The Once-ler

Jean suggested the turkey baster with mine and the first brood (only 6) were somewhat reasonable but the second were a real chore. I tried large opening (even cut a plastic one to make it larger), small openings, glass and plastic and the little devils just attached and would not come out so I would have to keep sucking up water until they finall gave in. Not so bad with 6 but with 50 or more, I gave up on the baster for octo capture.

AM says the tinies are far easier to release but they are probably much harder to catch as the large egged mercs would go to the glass almost immediately. Maybe John can come up with some kind of corral to herd them into so that you can catch them easier.
big tank better than kriesel?!

This morning there are still a ton of babies in the big parent tank, but only a couple in the kriesel. Some of them got stuck in the dead spots under the baffles because there were gaps they could get into and get stuck and die. John also wonders about the VOCs and such that just didn't have time to leach out because we were rushed. Also, I think that we had the flow cranked up a bit too high for a while. It's difficult to tell when it's all experimental... The cool thing is that this tank does do what it was designed to! However, we have to drain and reseal the kriesel no matter what, because the H2O will foul where we can't get to the dead guys.

That leaves me with the 100(?) or so still in the big tank. They are doing great! The wedge shaped tank is working well, the curtain of bubbles along the front curve seems to hold their food like a bubble net. I don't see them go after the brine shrimp much, but the "rotifeast" is thick and floats on the top and they go for it immediately. The octos are able to swim down then into the bubble curtain and ride up to the surface. Watching them you'd swear they're doing it on purpose. They are strong enough to swim through the bubbles if they want, and it seems that during the day they spend a lot of time on the sides hunting the critters.

I now have some decisions to make... As mentioned I need to abort and repair the kreisel, this is a given. I do NOT want to mess with with the "bubble net," but I know that is not good for the Once-ler. And speaking of, I haven't seen one sign of her. Will she come out of her den to die? How long do I wait? I haven't even tried to feed her since Wed. because she seemed to quit taking food. Any thoughts?

The other thing is that THE FILTER HAS BEEN OFF SINCE WED NIGHT!!! I checked H2O parameters this morning and have only a slight elevation in nitrates (5.0 ppm). I am thinking of covering the intake with a nylon, lowering the output to create a flow along the bottom. Then only run the filter a couple hours a day, alternating on and off with feeding so I don't filter out all of their food. I'm nervous about messing with what is working, but it will only work as long as the H2O is good... What to do, what to do???
Hmmm... I think your water parameters would be ok, at least until Once-ler dies and fouls the tank... If it was only the babies, then I would say don't turn the filter on, but you don't know the status of mom. I agree that you should leave the babies where they are, especially if you see feeding behavior. Can you post a picture of your set-up?
parent tank- 72 hours and counting

So this is where the babies are living. The blue strip you see along the bottom of the tank is the air bubble rope creating the arc of bubbles that the babies are riding on. It is stupidly simple. The only things on in the tank are the heater, air bubbles and lights during the day.

Yes, there is more risk for the babies in here. I do see them chase each other, but haven't seen any actually cannibalism. Occasionally I see one get stuck in a piece of live rock or macroalgae- sometimes they come out and sometimes they don't. Usually when they bump into the bottom or other stuff they swim away, though. For the most part they really are able to stay in the H2O column, drifting half the time and actively swimming the other. I think the H2O quality is better though because of the natural clean up crew (brittle stars and bristle worms) and live rock.

Today it was cloudy outside and I noticed less congregation on the front of the tank and more at the surface, closest to the greater source of light. For fun this evening I turned the lights out in the tank and in the room, the babies were evenly dispersed throughout the H2O column. I set a bright flashlight on the top of the glass for a few minutes, then fed them their soup of baby brine shrimp and rotifeast. I'm sure they had concentrated in the light, and it was easy to see them eating! I'm going to follow the same pattern from now on- even if they aren't really more attracted to the light, it will be fun to see if they can at least be trained for feeding time.


  • conv_293405.jpg
    2.7 MB · Views: 107
  • conv_293406.jpg
    2.5 MB · Views: 82
Can you change out more the water rather than turn on the filter? The bubble net should not negatively effect Once-ler in any way. If nothing else it is increasing the gas exchange. If she comes out and trys to swim in the bubbles, there MAY be a negative effect but I suspect this is not something to worry about. There is no reason not to try and feed her and she may be eating the soup you are feeding the young. Somewhere in Trapper's journal there is a video of Trap eating the Cyclop-eze almost directly from my pipette. She had quit eating solid foods but I noticed arms flailing when I fed the babies and finally realized (duh) that she was eating the stuff that floated in the tank.

