Monday, August 07, 2017

Anemones doing what anemones do.

(This one's for Lucy.)

Living with sea creatures especially invertebrates, there's a routine: chill, feed, clean, chill, change water, clean, feed, chill, change filters, chill ... After a few years, it becomes almost mindless, a chore like washing the dishes or sweeping the floor. It could lead to boredom.

Except: day after day, as I watch, there's always something new to learn. Even apparently passive beasties, like anemones, have their likes and dislikes; they get grumpy if things are not just right; they wave enthusiastic approval when life is good.

Pink-tipped green anemones, two days ago. Today, the one on the left is twice as long; she's splitting into two.

The small colony of these pink anemones has been multiplying since I started hand feeding them, rather than letting the water bring them goodies. Out in the ocean, they congregate in the cracks at the base of rocks, where detritus brought in by the tide gets trapped. In my tank, since it gets cleaned out regularly, there are no wonderful treasure troves, and the current sweeps good food right past their open mouths, too fast to be grabbed; they survived here, but they didn't grow or multiply. Now they do. And their colours are brighter. They're happy!

They like the hermit crabs' shrimp pellets, so I have to feed them twice or three times each day; once or twice, and the hermits steal the pellets out of their mouths, even though they (the hermits) have already been fed. (They're greedy little things, and someone else's food is always preferable to what they already have in hand.) By the third mouthful, the anemones are usually allowed to swallow.

If you look closely at the space in between them, on the old oyster shell, there's a spot with a back-and-forth pattern; snail or maybe limpet scrapings.

The oyster shell is ridged or layered, as in the area at the top; this bottom pattern is new.

The big burrowing anemone has her own quirks.

My burrowing anemone, fishing for plankton. She also likes shrimp pellets, and waves her tentacles enthusiastically for two days after a good feed. Then she hunkers down and sulks until I change and chill the water again.

Bits of shell, grains of sand, and random "stuff" stick to the anemone's column. Small hermit crabs, assorted snails, and courting amphipods like to hide around the base, but never seem to get stuck. Or stung. (Crabs do get stung. She's not a friend to crabs.) I've never seen a limpet touch her.

The greenish yellow spots are algae growing on the glass, not on the anemone itself. No matter how often I scrape them off, they're always there.


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