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dickey_moe

Enjoying My Little Shell Dwellers

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Yes, the auctioneer was amazing. He kept up his enthusiasm for 4 hours!! I'm sure I would have got tired after the 10th bag of javamoss. (there were bags and bags of it).

This auction was a great resource for hard to find stuff. For foods especially. There were several starter cultures for vinegar eels, artemesia, red worms, white worms, and daphnia.

On the other hand there were icky gross old used filters and heaters and such. Not sure I would touch those with a ten foot pole.

A good auction! and I'm sure it raised alot of money for the club. :D

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I have just finished reading this entire thread :popcorn and I must say it is certainly the most entertaining one on Koko's!

I was in stiches at times and was really informed by the whole shell-dweller saga and random snippets of info.

Very well done, and please keep us informed!

I am seriously considering keeping these fish in the near future. When I'm older, instead of the the cat lady, I'm gunna be the fish lady.... :stars

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I'm glad you enjoyed it! I would say that Shellies are a great starter Cichlid, they are clean and easy to keep. Not to mention entertaining! I never get tired of looking in on them to see what they are up to. :)

Thanks for reading!! :D

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Oh, a quick note on the auction.....There was something there that I have never seen before: A couple of fishtanks with metal frames and slate bottoms! a couple of very heavy antiques! :D

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What would be interesting is to see the very first fish tank ever made :) I wonder what it looked like.

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What would be interesting is to see the very first fish tank ever made :) I wonder what it looked like.

I think I read somewhere that the Chinese first put goldfish in porcelin containers much like what we would consider vases. They were painted on the outside with...what else.....GOLDFISH! But this makes sense because the Chinese (then and now) prefer to view their goldies from above.

Edited by ryukin girl

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Fry lift number two is now concluded! I took about 20 (maybe more since the tiny little buggers have been doubling up lately) and that is only about half of the fry in the tank! Mumsy truly outdid herself with this last enormous spawn.

Now the babies will have plenty of room to move into new shells and give their poor parents a break. I did this right on time, Mumsy and Rickey are beginning to target fry in their territory and are attacking them like they always do in an effort to drive them out.

At this moment, there are fewer shells in the fry end of the tank since I took alot out. I have to sterilize a new bag and put them in. I am going to put in about 24 new ones. I had put 24 shells into the grow-out tank, but thought better of it since I would also be putting the shells that I took out of the old tank in there. So, I took a few out and was just getting ready to throw the water out when a tiny little head peeked out at me. That was one fast little fry! Those new shells were only in the water for a few minutes and he claimed his. Of course I put the shells back in, I don't want to risk missing one little fry. :o

That is also the reason that I didn't try to de-shell them. Normally I like to start fresh with all new clean shells, so i de-shell the fish and let them find a new home among the shells in the bottom of the grow out tank. But with them rooming together I cant be sure I have got all the fish out since the really small ones are most likely to stay in the shell longer than the bigger ones. So, for better or worse the shells all covered with algae are in the new tank. :(

I am always amazed at how hardy these fish are. I have to confess now to a stupid mistake, one that could have cost me all of the fry I just moved.

When I move the fry, I put them in a bucket to clean off the shells and get the extra sand out before I put them into the new tank. I usually use some of the tank water that i mixed up for them, that way the ph is matched and it is safe. This time I absentmindedly just used tap water that i had enough good sense to dechlorinate. YIKES! the ph from my tap is 7.4 and my fish are kept in 8.2!!! that means that for the whole time that I was cleaning them, they were in a ph far too low for them! It was also too cold, since I hadn't bothered with the temp. either.

When I realized this, I got them into the tank as fast as possible, hoping that the rise in ph wouldn't harm them ( I know with goldies, when you make a mistake with sudden low ph it is best for the fish to raise it back up as fast as possible) All I could do was cross my fingers and wait. Sure enough, a few brave souls ventured out after an hour or so, and there were some mental patients skidding around in a panic in the crevices. Now they are all out and learning to adjust to their new surroundings. =WHEW= disaster averted. I don't think I lost anyone, though a head count won't be possible for about a week or so, and by then the mental patients will have found a shell and stopped hiding.

