luck!

suuuuper cool! following with great interest!

Thanks everyone! Hopefully this will work out!

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I'm really glad to see you document your efforts so well. My experience raising them was interesting and I wish I had taken more time to follow them. The adults when they reach the 1" - 1 1/2" size are quite beautiful. I got 4 to try to breed and lost two pretty quick. The other two initially had lots of eggs but I didn't see many juveniles. I did finally get about half a dozen tiny ones maybe 3/16" or 1/4" show up and was able to raise them up to adult size. About that time I started to add rocks with aiptasia to the tank and after that I never saw any more small ones even though there were plenty of eggs. I did notice after a couple months I had a lot of 'pods and asterinas wer clearly reproducing also. My suspicion is the 'pods and/or asterinas were eating the eggs or babies and maybe there was cannibalism between the older and younger specimens.

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I'm really glad to see you document your efforts so well. My experience raising them was interesting and I wish I had taken more time to follow them. The adults when they reach the 1" - 1 1/2" size are quite beautiful. I got 4 to try to breed and lost two pretty quick. The other two initially had lots of eggs but I didn't see many juveniles. I did finally get about half a dozen tiny ones maybe 3/16" or 1/4" show up and was able to raise them up to adult size. About that time I started to add rocks with aiptasia to the tank and after that I never saw any more small ones even though there were plenty of eggs. I did notice after a couple months I had a lot of 'pods and asterinas wer clearly reproducing also. My suspicion is the 'pods and/or asterinas were eating the eggs or babies and maybe there was cannibalism between the older and younger specimens.

Thanks for sharing your experience. So what did you do with the adults in the end? Would you suggest keeping the eggs, juveniles, and adults separate? Did you separate eggs from the adults at all? How long do you think it took to see any juveniles? How did you handle water changes when the eggs started hatching?

I'll see how long I can manage to put only aiptasia in and no rock. I've been planning out an aiptasia tank, so that should make it easy to cut out just the aiptasia and not have any pods get into the berghia tanks.

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This morning when I turned the light on there was a berghia getting rather close to the one aiptasia left in their tank. I stopped to watch for a bit and I'm glad I did. It was so interesting! So the aiptasia was close to the edge of the tank, and the berghia was trying to get past it. One of the tentacles from the aiptasia reached out and touched the berghia and they both jumped back. Almost instantly a group of 3 berghia that were all having fun in a pile, about 3 inches to the left of the aiptasia, all stopped and turned the same direction and headed strait for the aiptasia. The aiptasia reached out and touched the berghia a couple more times and each time they both jumped back. I thought there was a chance the aiptasia would grab the berghia to eat it. That's what it looked like was going to happen. Next thing I know, every single berghia is headed towards that aiptasia and they ate it all in just a couple minutes! It was so interesting. That first one must've gotten a sting and sent out some signal to the rest of the gang that it found food. I wish I would've had my phone handy to video the whole thing. I eventually got these pics at least.

Going...

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Going...

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Gone!

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Whoa that must have been cool to watch that haha

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Sex and violence, better than Friday night TV. grin.png

I'm really glad to see you document your efforts so well. My experience , , , specimens.

. . . So what did you do with the adults in the end? Would you suggest keeping the eggs, juveniles, and adults separate? Did you separate eggs from the adults at all? How long do you think it took to see any juveniles? How did you handle water changes when the eggs started hatching? . . .

I was adding the adults to a tank I have an aiptasia problem in. It was probably 6 - 8 weeks after I was getting eggs that I saw baby Berghia. But considering the size of the individual egg and the size when they are noticable that was probably a pretty good growth rate. I made no effort to separate the eggs and adults and didn't do anything special for the water changes outside of trying to avoid any noticeble eggs or nudibranchs. The reason I suspect predation is I added a big rock with aiptaisa instead of individual specimens and after that I would see 'pods scurying around and asterinas but even though there were eggs I never again saw baby Berghia. Cannibalism is just a guess, it would explain why I never saw more than the initial group of half a dozen or so babies.

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Neat pic I got tonight.

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Nothing new really today, just added a bunch more aiptasia and collected a bunch of egg swirls. Soon I need to get a little of the water from the bottom of the egg container under a magnifying glass/microscope and see if anything's hatched yet.

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I need to buy some of these from u! Haha getting small aiptasia's!

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Finally had a chance to do some more reading tonight. Turns out the egg containers do much better with no aeration. blink.png Not sure how I feel about that, but pulled the airline tonight anyway. Also learned that giving the aiptasia a nice long dark period is a way to get them to bud off and make lots and lots of tiny aiptasias, which is a better size for the juveniles I'm trying to raise. Sounds good to me. Thanks to Timfish, who has access to dozens and dozens of tanks, I got my hand on an aiptasia covered rock, so I'm happy to leave it in a dark bucket for a while. I'll be feeding the aiptasia and putting an airline on it though. I'm not quite ready to set up an aiptasia tank yet, ha!

Not sure if I mentioned it before, but I'm using water from my DT for all the water changes. So far all 8 adults are doing well and still gettin' busy laying lots of new egg swirls everyday!

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I need to buy some of these from u! Haha getting small aiptasia's!

If you can get on the problem as soon as you see any aiptasia, that's going to be the best plan. I'm happy to give you some berghia when they're ready, of course! But in the meantime, try to get a handle on it by using a laser like Dan has, or injecting it with vinegar, or any of the other ways to get rid of them before there are too many. The berghia generally don't find every single little aiptasia, then they die off and the problem can return. I think the best plan is using several means of control.

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The little berghia tank is trucking along just fine. All 8 adults still laying lots of eggs and occasionally munching an aiptasia. They've mostly been munching on a couple at once, not eating a whole one all the way down anymore. I'm guessing because I put about 8 of varying sizes in the tank. They will eat the huge aiptasia, which I wasn't sure about. They ate the tentacles off first and left the base. That was interesting. I've also noticed aiptasia from other tanks can look very different.

I checked the egg container a couple days ago and found a bunch of empty eggs and lots and lots of newly hatched berghia! I'm still learning how to take pictures with this cell phone through the microscope, so I only have one blurry picture. They crawl fast under magnification, so by the time my phone focuses, it's out of view. I'll get better eventually!

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Now I have to figure out how to do a water change on the egg container with varying ages of eggs and newly hatched berghia. It takes a while for them to settle onto the bottom and begin feeding, so I could end up throwing out a bunch of newly hatched ones each water change. I don't know what I'll end up doing about this, maybe just skimming the top for water to throw away. I think I'll set up a new egg container, an additional one, and pull all the unhatched eggs out of the current one into it. That'll keep the bioload down since they're just in a spaghetti sauce jar. I bet I could put an airline in the original one at that point too. I switched to a glass container so I can see through it with the magnifying loupe and watch the little aiptasia in it for signs that it's getting munched on.

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That first one must've gotten a sting and sent out some signal to the rest of the gang that it found food.

I'm curious as to what the actual mechanism that alerts here. Would a pheromone like scent work in that manner? Likely not. Do they have eyes or some visual receptor that caught the quick movement? If so, how are they identifying between food and flight?

Super interesting Kim!

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