Bad News about Good Crabs

Posted in Decapods!, Nature, neverbeengood on October 28th, 2010 by badhex

I’m sad to say that poor Nebula passed away just after a moult last Saturday. A shame, he was looking like a right bruiser after this latest moult, his claws were huge. I’m not sure there’s a lot I have done wrong, hopefully it’s just bad luck. I’ve kept the tank cycling so I don’t have to start again, but I’m just decided what to do/where to go next. I might get another, maybe a few biggish shrimp too. Either way, I need a little time to have a think.

On another note, I’m sorry for my lack of posting, I have been quite busy of late, but I do have a few posts lined up. Maybe I will have one ready to post again tonight.

R.I.P. Nebula

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Pulsar Is Dead; Long Live Nebula

Posted in Decapods!, Nature, neverbeengood on August 27th, 2010 by badhex

I’m really sad to inform you that over the last weekend, Pulsar, the smallest of my two crabs, unfortunately died.

I’m not sure what exactly was the cause, whether it was stress from attempting to moult, crab battles or just nature winning over. I was quite upset at the time, but I guess it’s just nature. He seemed to be doing much better, but he must have given up the ghost sometime about midday. He will definitely be missed; he was my favourite, the poor little bugger.

What I will do in the future with regards to tank occupants I’m not sure, but I think I’ll have to leave it a little bit first either way.

That’s all for now.

Peace

:(

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Being A Crabdad Isn’t As Easy As It Sounds & An Apology

Posted in Decapods!, Nature on August 13th, 2010 by badhex

I have to admit, I’ve been a little bit lame with new posts recently. I apologise, but I have been busy! We’re still friends, right? Good. Secondly, I have to assure you that despite this post being about Crabs again, my blog is going to have other things on it too! I promise. I’ve got a couple of gaming related posts to come, and a certain person has promised me a gaming laptop to review – so I really hope that comes through.

Well anyway, after a couple of nail-biting weeks of thrill and suspense, things have started to settle down a bit at Crabby HQ. If you have not read my other recent crustacean related posts then you might be a bit nonplussed, so go read ’em!

Since my last update I’ve most definitely been educated, and it’s been distressing, to tell you the truth. As you know, I was told to leave my new tank to mature for between 2-4 weeks, by several sources. Turns out that was cobblers. As were a lot of other things I have been told. It also turns out, you can’t even trust half of the LFS (Local Fish Stores. See? I’m getting the lingo!), which I guess is understandable (but still not good) given that they just want to sell you stuff. So the internet is full of lies, and supposed experts are full of lies, so what’s a boy to do? Well, get on some good forums (like Fishkeeping.co.uk and Practical Fishkeeping), and find expensive (but knowledgable) LFS, is what.

Basically, after getting them, I noticed a sharp raise in Nitrites (NO2) and Nitrates (NO3), whereas before getting them it was very low level. For those not familiar with the aquarium nitrogen cycle, this is bad. So, I hoped this would be maybe just a little spike, but I turned out not to be so lucky. After consulting said forums and knowledgable LFS, it appeared that my tank had not cycled properly, which means the water quality wasn’t good for my little beclawed friends. In fact, many people have said that keeping aquariums is not about keeping animals themselves, it’s about balancing water chemistry. So having already given them a home, the only option was to wait for the tank to complete its cycle while they were actually in there, doing partial water changes every day, continuing to test and treat the water, and keeping it as clean as possible.

I felt really bad. Some people probably can’t understand this, and might think “Well, they’re only crabs” – but it’s just not the way my head works. I’ve become attached to them both very quickly, they are absolutely fascinating and I have found myself just gazing into the tank for ages, watching them going about their crabby business. I genuinely wish that it were possible to communicate with them.

So during the worry of all of this, I encountered another issue.

Fighting.

I’ve determined recently that they are both male – which does make my writing easier – but has issues of its own. Pulsar, the one with the missing leg, looks at first glance only slightly smaller than Nebula – but that is from a human’s perspective. I really did try to get two that were about the same size, but relatively speaking, the difference is probably more akin to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito. So, inevitably Nebula bullies Pulsar to the point of  having lopped off two more of his legs – a fact I’m not too happy about. Nature is indeed a harsh mistress. The two legs Nebula has taken off are also on the same side as Pulsar has one missing already, so now he’s down to only one leg and a claw on that side. I stayed over at Clare’s for a day, and I honestly was half expecting to come back and find Pulsar belly up with no limbs left, but in this matter (so far at least),  I have been pleasantly proven wrong. In fact, when I got back,  for a crab with 30% of his limbs missing he was doing a remarkably good impression of an acrobat, hanging upside down on the piece of wood I have in there. He also likes chilling in the pretend plant,  opening up his tail flap on the underside of his abdomen. I’m not entirely sure what this behaviour is, but for now I’m just assuming that it’s the crabby equivalent of getting your balls out.

