Category: Aquaria

Last yeah, when Em and I moved into a third floor apartment, we had the oh-so-enjoyable experience of moving not one, but two saltwater fish tanks. This involved catching wily fish, removing rocks covered in bristleworm spines (which I believe are still stuck in my fingers somewhere), filling multiple buckets with water and sand and fish, then moving it all up a winding staircase. This stirs up all kinds of muck and stresses the fish out, big time.

So we had one tank that had lived with me, and one tank that had lived with Em, both needing to a place in our new digs. Unfortunately, these tanks couldn’t be combined, since they both housed a type of clownfish, which, though you’d never know from watching cute little Nemo, are notoriously bitchy when it comes to their personal space. Throw two adult clownfish together and usually you get some sort of fight to the death. (not cool at $30 a fish!)

Luckily, thanks to friend of bil.com Pete, we had a 30 gallon tank collecting dust, and thanks to Home Depot, a sheet of thin acrylic was an easy acquisition. Inspired, Em crafted a tank divider with small holes drilled in it to allow water flow, but to keep those bitchy clownfish apart. The result? Two tanks in one!

Our 30 gallon tank

This made maintenance a lot easier, of course, and it also made a great display for our living room. Em’s dad made the beautiful top to hide the lights, and we’ve been enjoying our peacefully co-existing tank ever since.

Next week: The porthole!

(PS, I think this idea of a giant see-through barrier may work for keeping Mexicans out of the US. Someone should float that idea to Congress…)

Fish Stuff Friday: The Tank

Welcome to a long overdue installment of Fish Stuff Friday. There’s been a lot of changes for our finned friends since last update, too much to get to in one post (hey, it’s Friday, and there’s a bottle of wine on the table…). So here’s one of my current favorites in the tank, an electric blue hermit crab with an interesting ‘do.

Sporting a nice tuft of Green Algae

If we named the creatures in our tank, I think I’d go with “Doug White Hermie Crab.” Props to my local homies, you know? I tried to take more cool shots, but I’m not the best photographer around. Maybe I can convince Matt to do a shoot next time he’s over. I get nine of these for every decent pic to post:

It's like the Ring!

Alright, that does it for this week’s FSF. Next week we’ll take a look at the whole tank, recount the harrowing tale of moving with fish, hear about how we finally put Pete’s 30 gallon tank to use, and I’ll complain about how we couldn’t rearrange our living room because moving 300 pounds of reef isn’t very easy. Stay tuned!

It’s Fish Stuff Friday!

Feel the love.

Invertebrate love

Some people think its unnatural for a conch and a hermit crab to get together, but we’re pretty open-minded here at A Cry for Help.

Fish Stuff Tuesday

It’s been a while since we visited any of our sea creechiz </alan shawn feinstein>.

hermie tufts

That’s our blue hermit crab, sporting the new fall fashion of algae tufts. Or, as Remy would call it, an algal “system.”

Return of Fish Stuff Friday!

Back by popular demand, it’s a new Fish Stuff Friday! This week’s installment is “Damsel, in Distress?”

You may remember, from months ago, my new fish tank which was quickly infected by a straight-from-the-store deadly parasite. Well, I waited the suggested six weeks and got new fish (from the same store, though). Those fish came down with the same parasite, and despite my best efforts at fish doctoring, those fish died too. It’s been ten weeks now, and I am going to attempt one more go of it with this tank.

I’m not sure if it was the fish store that was widely infected, or if the new fish picked up the disease from my tank, so I’m experimenting now with a $6 damselfish. After scrubbing the tank, sucking out the top layer of sand and scrubbing the inner walls, I think the tank should be parasite free. Now, if my new fish comes down with the sickness (should take a week or so), then I’m just going to have to scrap the whole setup.

So here’s my new friend, a yellow tailed damselfish. Don’t get too attached, he’s a guinea pig.

Damsels are notoriously bitchy/aggressive, so I don’t know what I’ll do with him if he survives. But here’s hoping there’ll be many more FSF’s in the future!

Alan Shawn Feinstein delivered to me today the most sacred of all of his possessions – his precious collection of almighty and everlasting sea creechiz (established in nointeen sixty noin). While many do not recognize their value, ASF and I have a special connection.

