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dickey_moe

Enjoying My Little Shell Dwellers

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:rofl he probably does do it on purpose and watches you to see how you will react..he's experimenting on you chickey!! :exactly:rofl ..I think most fish ..if not all see in colours .

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Ha Ha Heidi I think you are right! They will soon be timing me as I am searching the apartment for bits of cheese. :rofl

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What did that poor little Pesky do to anyone?? Brad wants him dead! He is getting more violent towards him and now I am worried for his safety.

Brad is stalking him, and he seems to be having fun with it. Pesky will sit in the mouth of his shell , and Brad will peek around the point of his shell (like He's peeking around a tree) and suddenly rush him. Well Pesky makes for the inside of his shell and Brad shows off for the girls (and Bart) by scuffing on the floor of the tank and flicking against his shells and nipping them. Then he will go to the other side of the point of his shell and waitl for Pesky to show his face again. Then he does it all over again. It's comical!

If I were Mumsy, I would be calling my babies back to get them away from this bad influence. He is no doubt contributing to the delinquency of the minors in the tank. Bart joins in on his persecution of Pesky, and he is learning to scuff the floor and flick against the shells too. I actually saw him nip at one of Rickey's shells, and spit sand all over the place. He thinks Brad is cool.

The girls are no better. they do not bother with Pesky but they are doing the flicking and shell nipping too. But they are following Brad's lead. They are egging him on I think. :D (yeah baby! get him!) Brad is getting a swollen head.

Mumsy and Rickey are not too interested in Pesky now since they are busy looking for a spot to procreate in. I did see Bart get a bad nip from Mumsy though.

Could Bart be a girl?? I wonder because Brad does not mind having Bart around but can't abide Pesky at all. Maybe when Bart first came on to Brad's turf he was not so threatening and Brad has just forgotten that he never had any fry. Maybe he sees all three of them as his kids. But why tolerate one male and not the other? Bart is definitely acting like a boy.

THey need shells! I just reordered the shells because for some reason my order didn't go through. Hopefully new shells will give these little ones a place to go.

Speaking of places to go... I have lined up a pet store to take some of my babies when they are older. They will have to follow strict rules from me though. I am making up an information sheet on shellies so that the new owners will know how to take care of their water. I will miss my babies :cry1

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Here's a photo of Eastwood's latest button sorting. you can see what I mean about the pairs... one color each. He does this alot, I don't think it's accidental.

button

'

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That is extraordinairy Rach. ocd indeed. I think this is turning into one of those threads that proves fish have very high IQ.

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I don't know about "smart" :D but this little guy is doing some kind of "matching" with the buttons. I remember the first time I put the buttons in, how he went from one button to another and then decided they belonged together and made his little pile. He even added to a pile that Brad had started. He knows they are the same thing, and they belong together in his mind. What baffles me is why would he choose to put one of each??

I rarely get to witness the button moving. He is like a little elf.. does all the work when no one is around to see. and once he has moved them, he may move one or two again and wreck his pattern completely. But then again... today he removed a blue button which left a bunch of red ones together. It will be interesting to see if he ends up with a pile of red and a pile of blue.

THat would be downright freaky. I will post it if he does, it may take a couple of days though, he only moves them when the mood hits him.

Edit: wouldn't it be a hoot if my Honey was the one moving the buttons when I'm not around just to mess with me??? I'd Kill him. :rofl

Edited by Chickey

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Well, I got a good head count on mini-fry today. I got all the way to 8!! living in the crevices makes them hard to see. I do count during feedings and this time I found a shell that has three in it!! hooray for babies. :D

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All kinds of doings in the Shellie neighborhood today:

I did a gigantic water change and boiled up the new shells (that finally came) and washed a package of sand for the tank. I also increased the filtration and that has helped to lessen the mucky brown. the shells and sand make the tank look so much lighter and cleaner! :D

Mumsy and Rickey do not appreciate the increased flow, they have to do alot of fluttering to stay in place. And yes, Mumsy is shell sitting again!!! She gets so frisky when she has new water! I can just about guarantee new fry every time I do that. :) Here she is fanning fresh water into the shell she is tending:

When I put the new shells in, I tried to create a small group of shells by the scallop shell to give a ready-made territory to either Bart or Pesky, but much to my surprise, they both ignored it and one end of it is being claimed by Eastwood. Pesky moved back to the edge of his parent's territory, and Bart moved back to Brad's group.

