By Diane Ako
Sad news to report: the gallon tank of opae ula had a system crash. I transferred them from their flower vase to the new tank, and they died a few at a time, over three days. I tried to stop it but nothing I did worked.
This served to feed my compulsion as a shrimp owner. I would worry about them at work, talk about them to my friends, and research shrimps for a half hour at night, in my free time, before I went to sleep.
At first, we had a burial in the yard. Olivia and I took the first few shrimp out and had a mini-ceremony. Claus and Jul happened to be home and chose to attend the last rites. It was a decent turnout.
However, over the next couple of days more and more would die. One morning I woke up and six died overnight. I was quite bummed.
Two were left alive; one, barely. One big one was swimming around looking normal, the other was lying on its side, convulsing. (That's how the others looked before they died, too.)
I pulled them out and put them back in the old vase, which I hadn't cleaned out yet. I mixed a fresh batch of brackish water and put them in. To my relief, the sick one rehabilitated! From lying on its side paralyzed, it managed over the hour to stand up and start trying to do normal shrimp things (swim, eat).
When I returned home, it was doing even better. It was swimming more. I've been monitoring him in the days since and I think his nervous system is still (permanently?) impaired, as he swims erratically- jolting, like a stroke victim. To my surprise, he is a fire red and doesn't seem to change color anymore. I wonder if the trauma he suffered affected his ability to camoflauge?
I feel badly about injuring sentient beings. I can't believe I killed 23 shrimp!
The gallon tank sits empty now. I'm sure I'll fill it up again soon, but not immediately. Let me see if Will & Bill make it through the week.