The most important items in the museum are:
Cank (the rock), sacred green pendant (formerly a Heineken bottle, also seen in Lord of the Rings (?)), the elusive blue iridescent scrap, and shiny the wishing stone.

These were delivered to me with the promise that they would bring me great fawtunes one day. I must tell their story but share them with no one. His last words to me were “Now, they all have magical sea creecha powa and if you mess with me, ASF, I’ll have my sea creachiz kick yaw ass.”

ASF Sea Creecha Museum

For the past month or so, I’ve been working on a project for my marine ecology class. We had to design our own experiment, on any subject we wanted, and carry it out.

I’ve been doing evil experiments on barnacles. Barnacles are those little encrusting guys that just look like white bumps on rocks, boats, piers, and other hard sufaces that come in contact with the ocean. Well they have secret lives that most people don’t know about. There are actually little living bodies in those white bumps. When they are covered in water, they open up their shells and furiously sweep their tiny legs around in the water to collect food.

My experiment is related to this activity, but I won’t go into detail. Anyway, here are some of my barnacles alive, color coded so I know who is who (I also gave them names).

Because I am studying how they feed, I had to kill them (the evil part) and take out their legs, which are called cirri. I photographed the cirri of 20 barnacles today, and then used a program to measure how long the legs were. It was awesome. Here is one of the pics of the legs detached from the body!

I don’t think I can go to the beach ever again without wanting to dissect everything. Gawd bless the sea creechiz.

Master Conch & Red Hermie

Yellow Goby in his new spot

Thats all! Just a quick, non-reading Fish Stuff Friday this week! (I miss Bil’s 4-megapixel camera)

We Are Friends

I’ve been watching a practically empty tank for over a month now. A month without fish does great things to a tank – its wonderfully clean and very healthy. Lots of little organisms have been growing and keeping the ecosystem in good shape. However, most of these organisms are extremely tiny or microscopic, and not very entertaining.

Yesterday, I finally brought home 3 macro-organisms (fish)!

Those are my 2 new tank-raised ocellaris clownfish. I know it seems like we’re obsessed with clownfish, but they’re so comical (haha! clowns). They’re nice and small for my little tank, but they swim a lot and are extremely friendly.

I also got a little yellow goby. Here he is acclimating to my tank.

And this is where he likes to hang out.

Orange-faced clown & the stackable hermits(band name):

If that wasn’t enough excitement for one FSF, I’ve got great news from the tank in Cranston too. Maroon clown, blue tang, & the new and improved feather duster are all doing great!

An ENORMOUS Fish Stuff Friday

Em said maybe I was a good luck charm in all things marine related, and boy was she wrong! You know how I introduced you guys to the new fish yesterday? Well, last night we lost the LBC.

I was talking to Em when I noticed the little brown clownfish was covered in spots (click here for the picture, but it’s a little traumatic if you are fish lover). Em came up with a diagnosis, and I was going to go to the fish store today to get something to treat him. However, when I woke up this morning, the LBC was lying on the sand, dead as a doornail. Poor OC was hovering nearby, not knowing what to do with herself.

I found out later that the entire batch of black clownfish the store received ended up getting sick from parasites, so there was nothing I could have done. Now I am watching the OC very closely, hoping she won’t get infected too (so far, she’s looking pretty good).

Godspeed, LBC.

Well, we took a week off to mourn, but all the while down here in the Big Easy I was setting up a 5 gallon salt water tank. New sand, new live rocks, new hermit crabs… the works! And last weekend I finally got two clownfish, an orange one and a black one (which looks brown, but he’ll darken as he grows). We call them the OC and the LBC (little brown clownfish), both of which are also southern Californian locales.

Amazingly, one of the rocks I bought ended up sprouting something I’d never seen on our rocks. Turns out they were corals!! That’s pretty sweet, since they sell these same corals for about $30.

Unfortunately the other rock also brought with it a nuisance anemone, which are extremely difficult to eradicate. Here’s a picture of the LBC:

Click here for a good shot of the OC. I’m really excited to have fish again! And Fish Stuff Friday!

Fish Stuff Friday – Now in N.O.