So, who's left in the big tank? Mumsy (who will probably be in a breeding frenzy since I changed the water) Rickey of course, Patty, Selma, Brad, Nanjan,

Angelina, Bart, and Ten. Both Marcia and Cindy were transported, and there are about 5 good sized fry that escaped me because they had smaller fry with them. :D

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Official headcount: 21 Safe and healthy fry :D

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Breeding frenzy has concluded.. (she must have been working on it before the water change ) :)

Mumsy has brought another shell's worth of babies into the world. I am counting only about 6 consistently. Don't know for sure if there are another 40 in the very back of the shell or not. :o time will tell. She hatched them in her usual baby shell.

I am starting to wonder why there are no other babies in the tank? ( be careful what I wish for!) Why has NanJan had none? She is surely mature by now. She is as big as Mumsy.

Is she a boy? is Bart a girl? bah! they drive me nuts.

I still think of Bart as a boy. He has that heaviness in his jaw. He and Brad do not fight, even though they live closely together... and he is surely old enough to be a threat. He likes to "patrol" in Brad's area. He must be "Senior Toady on Duty"

Nanjan keeps to herself in the fry area. She doesn't seem to be claimed by anyone, and is content to herd her toadies around.

Selma is very mobile and seems to go everywhere. She is also as fascinated with the scallop shell as Brad is.

Also puzzling: Why is there no fry in Eastwood's tank? He is all by himself with two girlies.

Brad still can't figure out the scallop shell.

Rickey is putting on his "Psycho-Dad" routine. The fry are starting to get to him.

Pattie has been busy trying to get Brad's interest, no babies over there though.... Pattie doesn't seem to like Ten and will intimidate her whenever possible.

Ten seems to be enjoying life despite Pattie and she likes to be around Angelina.

Angelina is a small fish. She is a little under an inch and hasn't grown at all. she is probably one of those poor unfortunate shellies that begin life in the back of the shell and get muscled out of the food.

Minnie, one of Eastwood's babes, is even smaller than her. Eastwood's other babe, Daisy is Mumsy sized now too.

The new shells have been boiled and cooled and are now in the tank ready to receive their tiny tenants. :) I can see that the small shell that held all those babies in my video is getting so cramped that now when the babies go to get inside, several of them are left grouping around the opening. They don't fit anymore :lol1 They are getting bigger and are nicely healthy.

I feed the adults cichlid flakes and brine shrimp alternating them, the babies get baby brine and Hikari First Bites, which everybody loves, it always induces a feeding frenzy. Even the adults will snatch it up.

There is another nice thing about these fish: It is hard to over feed them. I have never had a bloated one or any kind of swimbladder problem. They don't get fat either. you can tell they have eaten because they get a little chubby looking, but it is very slight. Mumsy can look a little "potty" when she is carrying eggs. but it is only noticeable to me. No one else would see that she is bulging at all.

I also like Sera Micropan. I can put it on the water's surface and it falls into the tank throughout the day. I like the idea that there are morsels dropping on them while I am at work. It is unlikely that any of them will actually swim up to get any. They really do like to stay away from the surface. Any disturbance of the water's surface will send them scuttling for cover.

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:bump: hehehe, I love reading about these guys when I come back from being away for a while.

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Guest black n yellow

you seem to have a lot of fry .it must be very busy taking care of all that fry.its pretty funny to with police reports.the teretorial map thing is like google earth .

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Where are you Chickey? Missing my program :madrant

Come back on soon :)

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these shell dwellers are awesome!

Well, It's 10 O'Clock and time for me to get my babies ready! They are going to a fish auction!...Will post later with the results of my auction.

where can you find these auctions?! did the one you went to have a website? I'd love to go to one!

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Yea, what's new with these guys? I need an update. :)

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I wrote this one in November.. Not too timely but kinda fun.

Found In the Personals:

SFS seeks SMS for cozy get-togethers and romance. Must love fry. Must REALLY love fry.

My shell or yours. Visit Pattie at the right side of the scallop shell.

Pattie seems to have solved one of life's little mysteries in the Shellie tank: Is Bart a boy or not?? According to Pattie he is.

