June 29,2021

A few weeks ago we saw one of our purple pinchers carrying eggs. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch the mating so we have no idea who the father is. Since then, we hadn’t seen her and I figured something was wrong with the eggs, and perhaps she dropped them early. So we didn’t get our breeding set up ready for her. Well, today we looked inside of our tank to see the gravid female turning her now grey, mature eggs in her shell, as she sat near the saltwater pool. We knew right away that they were ready for spawning. We stopped everything we were doing and set up the krisel. We hadn’t even ordered anything for the breeding season yet! Luckily we had lots of things left over from last year, and by some miracle even our nannochloropsis was still good! We decided we wanted to induce spawning for this crab like we had for Gunther last year (we no longer will do this method of “forced spawning”). After filling up the krisel and making sure it was the proper temperature and salinity, we put the purple pincher inside. However, she only grew in stress and didn’t want to spawn for us so we took her out after only being in there for a few minutes. We didn’t want her to drop her eggs somewhere in our massive tank, so we set up a temporary isolation container for her with some sand and a small container of water with a bubbler for spawning, which we lovingly named the “birthing suite”. We then left her alone and finished getting everything ready. 

June 30, 2021

The next morning we checked on the female to see if she had spawned, and she had. Unfortunately, she spawned partly in the salt water pool, and partly on the sand. We have two hypotheses on why this may have happened. First; it could be that the forced spawn stressed her out. This is why we will not continue this method, and do not recommend others try to induce spawn. The second; purple pinchers, of all the species we care for, seem to ‘toe dip’ the most and fully submerge the least. Perhaps when purple pinchers spawn, they go to the edge of the ocean during high tide, drop their eggs on the sand, and allow the tide to take the eggs out to sea to be hatched.  Either way, we had zoeae! So we worked to get them out of the water and into the kreisel. We had heard others say that they had scooped eggs off of the sand and tried to hatch them, so I thought I would give it a try – I had nothing to lose. After several hours of being in an aerated jar, the eggs hatched! We spent many hours transferring the newly hatched zoeae to the second kriesel. Kriesel one holds all of the properly spawned zoeae and a few of the sand hatched egg zoeae (I wish I would have thought to separate them from the beginning). Kriesel two holds only sand hatched egg zoeae. This will hopefully help in collecting data for further research and understanding! Kinda cool! It was a long spawn day, but the long journey to land for these zoeae and CCS had finally begun! We added A LOT of nannochloropsis into the water but didn’t feed anything else since they recently ate their yolk sacks in their eggs. Finally we started a hatching jar for live artemia, then we turned the lights off and prepared for our journey. 

Lessons learned (field notes): 

  1. Do not have any sand in the “birthing suite”
  2. Nannochloropsis is still good if bright green in color, and has no foul odor
  3. If you are feeding enough nanno, the kriesel will have a definite green tinge to the color

Side Note: We need a name for this momma crab…. 

Heat- 84F


 July 1, 2021

Today was the first day of having the zoeae. We woke up at 7 am bright and early to feed instant baby brine shrimp to the hungry babies. We then worked on the first water change of the season. We noticed right away some pretty big differences from the Ecuadorian zoeae. These guys are longer (appearing bigger, but they are just as slender as the E’s), they bob off the bottom of the jar/kriesel, they move to a bright light, they have iridescent color in the light, and their eyes reflect light. These discoveries were a breath of fresh air and a relief! It was making the water change so much easier than what we experienced in attempt one and two. The first water change took us about 2 ½ hours total, as we still had some debri from the spawn on the sand. We also observed a lot of what we will call ‘egg castings’ – which I’m guessing  is the egg sack that held the baby zoeae. These casting are white in color but are somewhat translucent. They muddy up the water pretty badly making it difficult to see the zoeae. During the evening water change we observed some losses, mostly in kriesel two where the sand hatched eggs are. We decided to try a new food, Reef Roids, which is a combination of marine plankton. To feed this we decided to use a small medicine cup, get water from the holding tank, and mix/dilute the new food powder in the cup. We wanted to see if the new food; floated/sank, colored the water, dissolved, and how much would be a good amount to feed. Unfortunately, our baby brine shrimp did not hatch, but our order will be here tomorrow.  

