The three remaining hermits have died. I replaced about half the water, again, this time with an emergency mix (bottled water and sea salt), and then Sunday afternoon, with freshly collected water from Boundary Bay. The shrimps and crabs seem almost back to normal, and the anemones are tentatively opening up again.
I am grateful for the concern people have shown, and for your understanding of the analogy I presented. The life and death of a few miniature hermit crabs and amphipods seems such a small thing, almost not worth wasting time on, much less grieving over (as I have done), but it's like a trickle of sand down a steep mountainside warning us: watch out for landslides! Stop digging at the bottom!
I have been wondering what to do now. I have an almost empty aquarium. I could return the snails to their beach, with no difficulty. But I feel that I have a responsibility to my maimed crab and brain-damaged shrimps. They would not survive the challenges of the wild for very long. So I must keep the aquarium going.
On the other hand, I don't dare import more critters until the construction next door is finished. I've been thinking, though, that I've been so entertained by the more active residents that I've almost completely ignored the plodding workhorses, the snails that aerate the sand and clean the algae off the glass. Maybe this is an opportunity to learn something more about them. So for starters, meet Sir Molasses.
|What's not to love about that face*?|
* Well, not exactly a face; the "eyes" you see and the "whiskers" are mouth and neck features. We're looking into his mouth. I've started on a video; watching a snail eat turns out to be surprising.