Every Morning is Christmas Morning

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Do you believe in the Christmas Crayfish???

I do.  🙂

Christmas is a fabulous joy when you’re young, and even as you age the promise of presents in some manner always entices the materialistic side of us all.  However, when I say that every morning is Christmas morning, I’m referring to the childish enthusiasm that can only be emulated by….well, a child.  Specifically, that moment when a child rips off the covers and runs downstairs to a tree alight with neatly wrapped packages.  This always occurs in the morning hours, when sleep can no longer satisfy the curiosity to know.  I’m not unlike that child.  Every morning, I have the option to indulge in this curiosity.  I can search for new spawn in my fish tanks. 

Okay, don’t run along just yet.  This is legit.  I have had many experiences where fish just spawn overnight….and then the present of many bundles of joy can be collected in the morning.  Perhaps the best example of this was when two days after Christmas (many years ago) I discovered 31 Gambusia affinis fry tucked in the floating plants of my display tank.  I scooped each fry out with gusto, and counted them as you would emerging puppies at birth.  It was a different time in my life, but that feeling can easily be replicated today when i have my 40 or so tanks to examine. 

Sometimes getting at the fry early is critical, so that’s where the rushing comes in.  I have had many sleepless nights where I simply couldn’t stop checking for fry.  I didn’t want to miss that moment when Santa Claus arrived!!  

Today, like every day, I face this potential.  I indulged, and flashed a light in the tanks one by one…noting spawning behavior or lack thereof.  I was weighing if the livebearing females seemed slimmer than earlier.  Maybe they popped?  who knows!  it’s always exciting.  And with the prospect of fry on the line, there is not a chance I could ever have a dull day!

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A Midnight Dance with Neoheterandria elegans

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I wish I owned a camera nice enough to photograph these wonderful animals.  But due to incredibly tiny form….I have resorted to old files I swiped from Google search engine.

These are Neoheterandria elegans, or the tiger teddy as they are affectionately known.

I have been preparing for bed for the last hour or so.  But I stopped.  I stopped to…smell the roses if you will.  Mostly, I stopped to watch the fish.  I was taking mental tabs on a lot of my animals.  I own probably closer to 50 species, but it fluctuates month to month with auctions and acquisitions and losses.  What can be gathered from that is simply my great division of attention.  Each animal gets so little acknowledgement in the grand scheme of things.  It’s tragic, but being that I cannot live 50 lives and dedicate each to one species, I must make do.  So tonight, I took in the sight of something new.

On a whim, I poked in my tiny one gallon tiger teddy tank.  I had skimmed nearly everything else and saved these for last.  Admittedly, the small livebearers had been out competed by flashier cyprinids and rainbowfish as of late.  But tonight, I saved the last dance for them.  For that moment of undivided attention, I was rewarded with two fry calmly perusing the surface column of water.  I was mesmerized instantly.  A flood of questions- When did they arrive of this earth?  Should I move them?  Are the parents cannibalistic?  I quickly weighed the size of fry relative to the mouths of the adults.  When at last I convinced myself they were safe, I relaxed a bit.  I watched with great joy and my motherly heartstrings tugged with each breathtaking glimpse of their buggy eyes and slightly rounded bellies.  The itty bitty fins were enough to make me as giddy as a prepubescent with a crush.  This will always be my love.  This.