Three days ago we received another shipment of mystery eggs from Paul Rinehart and Ramon Villaverde of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Stocking the eggs into one large 54 gallon tub we didn’t have much hope that these ones would hatch. When the eggs arrived at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab the water in the shipping bags was a bit cool, around 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler water can be good during shipping since it delays hatching. Keeping the embryos inside the egg helps protect the delicate larvae and keeps water quality high in the absence of hatching enzymes. When the water is too cold, however, it can slow vital metabolic processes beyond the threshold of survival. We weren’t exactly sure how cold coral reef fish eggs could handle.   To get the larvae out of the shipping bags we chilled our rearing tanks and let the eggs warm up slowly using the larger water mass. To our amazement, this method produced a fantastic hatch. The video below shows hundreds of schooling bannerfish larvae, Heniochus diphreutes and orange shoulder tang larvae, Acanthurus olivaceus at first feeding.

Matthew L. Wittenrich
Senior Biological Scientist

Eric Cassiano
Biological Scientist

Tropical Aquaculture Lab
University of Florida

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