Field notes:

  1. Brine shrimp eggs need to be stored in the freezer
  2. Young zoeae get ‘trapped’ or ‘hung up’ in the egg castings/bulk debri buildup
  3. Don’t feed too much, it makes the water very dense and difficult to see the zoeae in the jars. 

Heat- 83.7 F


 July 2, 2021

After the initial 7:30 a.m. feeding we always turn down bubblers to allow the zoeae to eat. After observing how much easier it seemed for them to be able to get a good amount of food with the bubblers off, we have decided to turn the bubblers off for 10-15 minutes after every feeding. This may need to change as the zoeae develop and are able to swim better, catch and hold food. We check the salinity of both kriesels and the holding tank before starting water changes so that we can make any necessary adjustments while we siphon out zoeae from the waste water jars. Kriesel one had a salinity of 37ppt (we want it to be at 35ppt). Rather than dump a cup of fresh water, which will send a downpour of fresh water in a concentrated area, we use a spray bottle with Prime treated fresh water and spray it over the top of the kriesel water. This method mimics “rain” and allows the fresh water to disperse throughout the kriesel in a more natural and diluted way. The method worked and brought the salinity back to 35ppt. The water change went MUCH better than day zero and one! It took under an hour per kriesel! The zoeae are looking great, bobbing around to move throughout the kriesel and eat off the bottom. They are really fascinating to watch come to the light – which is just so, so nice during water changes! This afternoon we still don’t have our brine shrimp eggs and so we are getting desperate to find some good protein for the zoeae. Luckily our second new food was delivered and it is high in proteins! It is called Reef Pulse. We decided to test it in the medicine cup as well since it is a new food to us.  

We have been feeding too much, making water changes more difficult and lowering the water quality quicker. So, we decided to do a little experiment to help us see how much to feed. We put some water in one of our water change jars (used water from the holding tank). Then we added the amount of food we had been feeding – IT WAS A LOT! It doesn’t look like that much on the end of a chopstick, but it really is a lot when it hits the water and disperses out. Hopefully after doing some tests, we can better feed the proper amount of food. 

We had a very eventful and exciting day! This afternoon I was able to confirm that Monica and Orange Blossom’s mating was successful in producing fertilized eggs! We will have Ecuadorian eggs mid July! During the evening water change Brooke noticed some commotion in the tank. After investigating, we discovered our strawberry hermit crabs were mating! Oh boy! I don’t have confirmation that their mating was successful, but the “love” is in the air in the Crab Central Station Crab Room! We are really excited to have more opportunities to raise babies this season!

The evening water change was delayed because we wanted to try and get documentation of the strawberries mating. It was getting late and so we decided to try something different to help us clean the kriesel during the water change. We put the flashlight at the back of the kriesel to see if the zoeae would swim all the way to the back so that I could clean the front of the kriesel without siphoning up so many zoeae- IT WORKED! It also really helped me to clean the kriesel, it looked great! We will now alternate between “driving” the zoeae to the front and back of the kriesel. I hope this helps cut down on time!

Field notes:

  1. Check salinity BEFORE starting the water change
  2. Morning water changes – clean the back of the kriesel
  3. Evening water changes – clean the front of the kriesel.
  4. Too many instant baby brine shrimp will cause harder water changes. The shrimp bloat throughout the day and become ‘feathery’ which the zoeae get caught up in and it makes the water very muddy.
  5. Set a timer after feedings to remind you to turn the bubblers back up to speed

Heat- 83.7 F


 July 3, 2021

We began our day with checking the salinity in the holding tank and both kriesels. Kriesel one’s salinity was too high again at 38ppt. We repeated the “rain effect” again using the spray bottle. We began to discuss what could be causing the salinity in just one vessel to continue to be higher than the rest – Observation – the light we are using on the kriesel is a grow light that clips onto the edge of a table. It is  located closer to kriesel one. Hypotheses – The heat of the light is causing faster evaporation of water causing salinity to rise. Proposed solution – move the location of the light to be more evenly dispersed and see if the salinity in the kriesels are consistent. 

