When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sea Monkeys

In reality, sea monkeys are a sub species of brine shrimp. In my world, they are the perfect pets.

I grew up with a menagerie of pets--cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, little brother (I'm kidding!), lizards, turtles, fish, rabbits, frogs, and maybe some I'm forgetting. The one thing I learned was that I don't want to be responsible for the well-being of an animal. Taking care of myself and my child and husband is hard enough. It helps that they can do things for themselves. But a pet means constant responsibilities that I know I don't have the discipline to tackle. I don't want to torture any animal through unintentional neglect. Plus, even though I do like cats (okay, I can tolerate dogs, too), I happen to be allergic to them. Petting either a cat or a dog causes minor swelling in the hand that touches them and breathing is a little harder for me when I am around them. I won't go into a full-blown asthmatic attack, but I won't be comfortable either.

The conundrum is: I like the idea of having a pet and my daughter likes the idea of having a pet. So, I managed to find the perfect pet for me. Sea monkeys are easy to obtain--and cheap!--and even easier to take care of. They usually hatch within 36 hours, assuming you follow the directions, and begin growing and reproducing quickly thereafter. You only have to feed them once a week at first. Once the algae begins growing, however, you can reduce the feeding time even more. I'll be honest, it's been at least 2 months since I last fed my sea monkeys and they are still thriving. Of course, I have them in a large (for sea monkeys) tank--it's actually a small travel terrarium, but to a sea monkey it's huge--with a couple of fish tank bobbles. This gives more surface area for the algae to take hold. It is important to keep the tank by a natural light source for the algae to grow. I do also add more bottled or filtered water when the tank level drops due to evaporation. That's the extent of the maintenance I do for my sea monkeys. These ones have been alive for almost a year now.

The other upshot of sea monkeys is that they are self-replacing. When your cat or dog dies you have to go out and get a new one, go through all the training all over again, etc. When the entire sea monkey tank dies off (this is my third tank since we began "caring" for sea monkeys 5 years ago) you can either go out an purchase a new packet of eggs or simply let the tank completely evaporate. Then you purchase the "conditioning agent" (it creates the proper chemical balance for the little guys) and simply refill your tank as is. If all goes well, there should be some preserved eggs from your previous tank attached to one of the surfaces and they should simply hatch and begin a new society all over again.

Yep, for me sea monkeys are the perfect pet and I am thankful that I discovered them when my daughter began asking for pets in the house. Plus, they can be fun to watch.

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