The Post – So How Are the Fiddlers Doing and How Did the Status Quo Experiment Go?

I know I haven’t spoken about the fiddlers in a while, so I thought an update was due. First, I can attest that Scarlett O’Hara, Melanie Hamilton, and Admiral Byrd are all alive well, and hanging out in their aquarium. I know this because I just did a major water and filter change and all three are out and about. Melanie Hamilton is just sitting there bobbing in the water staring out the front of the aquarium, which is remarkable because most of the time, Melanie Hamilton still likes to live inside the live rock. But today, she is out watching out the side of the aquarium.

Scarlett O’Hara is busy pulling algae off the live rock and aquarium sides, and in general, just walking and eating. She is not pregnant, and I noticed last week that she had released her eggs into the main aquarium just about the time I left for a family wedding. Melanie Hamilton is also not pregnant, and she did manage to evade Admiral Byrd’s advances this morning during the water change.  Admiral Byrd is his usual old self, waving his claw and generally trying to attract women.

Now, I did hesitate to do the water change just in case there were any “survivors” of the birth, ie Scarlett releasing eggs into the tank last week. And maybe it’s wishful thinking, but when I pulled some water out of the tank to discard, I thought I saw small things swimming around the cup. While I suppose it’s just me hoping some baby survived and might still make it to adulthood in the main tank, I suspect that’s not the case. But just to be on the safe side, I did pour that cup of water back into the tank.

Given all the chaos of trying to do 2 rounds of babies in the second tank, I’d let the water change in this main tank go for 2 months instead of one. Here is where having a mature aquarium pays off though. In spite of the fact the water was down a gallon and the filter and water were a month overdue, the parameters read: Nitrate 20, Nitrite 0, Hardness >300, Chlorine 0, Alkalinity 300, pH 7.8 and even with the water low and expecting to see the salinity rise because of that, the salinity held at 1.012. So all in all, that tank water was in good shape.

In any event, I removed almost a gallon and replaced it with new brackish water. The final set of parameters after a water change were almost identical. The only differences were that the pH is now 8.0 and the salinity is 1.011.

And apparently all three fiddlers were okay with that because other than being annoyed every time I leaned in to either remove or add water to the tank, they remained calm and just continued searching for food (or women) when I was all finished.

The spare tank I have left alone since the last of the babies died off from the second attempt. What I’ll do next (as soon as I’ve managed to make some more distilled water), is to lower the salinity in that tank back down to brackish. Then I will try out the idea from an article on a UK website: fishless cycliing, ie – getting the nitrogen cycle up, running, and matured, without any live creatures in the tank. Perhaps if I can achieve this, then the next time Scarlett O’Hara ends up pregnant, I will put her in this second aquarium to release her eggs, then leave it brackish and see if the babies survive better than when I raise the salinity to seawater level.

The other thing I have to do with that tank is get rid of the wand bubble on the back tank wall and get one or two more bubbling stones. They seem to put a lot more oxygen in the tank and move the water around better than that wand bubbler. In fact, half of that bubbler wand doesn’t even work anymore. I think once micro algae starts to grow on the wand, the bubble curtain is just too weak and fine to push out past the algae and the wand stops bubbling.

So – bottom line: Scarlett, Melanie, and Admiral Byrd are all present, non-pregnant, accounted for, and appear to be healthy. Their tank is in good shape. Perhaps a baby or two survived (or I’m wishfully hallucinating), but I will continue to watch to see if in fact, any tiny crabs do appear over the next few weeks. I’ll keep you posted!

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