This video shows the fashionista crablet from that first spawn who keeps switching shells. He/she is now 77 days old, getting some color, and the antennae are working overtime.
There are also now 66 teeny tiny babies in shells from the two later spawns. They are in the land tank as of 7:30 tonight. And when I say teeny tiny, I mean SERIOUSLY teeny tiny—not just your average teeny tiny. It’s nerve wracking even trying to pick them up. The plastic tweezers I have grip really well, but it’s still hard to get the pressure just right—firm enough so that you don’t drop them, but soft enough so that you don’t squish their fragile little shells and see-through bodies. But they are coming out of the water quickly now, and regularly. It’s like The March of the Penguins in there. The number 66 astounds me and even scares me a little.
I will likely try this all again next year in hopes of getting an easier system down. My crabs are reliable late-summer-only breeders so I have a year to decide, but I’m pretty certain I’ll give it a go again. My long-term goal is to get the process down to a number of reliable steps that anyone can do. A (relatively) foolproof system would be a success and the more attempts I make the better I can refine the methods for those that follow me.