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Monday, October 24, 2005

Shrimp with Eggs

Our glass shrimp has eggs.

To the horror of our cats, we set up a 10 gallon aquarium a couple months ago, and have populated it with a Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens), a Candy-stripe Plecostomus (Peckoltia platyrhyncha) and two Glass Shrimp - aka "Ghost Shrimp" - (Palaemonetes kadiakensis) . The smaller of these two shrimps died last week - of old age? of a broken heart? of terror? who knows? The larger one - whom we call "the larger one" - this weekend was seen clutching a mass of tiny greenish spheres to her abdomen. We assumed - and after a bit of research this seems to be the case - these must be eggs. My wife and I are monitoring the tank carefully in shifts, employing the large magnifying glass that came with my Oxford English Dictionary, for any changes in the situation.

My first aquarium-keeping experiences were when I was about 10 or 12. My mum and I kept a 20 gallon aquarium. A friend of hers sold it to us, with all the fixings, for a token $20. We kept no-fuss community tank fish - swordtails, corydoras - and we bred guppies, selecting colors and styles we liked, studying the black-bellied pregnant females, frantically transferring them to a tiny breeder tank when they suddenly began to drop their fry. We went to a guppy enthusiasts convention together.

So far, our shrimp seems content to cradle the eggs in her swimmerets, juggling them occasionally to keep water flowing circulating around them, but has exhibited no other behaviorial changes.

The suspense is unbearable.

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