Friday, February 27, 2009

Quest for Atyopsis moluccensis-Singapore wood shrimp offspring- Day 7

I lost a mollie this morning.

To follow up, I had in mind to get several sail fin mollies at the local pet store. The plan was to use them to keep the holding tanks cycled, then, once the shrimp have hatched and are ready to move into the salt, move the mollies into the 20 gallon aquarium downstairs. The state of affairs at the pet store was atrocious. I was at first annoyed that they had one molly- count them- one “Balloon Mollie.” Then, as I looked around, wondering if they had anything else that could tolerate salt, I saw just about every manner, save anchor worms of fish disease known to mankind. The place should be shut down.

So I drove the extra 15 miles to the sister store in Snohomish. These tanks, too, were despicable, but not quite as many diseased fish. I found the tank of mollies. Dalmatians, mostly, and a few cross-breeds. I really needed these fish. But I couldn’t bring myself to buy them until I had inspected the pluming in the tanks and verified they were each individually operated, and not connected by common plumbing.

It took a lot longer to move the mollies to salt than I would have imagined. Not being a salt-water tanker, I had no idea, really, how much salt is in salt water. I started by super-saturating about a pint of water, and added a couple of tablespoons at a time to the bucket with 2 gals of water. I did this every 15 minutes, Much to my chagrin, this barely moved the hydrometer at all. After 3-4 hours like this, I started upping the dosage to about 4 tablespoons at a time. When I finally got to 17 ppt, and moved one molly then into the Brackish jar, I removed over half the water in the bucket. Seemed like a terrible waste of salt, and I really wanted to get the mollies into the tank so they didn’t have to spend another night in a bucket with an air-stone.

It was about 5 pm when I finally got them up to 30 ppt and got them into the tank. They seemed okay, was happy to eat, and their posture was good. This morning when I turned the light on, I didn’t see the dead one, but it is possible it had already died, my visual processing isn’t too good before coffee. When I came into the office, it was dead. A second in the salt tank looked like it was knocking on deaths door, swinging from side to side. Clearly under distress. The third looked fine. The one in brackish water looked fine, and the two in the System 3 fresh tank were also fine.

I thought about it for a couple of hours, and decided to move the salt level down. I finally reasoned that it was more important to get the tanks cycled good than to have the salt at 30ppt, since I would have to be acclimating larval shrimp anyway. So I drained out about half a gallon, and stated adding fresh water in. By about noon, I got the salt down to 23 ppt. An hour later the fish stopped that sad side-to-side motion, and started calming down, fins not so clamped and so on. By this evening, the two fished behaved relatively the same.

It makes me wonder whether the Singapore Wood Shrimp Larvae will tolerate full salt or not. I sure hope they’re big enough to see and watch, and siphon.

Meanwhile, the excellent new is that after my terrible experience with the local Pet Stores, I called Blue Sierra in Issaquah and asked about plankton. The man was very knowledgeable, and willing to talk through the issue. While it’s an hours’ drive each way from here, Angie works just a few blocks from there. We finally decided on 2 products. First called Cyclop-eeze ( The Pet store fella said it had sizes 15-800 micron. The package however says average size 800 micron, and the website says 800-1200 microns. So I’m going to have to look into that. (Suddenly I’m not feeling so comfortable). It says Freeze-Dried CYCLOP-EEZE® may be sized to the desired range by rubbing over the appropriate mesh screening. Naturally I have the frozen kind, but imagine I can figure out something.

The second product is called Concentrated Phyto Feast, which he said is a live algae. I am hoping between the two, there will be a wide range of feeding opportunities. Info on Phyto feast says :algae we use in Phyto-Feast: Isochrysis, Pavlova, Tetraselmis, Thalassiosira and Nannochloropsis. * Wide nutritional diversity - Phyto-Feast" contains golden-brown, green, yellow-green, blue-green and brown algae.”

And I also have brine shrimp eggs.

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