Friday, March 31, 2006

Singing to Get Off

So we got an obscene call the other day. Person called back after I said, "*@!% off" and hung up. Well, I let the answering machine get it - now please understand that to help me never to forget a friend who had died, I sing an obnoxious song and our current message is sung to the tune of "Darling Clementine".

Well apparently, our obscene caller was fairly desperate to be heard, so he sang into our answering machine. I am SOOOOOO sorry I didn't keep a copy for you to listen to - I mean, this guy literally had to sing to get his rocks off.

The other thing I'm truly sorry for? That inspiration didn't hit me during, and that I didn't pick up the phone mid-song and ask, "So! Do you have to sing for your supper too? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Wha, me attitude? Not Ossie the Octopus


This week was a nail-biter for Bratworse and I. On Sunday, the crabs seemed listless, Ossie didn't make an appearance and we got really worried.

For the next three days, we could see Ossie moving in her den, but never out nor showing any tentacles. I started doing daily water changes of 20% on Saturday, but the ammonia levels still remained high.

Sunday through Wednesday, every day, twice a day, I'd stare into her tank, removing any thing that might produce ammonia in hopes of trying to control the levels. Tuesday, I decided to leave the light on inside her tank while we were out in hopes that some bacteria would start growing. Tuesday, I also stopped the daily water changes.

Finally, Tuesday, I got the ammonia levels down to .25 but the nitrate levels were rising (seemed to have skipped the nitrite stage). But further good news occurred. Her tentacles batted away a nearby shrimp that was close to one of her entrances.

Both Bratworse and I breathed better that night and the next day, Bratworse saw her tentacles when she was cleaning out the tank.

However, we were most concerned because we couldn't really find any evidence of feeding. Yes, it seemed like the hermit crab population was dwindling, but was it because we couldn't find some of the crabs? Yes, the ghost shrimp we were putting in seemed to disappear too, but was it cause they were drowning and bristle worms were getting to them?

By Wednesday night, we had convinced ourselves that Ossie was doing worse, even though the levels of ammonia had remained at .25, the nitrate and nitrite wasn't rising and I was buffing the water to ensure the ph at above 8.0. Sad and disheartened we went to bed.

The next morning, after a little disturbance, we finally saw a tentacle, proving that she was alive. (It's amazing how pms will work to convince one of the worst possible scenario).

Last night, we had decided to buy some frozen shrimp since we weren't convinced she was hunting for herself (despite the fact that we can only find 7 of the 15 crabs). Bratworse hovered over the top of the tank for half an hour, holding a shrimp with chopsticks, near the various entrances of her den. Suddenly, she let out a shriek. "Ossie grabbed the shrimp!"

A tentacle had darted out, grabbed the shrimp and was trying to drag it down the crevice. Excitedly, Bratworse waited for a while, but the shrimp was too big for the hole. So, I took over, and got a smaller shrimp. Sure enough, Ossie grabbed that and pulled it into the hole as I tried to stuff it down.

10 minutes later, Bratworse got another shrimp and was waving it around the entrances. The older shrimp comes flying out the bottom entrance (we realized that that's her trash chute) and a tentacle reaches out and drags the new shrimp into a hole, effectively plugging it up.

Then when we put the older shrimp near the crevice again, a tentacle darts out, pulling that one into and plugging that hole up. As we continued watching, two tentacles came out the bottom hole, and pulled two shells over the entrances.

Well, that told us!

Laughing, we left her alone, feeling much better. Three hours later (after SEVERAL rounds on Fight Night Round 3), I went to go check on her. And there Ossie was, hanging in her crevice, giving me the eye. I shook Bratworse awake and we watched her hanging there for about 5 minutes before letting her sleep.

This morning, ph was down but everything else was the same. I will try to get some pictures this weekend.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

A New Addition

I know it's been a while since I wrote, but the world's been a bit discouraging, y'know? I mean, with a government that admits to law-breaking, and getting away with it, with all this injustice in the world, I just felt that if I kept writing about it, I'd just never stop being in a rage.