We continue with our plan to alternate cleaning the front/back of the kriesel. Last night I cleaned the front, so this morning we are going to clean the back. WOW! Total water change only took us 20 min. For each kriesel!!!! This is HUGE!!! The kriesel looks very clean and the water very clear. We will continue with this method for now.

Apparently our order of baby brine shrimp eggs is lost in transit! Our amazon delivery map showed that the order was here in Texas, only ten stops away, and then somehow it showed that the order was being shipped to New York! The message said that the order may not get here until July 8th, and that is just not an option. We are already pushing our luck with not having live proteins for these zoeae on day three. We began calling saltwater aquarium shops hoping to find someone that had some in stock. After calling six stores, we finally found a shop in Austin that had some! We did the noon feeding and then left for Austin to pick up the eggs. While we were there, we bought some live Copepods to feed while waiting on the artemia to hatch. I think this was a good move, even though we are introducing a third new food to the routine. The copepods are as small, perhaps even smaller, than the newly hatched artemia so we knew the zoeae would be able to eat them. We had heard of others feeding copepods as well, so we were confident that this would be a good, and at this point necessary addition. 

Shed day! We noticed during the evening water change what looked like dead zoeae floating around in the jar. After catching a few and observing them in the pippett, we realized they were just a shell of a zoeae! SHEDS! Once we realized what we were seeing, we decided to do a 50% water change rather than the 25% so that the sheds would not foul up the water quality during the night. Despite doing an even larger change, it only took 40 minutes per krisel, which compared to our two hours per krisel last year is a dream come true! 

Some observations we made about stage 2 larval zoeae; they can swim with more purpose, stay afloat and even suspend in the middle of the kriesel, they have more of a fan at the very edge of their tail, the zoeae curl and flick their tail to move/swim, they also seem a bit longer. 

Field notes:

  1. Have extra batteries on hand for water change flashlights
  2. You will need a lot of paper towels
  3. Where you place your light can affect the salinity of your kriesel 

Heat- 83.7 F


 July 4, 2021

Finally! The baby brine shrimp have hatched! We were expecting to see more sheds in the morning kriesel water, but there were minimal sheds. The water was rather clean from the prior night’s 50% water change. The baby zoeae are moving more quickly, more like a dart rather than a bob. They curl their tails inward, making them look round. They swim backwards and/or upward vertically. We are more easily able to see them eating off the floor of the kriesel. I’m glad we decided to turn the bubblers off for 10-15 minutes after every feeding. Some zoeae are also eating while suspended, perhaps they are the ones that already shed. After the first kriesel water change, before adding back saltwater from the holding tank, we checked the salinity (we seriously need to remember to check it *before* doing the water change). The holding tank was showing 30ppt (too low). Both kriesel’s were at 35ppt (just right). We added some more concentrated saltwater to the holding tank and began the water change on the second kriesel. We checked the holding tank salinity again, still 30ppt. We get a small container and mix a high concentration of salt and add it to the tank. After ten minutes, the salinity tests at 32ppt. What is going on!? We were doing so well, having consistent readings, what changed? We even mixed the salt the same as we had been. ½ cup of ocean salt per gallon of water.  This is science, y’all! We discovered that the container we have our marine salt in contained Instant Ocean brand at the bottom of the bucket and Reef Crystal brand on the top. We had used up all of the Reef Crystals and were now mixing using the Instant Ocean and didn’t realize it, nor did we think it would make a difference as both brands are safe for hermit crabs. So I decided to get out our 50 gallon bucket of Reef Crystals and mix another gallon using it. Low and behold – the salinity was just right! We found our issue, thank goodness! So, now that we knew the solution we had to fix the problem with the holding tank. We completely drained the 10 gallon tank and discarded the water (outside, don’t throw this amount of salt water down your sink, it will corrode your fixtures and pipes). Then we mixed up about six gallons of new saltwater using the Reef Crystals to get our holding tank back to proper salinity. The temperature of the holding tank was high due to all the new water (you have to use some hot water to help dissolve the marine salt) so we left the lid off the holding tank to help cool it down quicker. Next came the second feeding of the day, finally the zoeae get some freshly hatched live artemia! 