I had moved Brad's group closer to the side of the tank to make room for those shells and leave a little buffer zone for the new group. This has produced a problem for Brad. Unfortunately he can now see either me or himself a little too well and he has been downright huffy about it. He is not attacking anything and he has no tiny fry to take it out on, so he just swims up and down and stares. "You lookin' at me??" Huh?

Off to his right are numerous , new, clean unihabited shells. They are being ignored by everyone. :( It is unclear where Eastwood is drawing his borders. I deliberately put the shells right up next to Brad's group in the hopes that one of the girls would end up moving closer to Eastwood. Oh well I guess they will get moving sooner or later. There have been some small nippy fights between Angelina and Janet. They may want to spread out a bit. I am still unsure as to whether or not Bart is a boy... but I am sticking with boy. He and Pesky have been having some little fights too. He does not fight with Angelina or Janet.

Shellies of all ages will bicker about territory, even tiny little fry will nip as soon as they can. :) I saw a little fry liplock fight today but was too slow to get the camera going and missed it.

Speaking of Fry.....Pesky and the Triplets are on Mumsy's eviction list. She has been nipping and chasing them (Rickey too) so much that they have kinda gone underground and are living in the crevices, and since dirt rolls downhill.....they are evicting the tiny fry in the crevices and all of them have gone home to Mumsy for protection.

Here is a little video that shows how many have shown up at home. That shell was empty yesterday!! and there are still some hold-outs in the crevices!!! Yikes.

I wonder if they brought laundry....... :D

I just put 24 brand new shells in there and now I feel like I need to get 24 more!!!

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O.K. it has been a while since I did a diagram.

With all the new shells, there has been some moving around. Most notably Eastwood who has taken a liking to the shells in front of the scallop shell. Rickey stubbornly claims one of them (just out of spite, I think) and Eastie seems to tolerate little Bart with no trouble. Brad did not contest Eastwood moving in, He seems happy with his little group and has made no attempt to expand. His girls now have a little distance between them and seem happy.

Nobody seems to want to live on that end of the tank and it may be time for me to consider buying a small canister filter for this tank. I am convinced that Eastwood moved because of the noise and disturbance the internal filter makes in his end. All the fish seem squeezed toward the other end, and it is getting very crowded there....

Mumsy and Rickey can barely move without bumping into a fry. Mumsy is trying to move the older ones out. I hope they go soon! there is a whole bunch of little ones to take their place as soon as they do.

The Diagram: click here

Green lines show territory (even little Bart has staked one out) You can see how ridiculous Rickey is being about that one shell. :lol1

The oldest fry are in yellow, the blue are the next to go and all the red numbers denote new fry. The numbers are true to the best of my knowledge. They move around alot, but I have seen these numbers consistently in these shells. Mumsy knows where they are too, she is always checking on them.

A little note about that: There are alot of sites out there that say the parents have nothing to do with the babies once they are eating on their own. Absolutely not true.

I have thought of moving the blue fry to Eastwood's old area just to see if they will establish themselves there or try to move back home. I am anxious to seperate them out from that group to make it easier for me to eventually remove them. As long as they stay there, there is always a possibility that smaller fry will be rooming with them, or will come to harm because of them.

I am also not very sure if Eastwood is still claiming any of his old shells. He doesn't go over there any more but that doesn't mean much, Shellies don't always use all of their shells.

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Ha ha! I have thought about putting in terraces , but I have heard that the fish will always swim down to the lowest level. No condos for them I guess. :rofl

There is a trick to unshelling a shellie: Put a flower pot (or a glass or something) into the tank with a wire rack on the top with holes in it large enough for the fish to get through (like a wire cake cooling rack). Place the shell on the wire rack with the opening down and the shellie will swim out and immediately swim down. They will not go back up to find the shell they left. If there is a new shell on the bottom they will go into it. Their instinct is to hide where they can, so if there is no shell they will hide in whatever crevice they can find. Don't leave them there with no place to hide! they will stress out and die.

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I'm learning so much here Rach. I notice the fluttering thing Mumsie is doing looks like what my tropical plec did over the eggs to get air circulating on them? Interesting. So many shells now, and I suppose you never know which will get taken or rejected for whatever reason. It's a lot of work but is so entertaining.

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Yes, these little guys keep me busy and interested. :D I enjoy looking into the tank every day and seeing what has changed as the babies grow up to take their place in the community.