But this past week, something took me away from all that.

We have a new addition to the house: Ossie.

See her lurking there behind the rock near the glass? The eyes are on top and the mantle (a bulbous shape) is towards the bottom.

She's an octopus. Why did we get an octopus? Beats me. But we did end up with one, and we're loving every second of it. We've been having a bit of trouble getting the levels just right in the tank, but we're apparently doing something okay today.

One of the things I did this afternoon was let the sun hit the tank directly for about an hour. This seems to have stimulated some growth on the rocks which seems to have stimulated the crabs.

Another reason we think things are going to be okay is, we got to witness Ossie hunting!

After we had turned off the lights for about 1/2 hour, we decided to check on her. Bratworse went to use the flashlight, covered with red cellophane and discovered Ossie outside her den. I convinced her to turn on the inside lamp, which was still the red bulb and to our surprise, Ossie didn't budge. After about 20 minutes of observation, we think we figured out why she wasn't moving. She was munching on something - we think it was a snail that had been hanging out near her den.

Well, I tried to snap a few shots of her but one time, I left the flash on. Three seconds later, she was back in her den. We turned off the lights for about 15 minutes, then turned the red light back on, and found her poking her tentacles out of her rock playfully, as if to entice the ghost shrimp we had put in earlier. That trick didn't work as the ghost shrimp had found a safe haven in a little plastic cage ball I had put in for Ossie to play with.

As we watched, Ossie came out of her den to hang inside an enclave in her rock. From what we can tell, this is her favorite place to hang out, so to speak. She must've hung there for 40 minutes (yes, we watched the entire time) before deciding to move.

One of the things we had done was add backing to the back of the aquarium. She seems to have loved this. She glided along the back of the next rock until she reached an overhang I had set up. Slipping up the back, she perched there, tentatively reaching a tentacle out to inspect the plastic cage ball. A shrimp hung near the top of the ball, seemingly oblivious to her presence.

Ossie gripped the ball with one tentacle, then struck at the shrimp at the top of the ball. Twice, she attempted this, but both times, the ball thwarted the attempt. She flung the ball away from the rock so that it could float around the tank (it had been hung up by the top of the overhang, thus giving the shrimp a stable haven).

For a while, Ossie perched behind the overhang, waiting for the shrimp to swim by. One shrimp found safety above the pump; the other swam with the floating ball. At times, the shrimp would swim close to where Ossie was waiting to spring into action but never stayed long enough or near enough for her to strike. She moved closer to the top of the overhang but by the time she was near the tip, the floating ball had gotten hung up near the pump.

To my eyes, it looked as if one of the shrimp was actively swimming to hold the ball in place.

With both shrimp hovering safely out of reach at the water pump, it seemed Ossie reached the end of her patience. She glided along the back wall, then lept for the side of the pump. A strike of the tentacles was followed by a brief struggle, then Ossie swam back to the overhang with two quick flicks of her mantle.

Bratworse and I quickly assessed the situation. One of the shrimp was still safely on top of the water pump. The other was swimming around the top of the now freed ball. It seemed it was three strikes and Ossie was out.

Ossie didn't even bother to slide along the rocks. It definitely looked as if she was miffed and was stalking off along the back wall towards her den. She hung in her crevice for a few seconds, then slid insided her den. Bratworse was about to turn off the lights when I said wait a few.

Sure enough, our sulking Ossie slid back out, and hung in her crevice for about 10 minutes. Then she went to hang out back and that's where the photo comes from. A few minutes after the photo, we decided to leave her alone.

There are plenty of crabs for her to eat. It seems that she has taken to grabbing all the crabs and throwing them into a corner. How else to explain that when we turn off the lights, they are scattered, and when we wake up, they are stacked in the corner. Alive, but stacked.

She seems to be enjoying herself for now. I had the eeriest feeling, she was watching me as much as I was watching her, and that somehow, we had passed the test.

Will keep you all updated.


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