Field notes:

  1. Baby brine shrimp feeding tip – turn off the lights and bubble, shine a flashlight in the jar so the brine shrimp swim to the side of the jar. Mush easier to fill your pipette to feed the zoeae
  2. Use ONLY Reef Crystal marine salt for breeding
  3. Work on documenting data daily – it is difficult to remember everything and get caught up

Heat- 83.7 F


July 5,2021

Salinity was a little high in the holding tank this morning, just 36ppt, so I just dumped about 3 cups of fresh water into the holding tank. Both kriesels were spot on, yay! At the end of the water change the holding tank settled down to 35ppt, perfect!  This morning the zoeae looked GREAT! We saw some greenish bellies, they must be enjoying the nanno, and some with orangish bellies, they are eating the baby brine/artemia. That is a really good sign of progression. They seemed feisty this morning during the change, and that’s a good thing. 

We have decided to alter our method in how we do water changes tonight to see if it can be even more streamlined to cut down on time. We will set up two water siphoning stations and each of us will siphon a kriesel and pipette babies back simultaneously. We are thinking that having two hands in the waste water jar is actually slowing us down a bit. We also relocated where the grow light sits so that we can turn it over our waste water jars for light rather than holding a flashlight. We hope this helps! We are feeding a little more than we have the past two days but not as much as the first two days…. Let’s hope this will be the perfect happy medium! 

We started a second live artemia hatchery because the zoeae are so small that they can only eat the newly hatched artemia. Therefore we need to continue hatching new artemia every couple of days. The afternoon went on without a hitch, all things are moving along nicely. Update on the new water change routine: It IS so much faster…. IF you have two complete sets of water changing supplies. We need two more glass waste water jars and another siphoning jug for this to truly help. Perhaps we will get those tomorrow. We fed the big crabs tonight too, and I’m sure they are super happy about that. Afterall we do have several mommy crabs taking care of a lot of baby eggs now – YAY! 

Field notes:

  1. If you have more than one person helping, set up two stations
  2. Place a light over the waste water station rather than use a flashlight
  3. Start the second artemia hatchery

Heat- 83.0 F


July 6,2021

Holding tank salinity was a bit high again this morning, so I added several cups of fresh water and that did the trick. The kriesel salinity was good, thankfully. We had two water change stations set up and WOW did that help! We completed the water change in thirty minutes!  The rest of the afternoon went well and we followed the schedule. We decided to feed a little bit more because the kriesels were looking very clean with little debris. 

The night water change was A DOOZY! Just when you think everything is going well, here comes a curve ball to keep you on your toes. Somehow the water in both the kriesels and the holding tank shot up to 85 – YIKES! That’s not really a dangerous temperature, but we were wanting to keep it closer to 83 degrees. We ended up putting in some cooler fresh water in the holding tank to bring down the salinity as well as helping to bring down the temperatures. We think the increased temperature was caused by the new location of the grow light (it gets pretty warm…). We set up the second water change station and therefore, moved the grow light to be centered on the kriesel/work table. This brought the light closer to the kriesel, and hence the higher temperatures. So, we will move the light back a bit and hopefully will not have that issue again. The water change was very difficult tonight. The zoea in kriesel one have begun shed #2, which is really exciting, but also makes the waste water really dirty and difficult to see the zoeae. On top of the food debris and sheds, the live artemia are also growing and swimming all around the jar. This makes it more difficult to see the zoeae as well. The zoeae in kriesel two seem to be about a half day behind in development. We saw a few sheds in the night time water change but not nearly as many as kriesel one. We aren’t sure if it was the higher temperatures, or just the stress of transitioning into stage 2 larval zoeae, but the babies were much more lethargic. They weren’t swimming as much and they were really staying on the bottom of the jar. Even during the siphoning they weren’t swimming towards the light as much or as quickly. Day seven was when things started turning ‘sour’ last summer with the Ecuadorian zoeae, so maybe we are just superimposing our fears on these guys, that is possible too. We ended the day feeling pretty low and discouraged. Hoping tomorrow is better! 

