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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lobster dinner

To make life more exciting for my pair of goldfish (Ms. E calls it "Pure evil."), I recently purchased a pair of Cherax Blue Crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus). Resembling miniature lobsters, they are sometimes called Blue (freshwater) Lobsters.

One of them is in Hell tearing Jerry Falwell a new one in heaven right now. I didn't know that Blue Crayfish are escape artists. They also can only breathe through their gills. Not a very good combination for life in an aquarium. Silly dead critter.

The remaining crayfish molted:

Here's the molt. It was originally blue. When it dried, it turned red. I guess a clue that it is a molt and not a dead crayfish is the absence of eye stalks.

Two nights ago, I was looking at the tank when I noticed a crumpled heap in a corner of the tank. Picking it up, I sighed, "Pinchy is dead too? Oh well, so much for keeping freshwater crustaceans..." A few hours later, Pinchy emerged from her (yes, it is a female) cave as if to say, "Ah ha! Gotcha! Did you miss me?"

You are normally not supposed to remove the molt as the crustacean consumes it over the course of the next few days to reclaim calcium for its new shell; but it's okay, I traded Pinchy's molt for some (sterilized) chicken egg shells.

Crayfish can double their size in between molting:

This is someone else's crayfish, but Pinchy is approximately this size now. As her namesake suggests, however, Pinchy does not readily take to handling.

With Pinchy's increase in size — and consequent longer reach, rather than occasionally harassing the goldfish when they swim past her lair, she began to pose a real threat to them. As I was having my breakfast this morning, I noticed a large patch of orange wedged in the mouth of Pinchy's cave. I thought it odd that my Dad would feed my crayfish a carrot:

BEN:  Hey, Dad, did you feed my crayfish a carrot?

DAD:  Eh? Carrot? No, we have no carrots.

BEN [looks closer at Pinchy's cave]: Argh! That's no carrot! That's one of my goldfish! WTF! Where's the net? Where's the net? Get me the net!

DAD [chuckles and continues looking at Suzanne Jung watching morning prime time news]

MOM:  I told you. Your brother told you. You can't keep lobsters with goldfish! You are so evil!

BEN [freeing the goldfish from Pinchy's pincers]: Pinchy, you @&#*!!!

Except for a few shredded fins, the goldfish seems none the worse for wear. If it survives till the end of the week, it should be okay. Pinchy is now sequestered to a temporary tank. When I get her a larger tank, I will get some guppies for her to "play" with.

Pinchy is still growing. Someday, she might even reach this size. Maybe I will bring her for a dip in my brother's bathtub then   :-P


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