I've done this once before, but it's been a really long time. It still strikes me as really awesome. Everyone knows you can buy stuff online. But I don't think most people realize you can buy pets online. And I don't mean "look online, then go pick up in person." I mean buy online, pay online, next day air box. Well maybe you can't do this with real pets, but fortunately for me, I have an aquarium. A bona fide saltwater marine tank (that's redundant, but whatever). Only I'm not exactly very good about changing the water all the time so all sorts of algae have moved in. Plus the heat wave this summer killed off at least two snails, and it's been a while since I've had any fire shrimp which are the whole reason I got a salt water aquarium in the first place. So Tuesday night I spent a few hours online price shopping between marinedepot.com and liveaquaria.com (the latter won) and picking out about $150 worth of aquatic life, consisting entirely of
2x Fire Shrimp
5x Chestnut Turbo Snail
5x Turbo Snail
3x Dwarf Red Tip Hermit Crab
4x Peppermint Shrimp (they were all sold out of spearmint, sadly)
5x Nassarius Snail
5x Cerith Snail
2x Emerald Crab
4x Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab
10x Astraea Turbo Snail
Now I profess to not really being sure what each specific snail type does (and in fact I can only tell three of them apart, and only name one). I think my general strategy was that I have a lot of different types of algae, so let's get a lot of different types of snails to eat the various things.
So fast-forward to today, when the packages showed up. Ironically, I worked from home today so I could be present to sign for the packages, and they were delivered during the one hour I was at work for a meeting. Good thing I left a note.
Let's open this puppy up! (Oh wow, these pet-in-the-mail jokes literally write themselves, don't they?)
Free Styrofoam coolers!
Inside the coolers are bags of fish, just like you'd get in the pet store. Only they're sealed a bit better (and I think I read somewhere that they use oxygen in the bags). And a few are double-bagged, and there's a couple which apparently don't like to look at each other in dark bags so they can't see anything.
I hold up the bags and eyeball the contents, trying to determine whether the bag does indeed contain 5 snails, and if so, which set of five snails it is. The futility of this is quickly realized and we move on to the next step, floating!
The bags float in the aquarium for 15 minutes to bring their temperature up to the water temperature. After the allotted time is up, into the bucket everyone goes.
The instructions that came with everything indicated the acclimatization process should "take no longer than two hours" in the instructions from the first box, and "take no longer than one hour" in instructions that came in the second box. One box came from Miami and the other from Los Angeles, so I'm not really sure what that says about either city. But guess what? There are like 20 bags here and I only have one bucket. So into the bucket everyone goes. (In retrospect, there's no way the Californians had the same water as in Miami, so maybe I should have had two batches for each time zone. Ah well.)
Then the IV drop starts. Dripping 2-4 drops of tank water per second (actually a little more because of the relatively huge amount of water in the bucket) to bring the salinity, alkalinity, and similaritinity of the bucket water closer to the tank water. This continues until the bucket contains 75% tank water, at which point the net comes out and we transfer the guys into the tank.
This is a rose bubble tip anemone. Sharp readers out there like yourself will refer back to the list at the beginning of this post and notice the anemone wasn't on the list. And you'll be absolutely right -- I've had this anemone long enough that it's undergone asexual reproduction and now I have two (which is really awesome, since they're $100 each at the store). But it turns out that taking pictures of snails, especially through algae coated glass (because they haven't eaten it all yet), is just not that exciting. But you can still see all the photos if you really want.