Field notes:

  1. Lights can cause the kriesel water to heat up, check heat throughout the day
  2. Warmer water “seems” to cause more lethargic behavior in zoeae
  3. Stage 2 Shed day begins! 
  4. Shed day water changes are difficult and take a long time!
  5. Eggs dropped on the sand seem behind in development by a half of a day

Heat- 85.0 F (lowered to 83 F)

Salinity-37ppt (lowered to 35 ppt)

July 7, 2021 

I was nervous to even look in the kriesel this morning. But, things looked okay. I saw a lot of zoeae swimming/floating around. We knew the water change this morning was going to be difficult and it was. Boy oh boy, shed days stink. We did a 50% water change and cleaned the whole kriesel (front and back) because of the sheds. It took almost two hours to complete this water change and that is with two stations running simultaneously. The live artemia are really in the way and make it so much more difficult. Just when we thought we had gotten all the babies pipetted out, nope… we would find more stuck in the debris around the edge of the jar. We are trying to stay positive! We definitely saw more color in the zoeae bellies, which was encouraging. The zoeae should be pooping, but what does day 7 zoeae poop look like? Maybe that is some of what the increase in debris is? The afternoon feedings went well and the zoeae look like they were swimming around.

Night time water change took about as long as the morning change. We did another 50% water change, mostly to play it safe, it is day seven after all! There were more sheds tonight but not as many. I suspect we will have a few more in the morning change in kriesel two. The zoeae looked more active, a bit bigger, and they can suspend in the middle of the water (tail up). There was a TON of live artemia, too big for the zoeae to eat. We spent a good amount of time during the water change trying to catch the artemia. I didn’t think to count the zoeae as I caught them in the waste water until I had already started. However, I did count 307 in my jar which was from kriesel two. I suspect we have at least double that since we only did a 50% water change and I was doing my best to avoid catching the zoeae. We didn’t count in kriesel one but there are definitely more in that kriesel as it is the one that has the properly spawned zoeae in it. Salinity was perfect in the holding tank – finally! The two kriesels were a bit high but because we were doing a big water change we didn’t try and bring it down. I bought a very large discard jug so that we wouldn’t have to leave the room to empty our waste water jars so many times, that was really nice!

Field notes:

  1. Clean front and back of the kriesel on shed days
  2. Wash the lids and edges of kriesel and holding tank – salt builds up
  3. Use a large discard jar/bucket to hold waste water during water changes
  4. Maybe day seven isn’t so bad after all! 

Heat- 82.7 F


July 8, 2021

Oh boy. Today was the day everything went wrong. We did a 25% water change this morning, it only took about an hour and a half. The krisels looked pristine clean after the change, or so we thought. 

As the day went on, we saw less and less zoeae swimming around in Krisel One. By the 5’oclock feeding, not a single one was suspended in the water. However, we did see tons on the bottom, like on day 7. We immediately called Mary in a panic, not sure what was going wrong. The krisels looked so clean! We thought something other than water quality was causing them to sink. We thought maybe the temperature was too high and lowered it to 81. Salinity, we lowered by spraying fresh water over the top of the krisel. We also thought maybe we didn’t feed enough and that the babies were hungry and lethargic due to the lack of food. Crazy to think after doing 4 feedings a day, but we were grasping at straws here! We fed them more food, and watched to see if they would eat. Nothing really happened. Though, we didn’t understand why the zoeae in Krisel Two seemed just fine. 