I looked in on them for a while the other day and caught Her flirting.

She was laying across the opening of a shell and fluttering what her Mama gave her while Bart looked on. Bart wouldn't have noticed a shark swimming by.

The way this usually works is: The female chooses a shell , and prepares it. That means digging out around the shell until it drops down to the bottom of a pit. She then tries to attract a male by fluttering across the opening (fluttering drives them crazy!!). Once he is attracted, she goes in and lays her eggs, comes out ,and the male goes in to fertilize them. They do make a few practice runs , taking turns going in and out of the shell just to make sure they both know what they are doing. After fertilization, She is in charge of the nest from there on and Papa helps to protect it.

For Bart the practice runs were necessary because whenever Pattie stopped fluttering, He kept going into the wrong shell! In his defense: Pattie did choose an awfully small one, which was right next to another awfully small one and well?. You can see how he made the mistake. His stupidity was embarrassing to watch though... Apparently, Pattie thought so too, you could almost hear her exasperation as he kept going into the wrong shell (Sheeesh! I'm down here shakin' like a maraca! Is he blind?? )

Finally she just gave up. I think she felt she could do better in the gene pool.

Well here's whats been going on in the shellie tank these days:

Mumsy's big spawn is growing up fast! They are so numerous I can't count them all. There are more than 20 for sure. They have gotten to the size where I cannot tell them apart from some of my smaller fish from before, so Pattie, Selma, and Angelina have all blurred in with the other fish. I don't know them anymore. Bart is still Bart, but he is beginning to irritate Brad so I think he will have to be moved soon. I have lost track of Nanjan, and I am not sure which of 2 fish she is. She may in fact be a NonJan. It seems that Toady-Masters are boys after all. And he/she has been THE number one Toady-Master in the tank.

It's too bad I don't know who is who any more but I have 2 jobs now and have little time to do more than check in on them once in a while in between water changes. The crowding has been bothering me, I can see the tension in the tank, and one by one the little ones are getting edged out. I found a couple of them hiding behind the filter!

I decided the filter-fry needed immediate evacuation, but I had nowhere to evacuate them to. I decided to call the lady who owned the fish store that previously said she would take them. To refresh everyone's memory: She said she would take them but wanted me to grow them out a little bigger to make sure they would survive. Shellies grow very slowly, and I have had them in the grow-out tank for a while.

Sadly, the Lady had passed away. I am now in negotiations with one of her employees, but until we iron out all of the details the 21 fish in the grow-out tank will have to wait. Things are heating up in there too: the fish are fast approaching adulthood, and fights have been breaking out all over. So there was no chance that the little refugees could go there.

Fate was about to intervene??.

I was lying in bed and I heard one of the cats jump up onto the sewing machine. They do that because they can sit on it and look out the window. Unfortunately, the powestrip for Eastwood's tank and both of the bettas is up there, and the cat must have stepped on the switch! I didn't notice it in the morning, and just went to work.

I saw it when I came home. The bettas did not come up to eat and I noticed the water temp was 50 degrees! Oh Noooooooo! The Shellies were out of sight, so I didn't know what happened there.

The bettas were half frozen! I did my best to warm the water up as fast as I could and they revived and were soon out of danger. The Shellies did not fare as well.

Poor Minnie did not survive.

I saw Eastwood after a couple of hours, when the water temp. started to go up. He was groggy but otherwise o.k.. (You may remember Daisy was in the tank too, She turned out to be a Duke and got evicted to the grow- out tank a couple of weeks ago) I did not see Minnie at all.

At first I wasn't worried, she is not always visible. So, I figured if Eastie was o.k., that maybe she was too. I decided to take the filter fry out and put them into Eastie's tank, and that was when I found her. Eastwood had pulled her body out of her shell (he's a tidy guy). She was still all curled up like she would be in her shell. Poor little thing.

Eastwood has not gotten along with his new tankmates. He likes only one of them and the other 4 are staying out of his way. One brave little soul took up residence in Eastie's shell! Eastwood was so agitated that he moved out!

He is staying very close to the largest fry, and since he did that with Daisy/Duke?.I will not even try to guess what the sex of that fry is. I am calling it Frenchie. (Frenchie Fry ha ha )

I have named the little fry that pushed him out of his shell "Snidely" (for Snidely Whiplash).

