Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sea Monkey Update, Fall 2007

About the only downside to keeping Sea Monkeys is that—to use one of my favorite phrases—in the fullness of time their little Ocean Zoo aquarium gets to looking very grungy. The bottom becomes covered with dead Sea Monkeys and cast off shells and uneaten food. The walls becomes covered with whatever kind of algae manages to grow in such salty water. It’s possible to scrap the walls a little, but then the stuff just falls to the bottom and joins that mess and the clean streaks make the rest of the walls look even dirtier. And it’s possible to use the official Sea Monkey plastic siphon (yes, I have one) to siphon away the mess from the bottom, but then you have to replace the water with equally salty water and none of their documentation ever actually spells out the salinity level.

Just over a year ago I thought I’d worked out a solution to the dirty Ocean Zoo problem.

The official Sea Monkey handbook says that if you let the water evaporate completely, all the salts will remain, dried as crystals on the inside of the container. You can just re-fill the container with water and Sea Monkey eggs—which by their nature survive dry spells—will hatch and a whole new generation will be born.

I decided I’d try out that procedure. But I planned to have a second Ocean Zoo aquarium standing by, all clean and with freshly mixed Sea Monkey water. When the new generation hatched, I would siphon up the youngsters and transfer them to the new Ocean Zoo. Then I could thoroughly wash out the dirty Ghostly Galleon.

So, early last Summer I let my Ghostly Galleon Ocean Zoo evaporate completely, leaving just dried residue on the inside walls. I put the container away and, while I was waiting, I purchased a second Ocean Zoo. (I couldn’t find another Ghostly Galleon, so I got a classic red Ocean Zoo.)

Now that the hot part of Summer is over, I decided to try and re-animate the dried out container of Sea Monkeys.

I added bottled water and waited. And waited. And waited.

Nothing happened. No new births. I waited seven days, but none of the (presumably present) Sea Monkey eggs ever hatched.

So, I called that procedure a failure. I emptied out the Ghostly Galleon Ocean Zoo and washed it out completely.

I still liked the idea of alternating dirty Ocean Zoos with clean ones, so I hatched a fresh population of Sea Monkeys in the newly clean Ghostly Galleon Ocean Zoo. After a few months, when the Ocean Zoo gets grungy, I will siphon up the mature Sea Monkeys and transfer them into the new classic red Ocean Zoo. I figure alternating from container to container, I’ll be able to keep their home relatively clean and I’ll always have an influx of new Sea Monkey genes from the mixture in the ‘new’ container they get transferred into. The combination of a clean Ocean Zoo with new water/egg mixture and the ‘old’ population from a dirty Ocean Zoo may be able to continue forever . . .

I don’t know why that drying out procedure didn’t work. Maybe when I was letting the water evaporate, at some point the container became too hot. (I had placed it on a sunny windowsill.) Toward the middle of this Winter, after I siphon up the mature population from what will be a dirty Ghostly Galleon Ocean Zoo, I may let that container dry out (away from hot sunlight) to try the re-animation routine again next Summer. (I’d have to purchase a third Ocean Zoo for this Winter’s transfer, but one of the great things about Sea Monkeys is that none of their accessories cost more than ten or fifteen dollars.)

So, that’s my Sea Monkey update. My re-animation procedure didn’t work. But I have a fresh population happily swimming around in a clean Ghostly Galleon Ocean Zoo, with a brand new classic red Ocean Zoo waiting in my closet for when the Ghostly Galleon gets dirty. And I’ve got a plan that may keep this hatching population alive for many years.

We’ll see.

Official Sea Monkey Site

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