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.



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