Monday, June 30, 2008

My precious pets

I haven't posted in a while, so I wanted to update you all friends and family with images of my precious desk mates: Fatty and Ebi-Sue. Fatty is a nothobranchius guentheri killifish, and Ebi-Sue is an amano shrimp with a ton of personality.

Fatty likes:
-worms
-fresh water top-off's
-chasing CO2 bubbles from the counter
-begging for worms

Ebi-Sue likes:
-to eat pretty much anything, from bad algae, to Fatty's poop
-baby brine shrimp (which could be construed as cannibalism, I suppose)
-to hide under the driftwood
-to molt as often as possible

My aquarium is a small desktop open top aquarium. I have planted the crap out of it, so it's pretty low maintenance. I used to think keeping an aquarium was hard work and always ended up with dead fish, but my AD Ken taught me better. Actually, the easiest way to keep an aquarium is a live one, with real dirt, real rocks, and real plants. Establishing it takes a bit of time, and a little bit of effort and research, but once things are going, it is the most rewarding experience to watch this little ecosystem maintain itself. I have a small heater, a filter which I have to clean up and change media on once a month, a clamp-on lamp with an upgraded daylight bulb, and a CO2 chamber where a yeast and sugar "brew" ensures a month and a half's steady supply of CO2 bubbles which feed the plants. I fertilize the water with Flourish once a week, and the plants are thriving. I can often see thousands of little oxygen bubbles rising from them. I practically haven't had to buy any plants, since water plants seem to spread much more readily than earth ones. I started with a small anubias, which I got from Ken, which he just chopped off his larger anubias, and some clover from Ken also. I bought the longish bamboo-like plant in the background, which I basically spread over the course of five months by cutting bits and replanting. It now covers the whole back of the aquarium and it's lush and green. Ebi-Sue loves hiding in there. Finally, Ken gave me some moss, and a bulb which sprouted a beautiful water lily.
It has brought me great joy to grow this water garden. There is something extremely zen about watching something spread and grow and live harmoniously.
At some point, I must have gotten a batch of snail eggs hiding ninja-like in one of the plants, because now I have hundreds of them. They are beneficial, however, since they graze the plants and eat the algae. Sometimes I can see dozens of them on the driftwood and I think of cattle on a field...I feel like a proud snail farmer.
Do Ken and I get any artwork done? yes, in between fish cleaning and feeding we do. :)

Here are the pictures: