When I moved into the apartment, I got mysefl a 15 gallon (~58 Litre) tank and a “Baker’s Dozen Plus One” collection of humble ‘breeder guppies’. (they are grey and do not have fancy tails, but are still nice fish.) I also picked up two male FancyTail guppies, in order to do a bit of genetic experimentation to see how the progeny of these fish start looknig after a few generations. FOR SCIENCE! 🙂
After a few weeks, I realized guppies prefer to be top feeders, so I wanted something for the bottom of the tank. Since it was winter and starting to glaze over every pond and stream, I couldn’t use my usual go-to tiny crayfish/crawdad from the nearby swimming hole. The Sprogling chose Crabs instead. Fiddler Crabs, to be specific, from the pet store that is within walknig distance, on the same block as the apartment.
The first two crabs we got, died within two days. Lesson learned. They need a heater in the tank. 63F is far too chilly for these semi-tropical crustaceans.
We gathered the bodies of the deceased, and tried to position them in as natural a pose as possible, since rigor had set in. The goal (of the sprogling) is to preserve and glaze these tiny quarter-sized shells for strength and stability, then use them as GIANT CRAB tokens/miniatures for our D&D game. ❤
After culturing the water, conditioning the water, and letting the newly topped off water sit for a few days with no apparent effect on the fish, we went to get three more crabs. Two males with big Claws, and one female. (Sprogling has a dream to be breeding crabs in the tank to sell to his friends, hehehe) We named them Crabby, Crabette, and Kay-rab.
Ten hours later, both male crabs were sitting upside down on the bottom of the tank, drifting in the current of the filter. The female was wedged under a the castle-decoration, but upright. GRRRR!!!!
I carefully reached in to collect the next set of bodies, when I realized one was still alive. Feeble, and not very responsive, but alive. I placed it carefully on the top of the rock they climb out on, and it settled slooowly, feebly at the water’s edge, partially sibmerged, but ‘breathing’ and moving it’s little claw around. The other flopped havily in my hand, loose as an empty sack of grain. That one got positioned with the first two corpses to dry and prepare in a few days. (The female is alive, running around in the evenings, they appear to be mainly nocternal)
A full day goes by, and sprogling comes over to play, and checks out the crabs. I went to pick up the most recent and most dramatic of the corpses (perfectly positioned for display, and huge claw!). It twitched!
I picked it up again and it tried to crawl off my hand slowly. So, we put it back in the water’s edge where it remains as of this morning before work. If you reach towards it, the legs move. The eye-stalks vaguely lean away. The thig’s still alive, against the odds, but not really “active” in any sense of the word.
So, we’ve decided it’s either *folds hand across tummy in beatific choir pose and in soft child-like voice* …A holiday miracle… Or, more enjoyably: “The Zombie KRAB!”
Time will tell if the thing survives for a few more days.
The other male/female seem to have made it over the hump and are scuttling along nicely again.
… ZOMBIE KRAB! 😉
(yes, I had contacted the pet store, they are stumped, suggesting either check the temp of the water, or PH, or make sure I let any tap water sit for 24-48 hours to leech any chlorine… I do that, have had aquariums and reptiles and critters for years… but if the fish are fine, they don’t know why it would hurt the crabs, they use the same water in their tanks. Sadly, they do not have a 3-day alive guarentee or such. alas.)