Archive for May, 2013

Opae ula breeding

May 17th, 2013

We've hit critical mass in the shrimp tank. Yay! I looked in there this week and there are roughly four dozen babies floating vertically. It looks like red rain.


For a couple months, whenever I look in there, there are at least five or six pregnant shrimp with huge clutches - like 15 or 20 eggs. There will be at least a few more that have smaller (half hatched?) clutches.


These numbers are up from early March, the first time I noticed the hatchlings. At that time there were only eight or ten babies and maybe three or four pregnant shrimp at a time.

From what I understand on the limited research, the larvae float vertically using a yolk sac for nutrition for their first ten days of life, then they swim horizontally after that and look like a very miniature version of the adults. I read that they hide in the rocks for a while.

In April I hadn't seen many babies or juveniles and I was wondering if they died, but in early May two things happened. The juveniles came out of hiding so now I see a few crawling on the rocks, and there has been an explosion of larvae.

Every other day this week I've looked in the tank and it seems that a new clutch has hatched - growing the population about a dozen at a time. It's hard to count because they're so small it plays trick on my eyes, but it is a lot.

I could be a lot more detailed about this with notes and exact dates, but I just don't have the time to maintain my hobby that way, so I'll have to go with rough estimates.

Meanwhile, I've started a breeding tank. It's actually a large ceramic pot I got for $8 from Ross and it has no hole in the bottom.


I specifically thought about this vessel because I wanted something that would give the shrimp more darkness in which to mate. The success of my shrimp hatching seems to correlate with me adding more coral rocks to the tank.


I added more rocks in December 2012 and within a couple months the eggs finally started hatching. I had seen berried females for much of 2012 but no eggs hatched.

In this new tank, I've used a different substrate: abalone shells. I had easy access to shells, and I felt that their rough exterior texture would sufficiently mimic the coral rock, plus they would fall into positions that also create many small hiding spaces.

I used about 75 shells and organized the top layer so the iridescent nacre faced up. It's pretty to look at.


Five shrimp are now swimming endless laps in their new home. For now, they're my testers to see if I created the correct conditions for life.

More to come on the breeding program...

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I want my mommy

May 15th, 2013

Poor Olivia. She's so attuned to shifts in our schedule. Is this because we're very close since I was home all or most of the time for her first three years of life?

I've been working a lot for the past few months. Early mornings, late nights, weekends. I'm not sure why it's so busy. Maybe the economy is picking up so more people can travel or book events.

Claus is a super dedicated dad, but she is a Mommy's Girl.

Apparently, she tells the teacher every day "I want my mommy." She revealed this to me yesterday.

"Every day?" I asked in amazement? She used to do this in preschool, too.

"Yes. Or sometimes I want to say it to her but I can't," she said.

Aww. So young and tender and attached. I felt bad.

I clarified with the teacher that it's only cropped up lately. I pieced together that it's coincided with my very busy work period.

That's the working mother's guilt. There will be periods of work like this. There will be guilt trips like this.

Should I address this with Olivia or should I do something extra-nice for her this weekend?

Mother's Day gift

May 13th, 2013

Someone was very proud of the gift she had made for me for Mother's Day. GiftS, plural,  should say.

My favorite portrait of me

My favorite portrait of me

When she came home from school on Friday, she presented me a brown bag and some assorted cards. "Open it!" she insisted.

I told her Mother's Day was Sunday, but she wanted me to see it now. I gave in.

My absolute favorite was the portrait of Mom as seen through Olivia's eyes. I have never seen an image of me I like more.

I also love the phonetically spelled note inside: (I love you because) "You let me sleep in your bed. Mom I love you because you help fold my clothes. And you walk me to school."


She wanted me to know it was drawn with NO help from the teacher, and that my hair (which I cut short last week) is heart shaped on purpose because it represents how she loves me. Aww!

There was another, supplemental card, which must have been done with even less supervision, because it's even more phonetically spelled. The guesses at the words is really funny and cute. I LOVE how she confuses b and d, which as you'll see in the photo below, can make it a little harder to translate, even for the parent.


"Dear Mom Happy Mother's Day! I like that you let me sleep in your bed. I like that you cook dinner. I like that you help me when I fall down."

The word for "dinner" is my favorite, followed closely by "fall down." At first I was like, I cook you beer?

This is such an awesome gift. I gave her three big hugs and told her how fantastic she is.

What is your best Mother's Day gift?

Mr. Tilapia

May 10th, 2013

My high school classmates organized a fishing excursion at an old Hawaiian fishpond in Haleiwa, Loko Ea. It's owned by our high school, so we received permission to throw nets there one Sunday.


It's currently undergoing some restoration and volunteers are needed to help clean it up. I don't know much about this, but as it impacted my weekend, I understand that we were catching only the invasive tilapia fish, and throwing back the other fish that live in the pond.

Therefore, it counts as community service because the owners want to remove invasive species, and we wanted to eat fish from clean waters.


I brought my family out one morning to help do this. The plan was to catch 100 tilapia, clean them right there, and then freeze it for later use for our high school reunion in June. (We had 365 in our graduating class.)

My best girlfriend Jen - who graduated with me - came out as well. I had been looking forward to jumping in the water, but I changed my mind on that cold, rainy morning. Lame, I know. Olivia and I watched from shore as people waded in the mud in the knee-high water throwing nets.

After a couple hours, we had enough to start cleaning the fish. I did not really remember how to clean a fish. It has been years.

I learned from a fireman I once dated (you know the firemen are so nature-y) but cleaning the occasional fish that he'd catch for dinner did not imprint the skills on my brain. I am now an urban softie who buys pre-gutted fish from the store.


However, I saw this as a chance to learn, so I willingly joined the lineup where Jen taught me.

My surprising revelations of the day: You need a very sharp knife to gut it, and gloves are handy because the fins are sharp and the fish is slippery.


The scaling part, I remember how. Pulling out the guts did not bother me, but here is a fascinating discovery. Tilapia are mouth brooders!


Babies inside the fish

Babies inside the fish


I looked in one fish's cavity and saw little babies left in there! It was really interesting for everyone that day!


I must have cleaned 30 fish. I certainly hope I'll remember how, after this.

Like a dog

May 8th, 2013

The children in Olivia's class are graded on behavior every day. They get a green, yellow, or red light based on how well they behaved. You can guess that green = good and red = bad.

She came home from school and revealed that she got a yellow light. She gets way too many yellow and red lights.

"Why did you get a yellow light today?" we asked.

She knows she did wrong, and she is always contrite - though my adult brain can never understand why it's so hard to just sit there and be good. "I don't want to tell you or you'll be mad," she replied.

"I think you should or we will get mad," we said.

"I was crawling like a dog," came the answer. "I was trying to be funny." She likes to get laughs.

Here is that part where we try not to laugh so that we look really serious. "You have to stop crawling like a dog in class," I lectured. The things that come out of my mommy mouth.

"You have to listen to the teacher when she tells you to do something, or stop doing something," Claus reminded.

The babysitter happened to be over already. We hire a 21-year-old to come two nights a week. She has a wealth of experience because for a few years she's worked as the after-school program staffer.

While I'm still marveling at the silly things kids dream up, the sitter was totally nonplussed. "You'd be amazed at how many kids crawl like dogs. And how many other kids bark to them in dog language. And how they'll carry on a conversation in barking until we tell them to stop," she offered.

This is a bigger zoo than the real zoo. I guess I was the only one surprised because Claus said, "Sure. Just last week, Olivia and Kira spent two hours pretending they were cats."


I guess I will only have to worry when she starts eating the pet food.

No, wait. That's happened already, too.

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