Our flashlights had been burning out, so we went to the store to buy some new ones that were brighter. 

We then got to the evening water change where we realized… The zoeae weren’t  hungry, the temperature and salinity was fine. Our theories were wrong. Our flashlights were too dim. We couldn’t see the sheds in the water and they were disintegrating into a sticky mess, causing the zoeae, food, and poop to stick to them. The zoeae were at the bottom because they COULDN’T MOVE. I cannot express the sadness we felt seeing this. We felt as if we were failing the zoeae. Nothing prepares you for the pain you feel when you see zoeae struggling to swim out of the accidental net you’ve made. Truly heartbreaking. Then to go through and try to free them one by one, unsure if you’re getting them all or if they’re going to be okay just adds to the stress. 

This does prove our theory, the Krisel Two Zoeae are about a half day- to a day behind. They hadn’t shed yet, so they aren’t stuck in the dissolved shed, which is why we haven’t seen as many problems with them today.  We spent hours getting the zoeae out of the muck at the bottom of the jars, not too hopeful that they would make it. They seemed pretty frail and lethargic. All we can do is hope that they will perk up tomorrow. We will do a big clean in the second krisel tonight as well, to hopefully prevent what happened with the Krisel One zoeae overnight. 

We are also going to try and do three water changes on shed days, and maybe even do full krisel clean outs if we have to, to keep these guys alive. However, the amount of mental, physical, and emotional strain that this does to you is immense. Especially when you realize that you have missed something big and they are suffering because of it. Now we believe that this is also the cause of our Ecuadorian deaths last summer, as well as the reason we didn’t see many deaths. They were caught in the shed mess, and we tossed them out unknowingly. No matter how devastating a day like this is, it is a good reminder to remember that we can progress forward with this new information in order to prevent it in the future. 

Field notes:

  • If you can’t see sheds, try getting a brighter flashlight. 
  • Clean the Sheds out in the morning of shed days, very well. You may have to do more than one water change. 
  • Check for sheds every single morning. 
  • Our new flashlights are 250 lumens, hopefully that is bright enough. 
  • Trust your gut, if you think the water is dirty, clean it out. 
  • Your krisel is not as clean as you think it is. To see how dirty it actually is, turn the lights off in the room and shine your bright flashlight into the krisel. (Before our flashlight wasn’t bright enough to truly see how dirty the krisel was) 
  • 3 Water Changes on Shed Days 
  • Shedding SUCKS! 
  • Zoeae are made to be in the ocean, they can stand water movement. To get them out of the gunk, you can use your pipette pushing water to move them around. 
  • On long water change days, consider a bubbler in the jar so the zoeae aren’t just sitting in still dirty water. 
  • Seriously, if your zoeae are not acting normal, try to figure out why. Don’t just leave them be the way they are. 
  • Give yourself a break, this is hard work. It is not likely that most of these zoeae make it in the wild as it is, with the ocean and food available. If you see losses, try to figure out why, but don’t take it too hard on yourself. This is all about learning and documenting so that we can do better the next time. 

Heat- 81.0 F


July 9, 2021

Not how we wanted to start day nine. When we went to the crab room for the morning feeding many of the babies were stuck on the bottom of the kriesel! It’s not the flashlights… although they are helpful to see more! We have some kind of sticky algae forming along the walls of the kriesels. This algae is not affecting the water quality as all of our parameters are good. The kriesels were CLEAN yesterday… looking brand new clean! We decided to do a 50% water change in both kriesels. The temperature is at 80F and salinity is at 33ppt. It took us four hours to pipette the zoeae out of the wastewater. They are alive in the algae, so it’s not a toxic kind of algae. They even seem to be eating it! However, once they touch the algae they are not able to leave it. It seems like they flick their tails to get away but can not. Eventually they get more of their bodies in the algae as they struggle and become completely stuck. We can use air, water, and the pipette and get them out of the algae as we suck them in and out several times. This is what took so long in the water change. 

