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Both of the land babies are now in black turbo shells so I can’t tell them apart anymore, but both are still happily climbing and eating. Numbers are down somewhat in the kreisels (predation) and a few of the megalopa that I moved to the transition tank are still looking good and strong. Also set up an intermediate tank just as an experiment. Some of the stage five that looked very ready to transition to megalopa (they get sort of bulgy and pregnant looking with all those extra legs ready to pop out…and/or their eyes start to get farther apart) I moved into that intermediate tank. It’s a 2 1/2 gallon beta tank with sand and shells in the bottom and about 3” of heated and aerated saltwater. The idea being that they will have more camouflage and places to hide and will hopefully be better able to transition without getting eaten. After they are megalopa I can move them to the transition tank. So, yeah, I lied when I said it got easier today, because I made another tank for me to monitor. Doh! Let’s see… that’s how many now? 1) big tank 2) kreisel #1 3) kreisel #2 4) transition tank 5) baby tank and now 6) the intermediate tank. Oh, and two mason jars of brine shrimp I have to keep warm, aerated, and hatching and spaced out so there’s overlap. Yowza. My crab room is full of air pumps, heaters, lights, and bubblers. 😜...

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I’ve set up the transition tank and moved a few zoeae over just as an experiment. I’m having a weird issue that isn’t currently a huge problem but it does concern me. Lots of the stage five zoeae are transitioning into megalopa, which is good, BUT the other ones that are still at stage five appear to be attacking and eating the megalopa as they are molting so that I’m only seeing dead ones. I currently have way too many zoeae in the tank, so it’s not a problem to lose a few, but it just seems weird. Last time, it was the megalopa that were eating the stage five, which makes a lot more sense to me. I don’t know if the fact that my population of survivors is so much higher this time around is part of the issue, or what. There’s no other obvious reason that I can discern. I’m feeding mostly newly hatched brine shrimp since they are losing interest in the other stuff. Also did a full clean of both kreisels today. The two already on land are okay as far as I can tell. Saw the one in the little dark turbo shell, but didn’t see the one in the spiral shell. Gave them their first popcorn and it was like Mount Rushmore to them—the big rock popcorn mountain. Ha! Also tried a tiny dab of organic, grass fed ground beef. Didn’t see any interest in that. May remove it before I go to bed. Still keeping them alive, but really ready for it to start to wind...

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Still good. Eating in the food dish—spirulina, dried brine shrimp, dragon fruit powder, and powdered cuttlebone. Still no megalopa in the kreisels, but I feel like tomorrow will be the day that I will see the first one. Just trying to keep ahead of the sheds and the poo. Mostly succeeding. Lots of cannibalism again (must be the stage) but numbers are so high still I’m not concerned. I wish I had some way to know how often they will be molting on land. It’s happened at least once, but I’m not even sure how long molts take when they are this tiny, if they tunnel down, or what their molting behavior looks like. They are super difficult to keep track of at this size. If I catch them out and about, I feel lucky. Otherwise, I let them do their thing. They are way too tiny to handle without hurting them. I’ve been struggling to come up with some common object to give as a size reference (since pictures don’t accurately convey their size) and the best I can think of is a peppercorn. Shell and all, he is smaller than a...

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Still plugging along, just hanging out on a rose petal. No megalopa yet in the kreisels. Still a poop-a-palooza party in there. Hopefully we’ll have the first megalopa soon. Got the transition tank cleaned and ready. I keep turning ideas over in my mind for how to streamline this process and make it easier/faster/more efficient for myself and others. I tried pouring the water through a small fishnet (didn’t catch the sheds—they just went right through the netting), I tried pantyhose on the end of the siphon—but then the sheds don’t get removed and that’s super important to water quality, and I tried hovering the siphon in the “dead zone” where the waste tends to circulate, but I got tons of zoeae that way, and it’s such a monumental pain to pipette them out of the wastewater and back into the kreisel that I would rather spend the time (and crank my neck for fifteen minutes) to avoid getting them in the first place (as much as is...

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And I’m officially beyond exhausted. Kreisels are still good–they are pooping SO MUCH! And it’s multicolored poo, just like adult crabs—influenced by what they are eating. Each poo looks like a little tiny stinger from a bee and so it looks like the water is filled with beard stubble from a man who has a beard that grows in black, brown, and red. The dark megalopa with the wonky legs was dead this morning. He never did take a shell despite hours of me trying and encouraging him to by placing them near him and even isolating him with shells on two different days. On the bright side, at least I can clean the transition tank tomorrow. I should be needing it for the newer batch soon. Saw one of the on-land babies a couple of times today (the one in the spiral shell). He looked good. Didn’t see the other one, but I’m not about to go looking and smash him or accidentally bury him. They are so freaking small and hard to see that going into their tank even to change out food is terrifying. In the kreisels I’ve had three shed days in a row now. Losing my mind over that. I’m not sure why no one else who wrote about this process ever mentioned shed days. Maybe they didn’t keep enough in the tank to notice them? Maybe they just thought the water was murky? But with my bright light, they are clearly sheds—thousands of them. And trying to siphon them up is like playing the worst game of Fruit Ninja you can imagine. And it’s always the bonus round where you have bombs and apples and everything all flying at you simultaneously. (I’ve never actually played fruit ninja—I’m just guessing from what I know about it. But really any bonus round on any video game would work as an analogy. Just imagine everything looks alike, with only slight differences, they’re all moving fast and similarly, and you have to distinguish which is which in a split second.) It’s kind of fun the first six or so times you do it. A real challenge. I’m a zoeae ninja!! But I’ve been playing this darn game for an hour or two at a time, three times a day (or more) for the past 53 days. I want to be done!! And thankfully, I almost am. I just keep telling myself that the water-only, molting-every-couple -of-days stage is nearly complete. It cannot come soon...

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Not much to report today. Did a full clean of the kreisels, always time consuming for me and stressful for the zoeae, but the tanks had gotten filthy, so it was time. Lots of big zoeae that MUST be stage five. Zipping around, doing loop-de-loops, generally being difficult as I try to pipette them up to return to the tanks. Whenever one avoids me especially vigorously, I always think, “Well that one has a strong will to live!” The stubborn, dark megalopa with the wonky legs still refused to select a shell despite me isolating him, rearranging shells around him, and hand feeding him defrosted brine shrimp…diva crab. He also REALLY liked it when I took one of the dead zoeae and offered it to him. He was all over that. Much more of a scavenger than a hunter, perhaps because of his leg issues. Here’s hoping he finds a shell that meets his expectations tomorrow. 🤞🏼 The two in the mini tank continue to look good. I gave them a small cork hide, but found them snuggled together under the rose petal instead. I guess I don’t have to worry about them trying to eat each...

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