What an exciting Monday morning for aquaculture! We now have 3 goby breeding pairs that have all laid eggs this week. Our most recent pair needed to be separated from the two other resident gobies, so we decided to experiment. It has been relayed by word of mouth that gobies will clean parasites off the cobia. Nothing is ever that easy at CEI, so we needed to see it to believe it.
Nine thirty this morning, Marie and I decided to take the leap of faith and place the 2 gobies into the brood stock cobia tank. No one knew what to expect. Would the gobies like their new home? Would the cobia know to stay still so the gobies could clean them? How long would it take until we would observe the gobies actually cleaning the cobia?
Gobies are known for mysteriously disappearing from tanks, so we placed mesh goby exclusion devices on the outflow pipes to hopefully prevent escapements. We also placed a lovely pvc pipe condo into the tank for the gobies to make into their home sweet home, but they chose the resident current- air stone pvc pipe instead. Within forty-five minutes both gobies were observed cleaning the cobia on their gills, pectoral fins and face. All 3 cobia were lined up close to each other lying on the bottom of the tank. It was the funniest, cutest, and most intriguing behavior to witness. You could sense how valuable and natural the relationship was for both fish species. I have previously seen the cobia lie on the bottom of the tank being lazy, but not lined up and so close to one another. What an exciting, successful (so far) experimental endeavor for the aquaculture team. Now all we have to do is get rotifers, keep them alive, and raise the goby hatchlings past 4 days! Easier said then done. Wish us luck!