The rest of the day we were very mindful of not feeding too much. Kriesel two zoeae seem to be shedding, as expected. The zoeae were not as active swimming around today, sadly. The evening water changes were just as difficult as the morning. We decided to do a 75% water change in both kriesels and use a paper towel to wipe down all the sides to make sure we were getting all the algae off the walls.  We are feeling very defeated, overly exhausted, and not very hopeful. Something is happening and we have no idea what it might be…. We are brainstorming with some amazing folks within the hermit crab breeding community. My gut feeling is that it has something to do with our tap water.

Field notes:

  1. Sticky algae is a death trap!
  2. Water changes are so exhausting
  3. What is causing the algae
  4. Watching baby zoeae trapped in algae is heartbreaking

Heat- 80.0 F


July 10, 2021

AHHHHH!!! ALL THE BABIES ARE STUCK AGAIN! The kriesels were CLEAN yesterday… looking brand new, clean! This morning, only 7 hours after finishing the last cleaning, they have algae again and the zoeae are stuck in it. This is not only frustrating but completely heart breaking. Nonetheless, we get to work! We have so few zoeae left in kriesel one that we decide to completely empty it. I believe that once the algae is present in the tank, it is the end of the attempt. Even though we can spend hours trying to rescue the zoeae from the algae, it seems the sticky algae film stays on them. They can not get out of the algae, which means that they can not shed, which means that they can not grow. I’m beginning to really believe our problem is with our tap water. The more I research online, the more I learn how common this type of algae problem is in the saltwater reef community. The number one solution I read about was to use RO water (reverse osmosis). I don’t have access to that kind of water right now so the second suggestion was to try distilled water.  We decided to try using distilled water in kriesel one and returned the zoeae after almost 8 hours of trying to free them from the algae. Kriesel two also got a complete water change and we returned the zoeae to that kriesel using the holding tank water. We didn’t want to change all zoeae to the distilled water since we have no experience using it or what effect it may have on the zoeae. We spent a total of 12 hours working with the zoeae and kriesel today, all three of us working the whole time. It was a completely exhausting day. We still have some zoeae alive, but not many. Day eleven is on the horizon and it’s not looking good. 

Field notes:

  1. Something is wrong with our tap water
  2. RO water is recommended but distilled water is second best choice
  3. Water changes do not stop the algae


Heat- 80.0 F


July 11, 2021

The dreaded day eleven is here, and it is in fact, once again, the end to our breeding attempt. The fact that the same cycle of events has now happened consistently – to the day – tells me that it is not an overfeeding issue, or from poor water quality due to water changes. I am now convinced that it is not something we have been doing wrong or that we could ever change and keep from happening. We are using methods that have proven to be successful. We are using products, exact same products, that have proven to be successful. We are following a routine that has proven to be successful. We are being mentored by someone who has been successful. It’s not the process that is failing. It’s not us.

The distilled water did not work. It created a winter storm effect in the kriesel. We had white debri so thick that there was no transparency in the kriesel and the bottom was also covered in a fluffy white snow. I’m not sure what we did wrong with the distilled water, but we were in a panic and didn’t do enough research on how to mix it properly. 

At the close of this attempt we took a vile of kriesel water and a vile of tap water to be tested. The kriesel water quality parameters were spot on. The calcium was on the high end of ‘normal’ though. However, the calcium in our tap water is VERY HIGH. Normal ranges are 0-132 for the USA. Our calcium content is at 340! I am now 100% convinced that our tap water is the cause of our algae issue. I’m going to do some more research on this and come up with a solution before our next attempt… which is coming up within a few weeks! We learned about some exciting new breeding methods during CrabCon that we plan to try during our next attempt.  

We took a vacation to decompress, research, and discuss what to do next.

Field notes:

  1. Do not use tap water from central Texas for tanks that will not be fully cycled
  2. There has to be more to using distilled water… it shouldn’t look like winter in the tank
  3. Sticky algae is a no win situation
  4. CrabCon is the place to learn the newest/cutting edge stuff!
  5. Vacation is a great place to decompress and rest