Things change so fast! I no more than got done making that diagram when a huge fight broke out in the tank and all the boys are now fighting over the scallop shell area. It was amusing to watch the little boys facing off against the big boys. Of course they were soon heading for safety as the big boys put them in their place.

Angelina and Janet were disturbed enough to get out of the way and now at last... they know that the new shells exist and have been examining them. The way they behaved shows me they are girls. Girls let the boys do most of the fighting. They are only really concerned when there is a fish actually in their area. Boys will go out to meet an enemy. That's why I think Bart and Pesky are boys.

Brad did some looking at the new shells too. I think he sees a way to expand his empire.

For now: Eastwood still rules the scallop shell.

There has been alot of jaw-popping going on (i think they are making noises at each other) and Rickey has actually responded to a jaw pop that Bart did. I think this is how they intimidate and challenge each other. ( Poor Bart wished he hadn't done that)

I am convinced that they are making noise and I actually tried to record some of it. I did get some noises, but I couldn't be sure if it was coming from the tank or somewhere outside of the tank. I am going to try again tomorrow.

What I did: I turned off the filter, light, and heater so there would be no interference, and I put the microphone inside a waterproof plastic bag and then I stuck it down inside the tank. I did get some squealing sounds that sounded like they may have been made up of clicks and i did hear some clicking by itself. But I also got alot noise from outside the tank like the gurgling of the other 2 tanks, and sounds of motorcycles and cars going by outside. The Microphone is sensitive and should pick something up, but I did have to turn the volume all the way up to hear anything at all.

Still, I would like to get that mike in there when they are quarrelling with each other, then I can make notes on the time that they do the jaw popping and see if there is any noise at that time when I play it back. Unfortunately, I can't listen while I record.

Should be interesting anyway..... :)

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I got my wish.... they all started fighting again. When I left to do some errands, Eastwood had lost possession of the scallop shell (the front anyway) and was lurking behind it while Brad strutted around in the front. When I came home the shell was deserted and Bart was pretending he drove all the big boys away. I found Brad had moved poor Eastwood over to the very corner of the tank and appears to have taken all of his property from him. He is still holding him captive there in a standoff. (you can almost hear the theme song from "The Good, The Bad and THe Ugly" playing.)

Well Rickey is never one to let an opportunity slide and when Brad's back was turned he sneaked into his shell and looked around. He decided to claim the scallop shell too. So Brad had to go fight with him for the scallop shell and Eastwood managed to slip away into Brad's territory for a second or two before Brad came back and pinned him in the corner again.

A funny thing happened during all of this: the further Brad went into Eastwood's territory, Brad's entourage went too. First Janet, then slowly, slowly Angelina followed at last by Bart. Brad has made this one bold move and now commands half the tank. Eastwood has no place here now, and is just hovering without a shell, which is the fate of all unattached, extra males. Brad is enjoying the spoils of war: checking out all the shells, and looting.

Eastwood may have to be moved if he is unable to establish a place for himself. He must have a shell. If he is not safely sheltered by the time I go to bed, he will be taken out and given a temporary home in the water bucket until I can make other arrangements for him. This is a bad time for me to need to run another tank...I just took on a rescue fish who is using my extra space.

Well, during the big Bruhaha, I tried the recording again and I got the same noises.

The squealing sounds like someone dragging a needle across a record (the more mature of us know that sound :) ) and there are these thumping sounds like someone tapping the end of the microphone. These sounds occurred at the same time as each one of Eastwood's and Brad's encounters. I think they were made by Eastwood because on a couple of the really clear ones he was directly under the mike.

This time I had shut off absolutely everything in the room and shut the windows so less car noise could interfere. The squealing could be static I guess but I have no idea where it would be coming from. The thumps are a different story, what could they be? Eastwood never touched the mike, and I was absolutely still, trying to minimize any extra noise. ( the mike even picked up the water heater starting in the basement and the sound of my cat trotting by. :rofl )

I will figure out a way to post them, but I have to say that I had to turn my volume all the way up to be able to hear any of it. Not sure how to post something like that. I will also post a quick movie of what Brad is doing. What a bully. :(

