By Diane Ako
Reader Tess asked me to update the status of the opae ula. Well, Tess, thanks for asking.
They're the same as at last check: I have the original group living in the ten gallon tank, and I don't feed them anymore because there is a lot of algae growing on the glass.
I started with about 175 shrimp, which started breeding after about a year. As they hit their breeding peak, I would sometimes see about 12 berried females swimming around, and dozens of juveniles floating vertically.
I guesstimate there are probably 500 or so shrimp living in the tank now, of all life stages. That's good. It's a healthy population. Now that they've hit population density I no longer see berried shrimp, but I do always see a batch or two of newly hatched larvae floating around.
I started a second unit, initially in a ceramic flower pot. I wanted to experiment with the substrate and conditions to mimic what I thought might be the conditions of the natural anchaline pond habitat. I postulated that since the pot walls are opaque, it would encourage breeding in cave-like conditions.
I used abalone shells rather than coral rock as the substrate, wondering if the rough exterior would pacify the shrimps. Plus, it's pretty to view from atop.
Nothing happened with the shrimp after about six months, and then the pot cracked and leaked, so I did that all-too-common "temporary permanent" thing. I grabbed a five gallon plastic bucket from the garage and used it as a stopgap measure, with the intent to buy a pretty pot later. Later has never arrived.
It's been about a year and the shrimp are not yet breeding in the bucket. I'm not sure if it's the wrong substrate, the wrong environment, or plastic leaching chemicals into the water, but nothing is happening. I'll just keep waiting.
Meantime I've created a dozen or so shrimp bowls for friends or my desk, and because the shrimp are hardy, they thrive.
So that's my shrimp update - if you have an idea as to why they're not breeding in the bucket, please comment! Thanks!