OMG! I just adore mantis shrimp. My brother in law had one, some years ago.. He was worried about it cracking his tank, as it was a hitch-hiker in some live coral and he hadn't planned on it, lol.
They've actually tempted me to want to try a salt tank, just so I can have one.. Are the ones in the pics actually yours, Hallyx? if so, I am extremely envious! (of both shrimp and photography skills!)
Wow, do I have a lot of catching up to do! So much to tell! I might need a couple of days to get it all down, lol. Here's what I'm excited about today:
My 3 foot tank has become about as low-tech, low-light as it gets -- filtered sunlight, no electric light at all. And it's a jungle! Full of happy plants and fish and algae-munching critters. I'm a huge fan of low-tech/light setups, I guess I'm just trying to push the boundary of how low that tech can get and still support a healthy tank. So far, so good!
And keeping Aang and the Bristlenoses (and shrimps) company now is a school of White Cloud Mountain minnows. Peaceful fish, my ass! All they do is argue, but it's very entertaining. And breed! Fortunately, they're nasty little cannibals who like to much their own young, so I only get about 1-2 babies per hatching. I have so much to say about these fish, it'll have to wait for another post. But BABY MINNOWS! Omg, cuuuuute!!!
ALL of my gorgeous, gorgeous java fern (both species!!!) has been completely decimated by pond snails. They have pushed me too far! No more Ms. Nice Aus! The words 'extreme prejudice' most definitely apply! I've pulled about 150 of the munchy little suckers out this week, and I won't stop 'til I collect 'em all!
The Bn's have grown a heap, I love them to bits.
I think the minnows have hassled a lot of my smaller shrimps to death, but I still have the big Darwins, they take guff from no-one!
Aang's fins are stupidly long now. And doubly stupid, being as he has two tails' worth of extravagant finnage. No more fancy fins for me! As pretty as they are, the floofy-fins make swimming so obviously exhausting for these poor lil guys. I just feel bad for Aang, I can tell he wants to zip around and can't. Thankfully, he's completely forgotten the fact that gnawing the fins off = go faster. But now, he spends a lot of time resting on plants rather than swimming, it bothers me. I think I'll stick to plakats from now on.
The long-armed prawns share the 10-gallon tank for now. A little cramped, really, seeing as they've all grown a heap. But they seem happy enough, each has its own hidey-spot and arguments haven't involved someone becoming someone else's supper yet, so it's all good.
The female prawn is eggy again! I think the minnows (all eaten now) I had in there ate the last lot, so I'm crossing my fingers I get a few babies from this one. They -will- need a bigger tank, but that can wait for summer, I'm not messing about with large new tanks in the cold months.
While the prawns LOVE to eat pond snails (which is lucky! as I love feeding pond snails to them ) they won't touch MTS, so I have the the most enormous and numerous population of those in the prawn tank. They'te thriving, and entertaining in their funny, snaily way.
Both tanks are horribly untidy at the moment, but are doing well and I'm thrilled with how healthy they've been.
Anyway, there's a quick update. I promise to drop in more often!
Cheers, BL! And I finally have a few pics to post. I'm SO annoyed I didn't get a chance to get some good ones when the tank was looking -good-!!! It's shocking to see how the snails have devastated the tank... I'll try to get a before and after pic set up some time. :(
Anyway - pics! Of the "pond" (which is what we call the 3ft) and my carnivorous plants too.
Some minnows pics to begin with, and a not-very-nice one of Aang, who's hard to get good pictures of as he wiggles so much. He's not nearly as raggy-looking as this makes him seem. Oh well!
You can see in one of the pics above, the state of my java fern. That literally happened overnight. I don't know why, but the snails suddenly went from being very well-behaved to doing THAT! And thus, sealed their imminent doom.
And awh, baby minnows. I wish they'd stay babies, they're incredibly bright neon-blue when they're little, and look very pretty as they swim about together.
You can see the white fin-tips on the male up there. They flare and fight more than bettas do! Thankfully, they rarely injure each other, it's mosty all show. I'll do a post about that later some time.
