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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Aquatic Goodness: Pet Crayfish T-Minus…

Posted in Decapods!, Nature on July 12th, 2010 by badhex

Well, as it appears topical at the moment and my last aquatic post did so well (my blog got over 4,000  hits for the 24 hours it was featured on freshly pressed – thanks guys!) I thought I’d carry on in the same vein.

As I mentioned before, I’d really like to get a pet Octopus but from the research I have done, it seems like a lot of hard work, expense and messing about – not to mention the short life span of small Octopodes. So, instead, I have opted for my second most wanted aquatic pet: a Crayfish.

There is of course the first question to get out of the way: Why a crayfish? Most people think I’m a little weird for this. I’m fascinated by underwater life, and nature in general; throughout my entire life, David Attenborough has been the golden-voiced guide in my quest for knowledge of the natural world. I will probably never meet him, which saddens me somewhat, but I will always remember what he has taught me. Endless evenings and lazy Sundays have been whiled away in front of my 50″ television, basking in the glory of expertly delivered facts.

Forgive me, I digress. So insects and crustaceans have, to me, always been nature’s robots – another subject for which I have an extreme fascination – but I had not ever really considered having one as a pet, until the arrival of Colin McCrayfish. Colin deserves a post of his very own, but that’s another story for another day. Rest assured however, I learnt a lot on the subject of keeping Crayfish as pets.

Basically in the UK, there’s only one type we can keep, aside from our native ones, and that is the Red Claw Crayfish, Cherax quadricarinatus, pictured above.

As you can see, they are pretty little buggers.

I’ve started the setup for my tank as it needs to have matured for 2-4 weeks before it will be ready. Here’s a few pictures of it before and during setup:

I hope he/she will like it. I may have to reorganise as and when he or she turns up, depending on how suitable the current setup turns out. Trial and error, I guess. The tank maturing process is quite interesting; I’ve added the ‘good’ bacteria, and definitely seen a bacteria bloom in the last few days. Apparently, that’s all the good bacteria and the bad bacteria having a fight. I wish I could see this epic biological battle! Despite the fact that my vision isn’t microscopic, I can’t help but keep peering in!

So, aside from checking the pH, Ammonia and Nitrate levels and some other bits, I just have to wait – then I can order my Red Claw. I’m going to keep checking over the next few weeks, but provided nothing disastrous happens, I’m plumping for 3 weeks. I’ll keep you updated, and I’m sure to be banging on about it on twitter.

I suppose that gives me plenty of time to think of a name… suggestions on a postcard! (or comment box)

Meanwhile, have a look at a young Red Claw:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gymdHGd0Ckk]

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