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poor eastwood :cry1 he's my fav I hope he gets things established soon ,it feels like an episode of BigBrother and poor Eastwood is about to be evicted give Brad a kick in the behind Eastwood .if I was brad I would think that Ricky is the bigger threat ,Eastwood is always to busy sorting out his buttons to even have the time to chase women..or Brad is bitter that Eastwood was nervy enough to mess with his buttons when he had some ...my goodness this is turning into a real drama :rofl

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Button Envy!! Sounds like a motive to me! :rofl

Brad is really too much! He is rubbing salt into poor Eastwood's wounds! He is going around into all of Eastwood's shells right in front of him! How cruel. Eastie is not allowed to have even the smallest, meanest , full of holes one. And Bart... let's not talk about him. He is Brad's little toady. The girls are catty too. Poor Eastwood is all tattered and his face is scratched up.

Here is a little video that shows how despicable he is being. Eastie is in the corner and he is preventing him from entering the big white shell that Brad is in front of.

Brad went into it himself.

he isn't hurting him, just standing in the way. You can also see the girls right there, they moved with him.

Here is a short video of Rickey poppin his jaw, this is what I have been trying to record.

(you can see Rickey's teeth!)

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out of curiousity will things change iif you reaarange the shells again possibly giving eastwood a home :heart ?...the videos are great poor eastwood in the corner :( and he looks bigger than Brad too

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I thought of that myself. Right now the light is out and Eastwood ducked into his shell. We'll see if he still owns it in the morning. I've seen this happen before and the next day everything was back to normal. If not, I may rearrange Brad's world and put a strip of sand between two groups of shells and see if they will accept them as borders. They really can't patrol a big territory, it's better to give up a few shells than to have to defend them all the time. Or like Brad, to have to defend them on both sides.

I really don't want to move Eastie right now, There is hardly a spare plug anywhere in this house! I would rather buy a bigger tank and still have just the one.

and Heeeyyyy! yes! Eastwood is the biggest fish in the tank! He's just a lover not a fighter. :D Rickey, the only one with a breeding female, is the smallest, but he is cagey. Brad is the tank thug.

I have seen him fight with both fish at once and beat them both.

I am reminded of the Christmas fight when Brad fought with Eastwood for most of the day and then was attacked by Rickey when he was already exhausted. (see what I mean about Rickey being cagey?) He fought off Rickey but ended up in Mumsy's territory, and for a while I thought he was going to die. Mumsy pecked at him awful, but wouldn't let Rickey do it. She defended him, which was odd. ( I think she likes him, He's sooo tough.) But the next day he was back in his shell and didn't seem to lose any ground to anyone.

Tomorrow is another day......Eastie Beastie better get some rest!

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Well, by dawn's early light, Eastwood was once again evicted from his shells and Brad had him pinned in the corner. The cruelest blow of all: Brad's little toady Bart was in possession of Eastwood's favorite shell. He did move out long enough for me to snatch it out of the tank, along with a few other choice shells that Eastwood likes.

They took all of his nice shells away from him and left him with one small cramped shell to hide in. Poor thing.. he can only go in it halfway and stayed there for quite a while with his butt hanging out. :lol1 They have succeeded in driving him off. If he were in the wild, he would be looking for a new place on the edges of the community. Since he can't do that in the tank, I made the decision to move him.

Eastwood is now rewarded for all of his suffering with a new , clean tank with cozy white sand to dig in and all of his favorite shells to hide in. And of course.....His buttons. :) He was not happy at first because of the reflection Shellie, but I put a pleasant blue cloth around the tank. He feels more secure now and is in one of his favorite shells.

He will be happy here and someday will have some fry to keep him company. I have decided to use his tank to grow the fry out that I want to give to the LFS. I can't keep all of those fry and Eastwood is a Mellow Fellow, so he will be good company for them. Maybe I will let him keep a little girl...who knows?

The first thing I'M going to do is find him a tank-sized palm tree or two and a hammock. :D

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Living well is the best revenge! :D

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I can't believe I just read through all of this, but it was great! I can't wait to hear more about your little fishies :)

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thanks for reading! There's always something going on. It will be interesting to see if Brad can hold on to his numerous shells as the boys grow up. I don't know how long these little fish live, he may be getting old for all I know.

Hi-D

Oh yes! a Tiki bar with those exotic coconut shell drinks with the little flowers floating around in it. I can play some ukulele for him, and he can sort his buttons to Don Ho music while other shellies are doing crosswords. I'll get him a little girl with a grass skirt, and he will live happily ever after. :lol1

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