Never mind the cat hair!!! stuck all over my sundews, Tomtom loves sunbathing on the windowsill above them....
I'm pretty pleased with the carnivores, they've all flowered and sprouted constantly so far.
I wanted to get pics of the prawns but for some reason the camera just won't let me get a nice focus on that tank.. It need a good tidy-up anyway and the glass cleaned as well, so I might do that later and try again.
The prawns have just been thriving. All of them have molted several times now. I panicked, the first time! I thought I had a big, dead prawn!~ The white cast-off shell even includes their delicate, very long antennae so I assumed it was a dead one.
It looks like I have three males and one female, now the little ones have grown (a lot!) so I plan to put the two smaller males into their own tank, and leave the big male and the female to themselves.
The love to eat snails, betta pellets, bits of shrimp picked out of fried rice and rinsed well, tiny bits of minced beef (a rare treat, but they love it!). Basically, I have found, they are just little long-armed yabbies.
For the non-Aussies, Google yabbies! They're awesome. Mean, but awesome.
In other news, a drunk driver ran into my HOUSE. Smashed through the brick front fence, sending -massive- chunks of brick flying across the entire front yard and into the wall, knocking holes in the actual outer wall of my home and destroying downpipes, etc. Of course the fence is a write-off.
Fortunately no-one was seriously hurt. The driver -and- his wife were both *stinking* drunk, literally stinking of booze. Irish and Daughter did heroic jobs of keeping them calm while the police and ambulance arrived, I am proud of them both! (especially Daughter! she gave the woman hugs and stopped her trying to walk around.. amazingly calm, for a girl of just 15. <3 )
This was at 1.30 AM, I was watching TV and heard the car screeching its brakes, then it just go0t louder and louder.... then BOOM!!!
Lucky there was a tree in the way of the window I was sitting in front of, or the car might've ended up through the wall and in my lap.
We even made the news! A reporter showed up and tried to talk to me. I told him if he pointed the camera at me, I'd hunt him down and take revenge. So he settled on talking to Irish, who was happy to oblige.
The good news is, this scary-but-not-too-bad accident could have saved all our lives!!! We had a guy out to check the gas heater over and he was *horrified* - said the heater was a death-trap to begin with, and we're lucky to not have a major explosion on our hands, or a terrible house fire at the least!!! That was -scary-! The whole thing is disconnected now, thank goodness.
Irish says I have a knack for both attracting spectacular disasters AND narrowly avoiding death. Lucky me!
Night covers the pond with its wing.
Under the ringed moon I can make out
your face swimming among minnows and the small
echoing stars. In the night air
the surface of the pond is metal.
Within, your eyes are open. They contain
a memory I recognize, as though
we had been children together. Our ponies
grazed on the hill, they were gray
with white markings. Now they graze
with the dead who wait
like children under their granite breastplates,
lucid and helpless:
The hills are far away. They rise up
blacker than childhood.
What do you think of, lying so quietly
by the water? When you look that way I want
to touch you, but do not, seeing
as in another life we were of the same blood.
Anyone you could find
you brought to the fishpond.
You surprised them
by painting crosses on the tips of the clover,
by fishing for minnows,
drawing them up on a slender line.
They always laughed at your boldness
until the silver hook stuck.
They would fight
the barbs tugging their gills.
They tried to leap in the dark
belly of the pond.
But you were insistent, unhurried.
You knew a small, blind fish
swam inside every man,
that there was the thought of a tree
in every tree, that the idea of the minnow
was only forgotten, and would slowly emerge,
flash and squirm up the thread
of your voice, the invisible line.
Once, you went alone to the fishpond
and found the idea of yourself
walking out of its flesh,
out of your dress as you moved.
You explored the weeds, pond side.
Plovers' high knees plowed the edge-waves
and water lapped lavender flowers.
You stretched over the banks,
feet in the mud and algae blooms,
watching hundreds of minnows
flip like coins in the sun, tangling your hair,
calling whatever swam below,
asking the world to swallow you whole.