Well, fast forward to last Saturday, and I got my first completely clear reading in terms of NO2 and NO3 in the tank, which was obviously great news. After some rearranging of the tank, there are plenty of places to hide, and it looks a little like Pulsar has learnt to keep away from his bullying big brother. With a bit of luck, Pulsar will get his legs back over time when he moults, a process which is as disgusting as it is amazing.

Right, enough from me. I’ve added more photos to the Crabbage! flickr set, and there are more to come. As usual I can be found ranting away on twitter.

Peace out, crablings.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, I arrived home to find that Nebula has moulted! Now he’s even bigger than he was before! Let’s hope Pulsar catches up soon. Photos in the flickr set.

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March of the Crabs!

Posted in Decapods!, Nature, Space on July 26th, 2010 by badhex

Well, it’s finally happened. I’ve got crabs.

‘Ho ho ho,’ I hear you cry, ‘ever the comedian’. No, not the nasty little ones associated with nefarious ladies of the night of course, but two little Red Claw Crabs,  as previously mentioned. I was originally going to get just the one and name it Nebula, but I didn’t want him/her to be lonely so I got another, called it Pulsar.

I haven’t found out their sex yet, I need to see their underbelly but they’ve not really sat in the right place yet. I really need to find out soon thought because typing him/her every time is a pain the arse, frankly.

Anyhoo, meet Nebula:

I don’t currently have any pictures of Pulsar that I can upload, the crafty little bugger ran off and hid for the whole time I was taking photos.  I think they were a bit stressed from the move, but then they both seemed to liven up a bit after a couple of hours in their new home. Pulsar is a little smaller than Nebula and I didn’t realise till I’d gotten home, but he/she’s missing a back leg – hopefully it’ll grow it back after a couple of molts.

They relished the half a frozen mussel I gave them to munch, tearing it to bits with great gusto. I can’t wait to feed them tonight. There’s also a dry food the shop recommended called Crab Cuisine, but Clare and I keep wanting to call it Crab Crunch, the tasty new cereal for Crabs™. Let’s see how that goes down.

Anyway, there will be more crazy crustacean antics I’m sure, so I’ll keep you updated – and you can also follow me on twitter. I’ve posted a new set on flickr which has about ten photos in so far, and here for your delectation and delight is a video of Nebula eating. I defy you to think he’s not cute!

Laters.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idn5t74Vl0o]

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Crustacea Update; Space Is Cool

Posted in Decapods!, Nature, Space on July 22nd, 2010 by badhex

Well, shit.

It looks like I can’t have a crayfish after all. Fear ye not, my blog-reading friends, for I am resolved in my decapod devoted deeds. There will be exoskeletal life in this tank yet!

I’m getting a crab, and I’m gonna call it Nebula.

I’ve done my research, as you would expect, and with pretty minor adjustments to my tank (i.e. making it of a tropical temperature, brackish and semi aquatic) I can get  (ironically) a Red Claw Crab, Pseudosesarma moeshi, AKA Perisesarma bidens.

Turns out these crafty little buggers are just about the right size for my tank, and by most people’s estimations make great pets, albeit great escapologists. Not only that, I can procure one from the pet shop round the corner from me. I’m also looking into the possibility of some little shrimp of some description – being detrivores they’re very good as an aquatic cleaning crew.  That in mind, surely I’ve got to call them Stoppit and Tidyup?!

So my spoiling for the shelled ones will soon be realised. I’m mega excited! Hopefully I’ll get him/her this Saturday, I do need  to get one or two more bits before I do but in general I’m pretty much set.

For those of you who don’t understand the relevance of the name (and all you astronomy lovers), here’s a few factoids:

  1. The Crab Nebula is a nebula formed from the supernova SN 1054 which occurred, surprisingly, in the year 1054 and was named for its crab-like appearance.
  2. The supernova event was seen from earth and recorded by Chinese, Japanese, Native American, and Persian/Arab astronomers. It is believed that the Anasazi recorded the event in a cliff painting called Supernova Platograph
  3. At the heart of the Crab Nebula lies the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star around 12 miles in diameter which rotates about 30.2 times a second. It’s also very pretty.
  4. The Crab nebula is often used to calibrate X-Ray astronomy detectors – as a result, ‘crab’ and ‘millicrab’ are sometimes used as units of flux density. I don’t know what flux density is, but wikipedia gives me the awesome, awesome news that “very few X-ray sources ever exceed one crab in brightness“.

Anyway – enough rambling from me. You’ll no doubt see some photos soon enough!

Peace.

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