There are 2 more tiny frightened fish in one shell. Eastwood keeps attacking them whenever they show themselves. There is one more in there somewhere but I have not seen it for a while. Hopefully it is still alive.

Well, that's all for now? I will be trying to update again when I get the final arrangements made for the pet store.

Oh, one final note: Mumsy had another large spawn?they seem to have disappeared.

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Developments in the grow-out tank:

All heck has broken loose.

Duke has been terrorizing the juvies to the point where no one has any peace at all. I have dispossessed

Young'uns all over the tank. One poor little mite decided to hide behind the heater, he has no where else to go.

Duke chased all of the juvies away from his end of the tank and now they are all crowded and squabbling down in the front. It's sad to watch him trying to create his own space in there, and I cannot let him disturb the whole tank like that, so unfortunately?Duke has to go.

He has been judged gillty of disturbing the peace and has been sentenced to a term of incarceration of indefinite length. It is unlikely that he will be getting out on good behavior, and parole is not possible. He could be pardoned by the governor later though, but he will have to accept exile as a condition of his release.

In other words: I put him and his stolen shell in a plastic canvas basket and hung it up on the side of the tank. He has about 5 inches of space all to himself, and the water can flow through but he can't get out.

It's not a great solution but I had to do something. He will have to stay there until it's time to go to the pet store.

The little ones below are grateful for his absence and are quickly filling in the space that he tried to claim. Peace has returned (as much as it can in a tank full of cranky little fish) .

Ooooooooh! This trip to the pet store has to happen soon!!!!!! I dread what will happen once the little fishy hormones really get revved up in the ones who are almost grown. This whole incident is a dire warning of the consequences of letting this continue much longer. They are at the age where territory is becoming very important to them and the sparring that they have always done is getting edgy.

Poor Duke, he is safe and restrained but not at all happy. A strong healthy fish like him should have a big piece of tank real estate, a stable full of fine babes, and a gang of toadys to lord it over and do his bidding.

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thanks for the update! I've been wondering whats been happening w/ them!! :)

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The tanks have settled down for now.

Eastwood has stopped chasing and nipping his new little tankmates, and he is back to being the same mellow little fish he has always been. I think he was still thinking of Duke for a while when the little ones were dumped into his tank. He was still in attack mode. That was rude of me, I should have offered introductions :smile

I do think it's a shame he gave up his castle to two of the little usurpers. He had a big algae covered shell all to himself, but when they moved in he was so appalled that he dissolved into a corner and barked at them from a distance. Frenchy and Snidely are living there together, and a different fry is now living in the corner where Frenchy originally was.

I decided to name the two: Hotsy (lives at the bottom of the heater) and Totsy (a really small fry), and the fifth fry (who has not been seen lately and is about the size of Frenchy) will be called Notsy.

I don't know where Notsy is. But since Eastie has calmed down, he is now checking on the fry probably just to remind himself where they are. I have been watching where he goes, I may not know where they all are but he will not fail to find them.

I am glad things have settled down in there, this will be a good move for the little ones. They will not have to compete for food and there will be months of peace before Eastwood and I have to worry about boys growing up.

Duke is still incarcerated, but he has adjusted. He is hovering above his shell as much as Shellies do, but I think it still freaks him out about how close he is to the surface.

Shellies don't go to the surface much. I know that from my big tank: there may be food floating around up there but they will not go up to get it. They will wait for it to fall. Their comfort zone ends about 5 inches above their shells.

Poor Duke has a built in instinct to go down and stay down, He knows he is not at the bottom of the tank and it must be stressing him a bit.

I caught him peeking out of his plastic canvas cage. I use the plastic canvas with the small holes for my tanks, it keeps all but the smallest fry out, but it is kinda hard to see a fish in it from a distance, and Duke is sometimes hiding between the shell and the side of the basket. His camouflage is so good he looks like part of the shell. So I have to look for a short while before I can see him.

Imagine my surprise when I saw him looking at me! I was looking all over and just when I thought he was inside the shell, I saw this little eye looking back at me through one of the holes in the canvas! It kind of reminded me of that scene in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex was looking through the window of the truck.

