One of my favorite hobbies EVER is bug catching. Why? Well, it all started one sweltering hot day in the middle of summer. My brother and I were trapped at a family friend’s house while Mom and Dad cut flowers. We were to be there a good part of the day, nearly every day of summer, and we had absolutely nothing to do. We were sitting by the “slough,” (it was really more of a big wide ditch that ran through the property, but that was what we called It.) when Jasper (my brother) spied a discarded salsa container. It was nothing much, but we were desperate, so we stuck an old feather in the middle and called it a boat. We spent about an hour floating it around, until we had to go to the van to eat lunch. When we got back, there was no sign of our toy. We thought it was gone for good, until Jasper saw the tip of a feather sticking out of the water at the very edge of the ditch. We pulled up the feather and the boat with it, but we soon discovered that it had a passenger. At first we thought it was a slug, but then it stretched itself out, and we realized that it was actually a leech. We had never seen one in real life and were fascinated. We filled up an old bucket with some water, pulled up some pondweed, and transferred our pet to his new home. We fondly named him Frank, and decided that if there was one leech in the slough, there ought to be more. We tied a piece of twine to our salsa container and, holding onto the string, tossed it into the water. We tied the twine to an old stick and left. The next day, we came back to find that another leech had anchored himself to the piece of plastic. So from then on, that became our leech trap. We soon discovered that there were small aquatic beetles that lived in the ditch, and spent our next few days scooping plastic containers through the murky water, trying to catch the little bugs that so easily evaded us. At some point or another, the nice old lady who was renting us the property gifted Jasper and I each a butterfly net. We were overjoyed, and from that day on, we spent every hour of our day catching water insects, leeches - and… surprise! Tadpoles. We spent all of our time at home researching these creatures, and soon realized that the depths of that murky brown water were teeming with life. There were diving beetle larvae, rat-tailed maggots, daphnia, fairy shrimp, and much, much more. Thus was the birth of a wonderful, wonderful hobby. After a year or so, we left the property… and the slough… for good. Jasper and I were disappointed, until a leisurely walk through the back field revealed many ponds and puddles that contained the same creatures as our beloved slough. We now collect these, and many of them- at least during the winter, are fed to our fish. So, here's what happens on an average bug-catching trip.
|Here, Jasper is looking out at the puddle- or rather.. pond.|
|A better view|
|This is it from the other side|
|Jasper, sweeping his net through the water|
|This may not look like much, but it contains daphnia, fairy shrimp, two small water beetles, midge larvae, and much, much more.|
|We place the daphnia and fairy shrimp in this jar of fresh water until it goes to the fish|
|Jasper's 20 gallon Tropical Community|
|My 10 gallon divided Betta tank|
|My 3 gallon Betta tank|
|4 gallon goldfish quarantine tank|
Of course, I could not write a blog post about aquatic things without first introducing you to my fish...
|To start with, this is Merlin. He is my crown-tail male Betta and I couldn't live without him. He is by far the smallest of my Bettas, and can never say no to some live daphnia.|
|This is Winter, she is my second crown-tail female Betta. She will not jump for her food like Pi, (yet) but I love her just as much.|
|This is Peach, my male veil-tail Betta. He's spunky, and never misses a chance to show how macho he is. I love this guy. :)|
|This is Tiffy, Jasper and my comet goldfish. She'll eat anything that will fit is her mouth (and some things that won't).|
|These are our two new (very small) comet goldfish. We are currently quarantining them for 3 weeks before they go in with Tiffy.|
This is Kanye, One of Jasper's fish. He is a dwarf gourami.
These fish all enjoyed their afternoon snack of fresh daphnia and fairy shrimp, and we enjoyed catching it!! Jasper and I cannot wait for the next dry day when we'll go back and catch more ;)