Trapper and two of my males came out in the open during their last days, however, Miss Broody (who remated and tried to brood a second time) and two others (all mercs) as well as AM's female did not leave their dens and were impossible to find and remove so there is no telling what Once-ler will do. If you can get her eating again, it may increase your chances of having her come out and may extend her life (but don't get your hopes up). Since Once-ler is fairly large, the absence of ammonia is a good sign (I never saw water problems when the little mercs just "disappeared" but AM did when his female expired under the rocks).

Nancy has mentioned that this info needs to go in our subthread on babies. What I would like to suggest is that after a week, you post a bullet list on the hatch times (moon phase for both brood start and hatching might be an interesting bullet) and temps (your first so you get to set the template on what you would like to have had from others when you started and a link to this thread (the world with a piece of chain link at the top of the edit box let you add a link - if you highlight a word and then click it, the word is all that is displayed and is clickable). By having a summery that is quick to review and a full journal link, I think we will finally have the best of both ideas that is easily locatable.
Once-ler and her babies still alive!

The Once-ler has removed the shells that kept me from seeing into her den. She is there, but seems to be "breathing" very heavily. I offered her food and some arms came out to grab for it but then gave up. I pushed the shrimp into her den she must have blown it out because it's worm food now. I am happy just to have seen her and that I'll know when she's died.

The babies are still in there doing their thing! I'm feeding them the same stuff for now. I am thinking it is time to start paying attention to how much and how often I'm actually feeding them. I'm so going on nothing but gut here- finding a balance between food in the H2O column and the H2O quality. I checked the water this morning and everything is spot on, even the nitrates were 0 today. So I'm okay with checking the quality daily and doing water changes often until I see signs of things going bad. We do, of course, have a plan for modifying and directing water flow when we do hook back up!:sagrin:
4 full days...

Tonight is 4 days from hatching. I did a water change today, 5 gal out of about 50- the tank isn't full to capacity. The Once-ler waved to me a few times when I waved to her, and reached an arm out from her den while I was working. It's nice to know she still recognizes me:smile:. I don't really expect her to make it through the night, though.

There are about 50 babies or so, it's so hard to tell. I'll think there aren't many left and on further inspection find twice as many as I thought. They are so transparent, but they do turn red sometimes. I continue to see aggression, but only in a few individuals, always one chasing any other in it's way. Others will bump into each other and just swim away peacefully. I continue to see them catching the baby brine and rotifeast. They also continue to seem to cluster in the brightest spots, perhaps because that is where the food is most dense.

We'll just see what tomorow brings!
The light will definitely bring the brine so your theory holds water. It would also mean that they are directing their swimming and not just floating about.

With Joefish's briareus he could see marks on the mantles of the ones that got nipped (large egged, known cannibalistic young) but not at first. It seemed that they almost suddenly turned cannibalisitic (about the day we arrived, making them about a week old).

Joe also recorded that Conanny started eating again after the young hatched so keep trying to feed Once-ler. She may be eating some of the baby food so you might try targeting her with a pipette if she won't eat a full sized meal.
The Once-ler lurks no more

Well, she made it through the night and died this afternoon. She had been laboring to breathe and her arms would writhe and twitch, then she was still. She was still in the den, with her head out but arms tangled throughout the piece of rock. So her den became her coffin and I buried her in the back yard, just where I've been planning to put a lilac next spring.:smile:

For those of you who don't know the book, the Once-ler is a character from "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss. The message of the Once- ler is UNLESS. "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not." I hadn't intended any "deep meaning" when I chose the name. Now, I feel really proud to belong to a community of people who "Care a whole awful lot," it doesn't really matter if it is for the cephs themselves or our won selfish desire to live with such magnificent creatures.

So the babies are still there. More on them later, after I have dried my tears and made dinner (humans don't want baby brine and rotifeast). Should I continue their progress here or on the egg thread?
RIP Once-ler, :angelpus: and I :fingerscrossed: that the kids are alright and kept in Truffulas for a long time...
RIP Once-ler :angelpus:

Thanks for documenting her life so well. I always reading your journal.

As for the future, I'm thinking that you should continue in the egg thread, and we may want to move some of the egg and hatchling posts over there, too. Be sure to include a link back to this thread.

You're doing well with your hatchlings!

Sponsor Banner
please support our sponsor
advertise on TONMO

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.