Monday, August 22, 2016

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...

While I've been poking around weedy fields and stony beaches, life goes on apace in my aquarium. Snails are laying eggs, the amphipods are pairing up, and the anemones splitting up. (That's fine; that's how they multiply.) I counted 39 hermit crabs tonight, when I changed their water. About a third are youngsters; some are barely pinhead size - a small pinhead, at that. And there are two new crabs, a couple of millimetres across the carapace.

I've begun to bring in water from the shores at high tide again, instead of using the commercial aquarium salt and filtered water, since I learned that the local aquarium is using water from their doorstep. And my animals are much happier! Their colours are brighter, they're more active, a few that were damaged by the marauding crabs have recovered. The commercial salt has (probably) all the minerals and trace elements sea creatures need, but it's all dead stuff. Sea water is alive; it's swarming with planktonic plants and animals, the base of all marine food webs. And so is my aquarium, now.

Limpet on the glass, scraping away at spots of green algae. The pointed extension is its gill. And the bright green tube just inside the shell is limpet poop, digested algae.

A small chiton, about an inch long. It arrived on a rock with barnacles for my snails.

Another recent addition. The crabs ate his companion before they were deported.

Several small anemones have appeared in the tank. This one, I think, is an orange-striped green anemone, well to the back of the tank on the old abalone shell.

That limpet again, still eating, with its antennae extended; celebrating that wonderful feed coming up!

Down at the beach, looking for water, I took this next photo. The incoming tide usually is carrying something: driftwood, ripped up eelgrass, long kelp whips, scraps of sea lettuce, and this last week, hundreds of lions' mane and moon jellies. This time, the algae was the colour of yellowed sea lettuce, but instead of sheets, it was a thick paste, with thicker blobs.

Green scum, unidentified algae.

I waded in and collected my two gallons of water, pushing aside the algae. It was fine; my anemones received it with enthusiastically waving tentacles.

1 comment:

  1. The beach is your local Whole Foods. Everything they need. I love the adventures of your aquarium.


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