For several years now, it has been my desire to see a breeder or hatchery on the US mainland be the first to captive-breed Omans and Madagascars. In the past, I have bred a number of Clownfish species, but as mentioned, that is history. Now, I get my pleasure by being in the field collecting data, and documenting these magnificent Clownfish. I count myself fortunate to be, quite possibly the only person in the world to have Omanensis and Latifasciatus as part of my private Clownfish collection. However, this article is not about my Clownfish collection. It is about a pair of magnificent Latifasciatus collected to form the first Madagascar broodstock in the US, and possibly in the world. My aim is to collect two more pairs to add gene pool diversity. After summering in the Madagascar and Oman regions last year, I envisioned collecting a pair of A. Latifasciatus. This was to be a special pair the rarest and most brilliantly colored of the seven available variations of Madagascar Anemonefish. Unlike many of the very rare Clownfish, Latifasciatus is considered a beautiful and brilliantly colored Clownfish. This pair should be outstanding. I am especially grateful to my friend and mentor Dr. Gerald R. Allen (Gerry), who has generously shared his time and expertise whenever I call on him with questions and photos of rare Clownfish that needed verification. On one of those occasions, Gerry applied the phrase"The True Madagascar Anemonefish", having observed that quite a few Allardis shipped from Madagascar have been misidentified as Madagascar Anemonefish. Gerry once informed me that he does “not think Latifasciatus is in the aquarium trade", I couldn't agree more. Therefore, we now have the opportunity to introduce the offsprings of this extremely rare and magnificent pair of Latifasciatus to hobbyists, hopefully in the near future. Once the pair was collected, I informed Gerry, and kept him updated on the pair’s progress in captivity. In fact, he was the one who directed me to where the “True Madagascar” can be found, and there they were found, inside of the one-mile radius. I documented growth rates, color changes, and forking development of the caudal fin etc. Although I have several Madagascars in my private collection, I gained more new information from observing this pair. Gerry suggested that the sudden growth spurt I observed was likely the result of increased amounts of protein the pair was receiving during their 11 weeks in quarantine. Both male and female of this pair are identical in size. Some differences observed are that the female’s caudal fin is slightly more forked than that of the male. She also has a slightly wider middle bar (15 scale count). The male's middle bar is about 12 scale count. The True Madagascar generally has a minimum 10 scale count at the narrowest part of its middle bar. Also, the male of this pair is longer than tall, while the female is more proportionate in dimension. This pair was collected with no other Clownfish within 25 feet of their host Anemone. On their size equality, Gerry and I agree that its difficult to say, one suggestion is the possibility of both fish descending from their planktonic stage (larval stage) and inhabiting an unoccupied anemone. He also reminded me that many wild Clownfish pairs demonstrated size equality. This is especially so with A. omanensis and A. latifasciatus. Below are recent sets of photo updates I sent to Gerry showing the pair and a photo of the female Madagascar. Below an excerpt of Gerry’s comments on the pair: ------------------------------------------------------------- Re: Madagascar Anemonefish "Gerry Allen" To: "tsq tsq" Hi Terry, “Thanks for the most recent photos and the update on the latifiasciatus pair. They are really beautiful fish.” Best wishes, Gerry ----- Original Message ----- --------------------------------------------------------------- John and Sissy, friends of Bob from iBluewater.com, have recently received this magnificent Madagascar pair. They report that the pair are doing well in their QT facility. Some 10 days prior to shipping, John and Sissy received a video clip showing the pair cleaning that portion of the aquarium wall adjacent to their host anemone. (an acknowledged Clownfish pre-spawning behavior) As of this writing, I know of no one who has bred the True Madagascar (A. Latifasciatus) in captivity. John and Sissy will very likely be the first. They are also the team that fully appreciates the A. Latifasciatus to be among the rarest of the rare Clownfish. We know this team will do us all proud and remember some Clownfish are meant to be rare A. Latifasciatus is one of those. I am very fortunate to be part of this happy event. My thanks to all 3reef staff for their knowledgeable and excellent work. My special thanks to Matt Rogers for being a top notch forum host. Thank you Sir! If you wish to learn more about Clownfish/Clownfish paring, and Anemones, you can chat with me here on 3reef. You can also email my colleague Bob: firstname.lastname@example.org Excerpts from Project Madagascar log: Arrived Madagas region May 2011. Briefing from guide. Survey dive zone. Survey u/w topography - 4 test dives over 2 days Madagas pair collected late afternoon June. Water temperature at collection 82F - 84F Pair transported in 5 gal bucket. 2 x 1" air stone battery air pump for oxygen boost. Reserve 8 gals seawater from the collection site. Time to temp. holding site - 8 hours. Holding tank: 5 gals collected seawater + 5 gals synthetic saltmix water. 2x established hang on filters, total 100 gal filtration capacity, in 10gal holding tank. Acclimate by scoop method - every 10 mins - 4ozs scoop of water from the holding tank to 3 gal water holding Madagascars. Four days later Madagas sent to Asia QT facility for sev wks. Final ship to US. QT nutrition = seafood blend + livefood. QT protocol - treat for both internal and external parasites. ------------------------------------------- An original article exclusive to 3reef.