Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reefer Madness (*)

We had a couple of cool days and I immediately decided that there was no way my nano-reef tank could possibly overheat (again) until next summer, so I ordered a bunch of coral. From Wisconsin, where there is apparently the Less-great Barrier Reef.

Anyhow, the package got shipped overnight via FedEx, and once again, I am amazed at the FedEx tracking system. No matter how long I procrastinate and stick around the house, they always manage to deliver the package fifteen minutes after I leave. Either they have a hidden GPS unit on my car, or there's someone hiding in the tree across the street with binoculars. It's uncanny.

So the box sat in the 90 degree heat all day until I came home. However, the company I bought it from deals with FedEx on a daily basis, so it was a packaging marvel, and it was so well insulated that the contents of the box were still cool. The plug of each piece of coral was rubber-banded to a square of styrofoam, and floated upside-down in a one-liter bag of water which was then quadruple bagged (which explains how five tiny pieces of coral had a shipping weight of 10 kilograms). Lots of thought went into this packaging, but it was still a long, rough trip.

At first glance I thought all the fragments were dead, but aside from one frag that fell off the plug and thus sloshed around in the bag unhindered, everything perked up within an hour of going in the tank. The problem child was all slimy and basically unhappy, but I'm crossing my fingers that it survives.

Here are some fuzzy pictures. (Surely this must be some defect in the camera, right? Maybe I need a different lens or something? Because this couldn't possibly be because I can't take a picture to save my life, right?)

With the lights on:

And with just the actinics:

(It looks much better in person -- the green really glows.)

And my favorite, the silver branch pumping xenia:

When the water is still enough you can see the individual branches moving.

In other news, some guy named Ponch is going to be putting up a new fence for me tomorrow. I'll miss going over to my neighbor's house at 11 pm because my dog has gotten through a gap in the fence and can't get back, but I guess somehow I'll survive...

* Thank you, Rvan, for coming up with the silly title of the day.


A Free Man said...

Very cool! I'm jonesing for a reef of my own seeing all these photos of yours.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Hah! Mission accomplished! I have made someone jealous.

But really, once everything is set up, it's not a huge time commitment. And it's amazing how much time I spend watching things move around. It's addicting.