Poor Duke, If he can see me, he can see the fish below him.

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:panana Yay, I was wondering how your little guys were doin. Thx for the update

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Must say I am getting confused now with all the actors names :P . I had just got used to Angelina and co and now they have all gone and been replaced with Hotsy an d totsies. Oh well, at least everyone is thriving :D I had an accidental temperature drop in my trop tank too and lost ALL my baby plecs so I really know how easily that happens and am glad your crew did betta! Love hearing the updates, hope the store is there for you and keep checking in when you can as you are missed :heart

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My plans are falling apart! the lady at the petstore where I was to send my shellies, dosen't answer my emails anymore!! oh no!! these fish have got to go! It's like world war three in the grow out tank. Yikes!

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I have only just come across this thread, and it's fantastic! Keep posting please! I really really hope you get your fry sorted soon, it would be terrible if you had to cull them or something. Is there another auction on where you can take lots and lots and lots of bags???

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Hooray!!! The fry are finally gone!! I got in touch with the lady from the fish store and she told me that the tank that she had for the fish had been taken by others, but she had a 30 gal. tank that they could go into. We set a date, and the fish were delivered in two buckets with battery powered bubblers. 30 gallons! I am so happy for them!

They survived the hour long journey just fine and as far as I know she didn't lose any. All told, I delivered 42 fish to her. 20 from the big tank and the 22 from the grow-out tank. Even with all of them gone I still have another 15 or so which eluded capture.

I must say she got some fine fishies there! :gcar: So now I must make a fond farewell to :

Duke

Nanjan

Selma

Pattie

Ten

Bart

and the rest of the nameless fry.

Happily, I re-discovered Angelina (she never left her shell very close to Brad) SHe is still at home with me, as are Mumsy (of course) and Rickey.

Eastwood is another story..a tragic one!

As you may remember, Eastie beastie was in his own tank and had been given new roomates after the exile of Duke (used to be Daisy) and the sad death of Minnie. The new roomates were Frenchie, Snidely, Hotsy, Totsy, and Notsy.

well.. after a big water change I noticed an ominous fog in the tank. I must have bumped the filter somehow and it stopped working, but I couldn't do much about it at the time because of my work schedule. THe best I could do was change the water and hope for the best. Sadly, it was not enough. when I looked into the tank next, I found bodies everywhere.

All 5 of the roomies perished. Eastwood was nowhere in sight.

This happened on the day after I took the fry to the store so I still had their tank running, and lucky for Eastie that I did! I saw movement through a hole in his shell and immediately evacuated him to safety in the grow out tank.

Eastie is one tough little fish. This is his third brush with death.

He now lives all alone in the tank. I am planning to get some new sand for him and set him up all nice and cozy again. I totally broke down the smaller tank that he was in , and all that was in it is being bleached and boiled to make it safe for re- use. Right now he has to camp out on the glass globs that I used to keep the shells stable in the water. He dosent seem to have suffered at all from his ordeal.

I called the pet store and asked how the fish were doing, and although I did not talk to the same lady I delivered them to, I did speak to her roomate. They LOVE the fish. I think that more than a couple found a home with the employees. :heart

Eastwood will get new roomates by and by.. and Mumsy will provide them, I'm sure. :D

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Or maybe Angelina will provide them! Angie is a MOM! I found a few teeny tiny fry peeking out of her shell!! That little cutie! :heart

Brad is a DAD! I have only counted about 5 or 6 but that is not unusual. Hooray! (I think I am happy)(or maybe not, considering how much trouble it was to get rid of the others)

Do I really need 2 females breeding in there??? eep. :lol1

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Or maybe Angelina will provide them! Angie is a MOM! I found a few teeny tiny fry peeking out of her shell!! That little cutie! :heart

Brad is a DAD! I have only counted about 5 or 6 but that is not unusual. Hooray! (I think I am happy)(or maybe not, considering how much trouble it was to get rid of the others)

Do I really need 2 females breeding in there??? eep. :lol1

In time I would want some.

They are taking over the world :krazy::lol1

Edited by Quasi

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