Learning Is Fun! or “Why Ursula Is Drinking Tonight”

Well, I just had an exciting learning experience.

The ricordea is a soft, squashy little nubbly disk that is supposed to be rooted to something. Only this one wasn’t.

This isn’t the fault of the store, sometimes they just kick loose when they don’t want to be where they are. I took it home, with the plan of popping it in a low flow area, where it could hang out and be happy.

I did all the acclimations, turned off the current in the tank, popped it into the sheltered rock nook, turned the power head back on, and watched my new coral sail loose from the rock and shoot into the current, to lodge behind a rock.


I yanked the power cord out with my toes–both hands were soaking wet and gloved–moved the rock, managed to catch it, drag it back–it weighs nothing and it’s slimy AND underwater, so it’s not exactly easy to hold onto, particularly since I don’t dare GRIP the little sucker–find an even more sheltered chunk of rock, turn the power BACK on, and watched it sail into the back of the tank, completely out of reach.


We will draw a veil over the next few minutes, except that there was a lot of swearing and some moving of rocks, until I managed to get a hole big enough to shove the turkey baster into, and then there was a terrifying delicate operation where I attempted to apply sufficient suction to lift the ricordea without accidentally sucking it into the friggin’ turkey baster.

It was not a graceful extraction.

The ricordea, already somewhat miffed from the move, was by now doing the soft-bodied equivalent of pulling the covers over its head, having become a small angry orange ball curled around its delicate undersides.

I trapped the beast in the net, turned the flow back on so that nobody asphyxiated, uttered a fervent prayer that I hadn’t accidentally dropped a rock on the goby somewhere, and went to the internet.

The internet led me to the shotglass method. Put a rock in a shotglass, put the ricordea on the rock, put the shotglass in the tank, cover the top of the shotglass with a mesh or a rubber band or whatever, and wait a week for the little devil to root to the rock, then put the rock wherever you want the ricordea to live and hope it doesn’t decided to kick loose a month later.

Kevin came home just in time to see me roaming the house with a rock in one hand and a crazed look on my face. I wish I could say this sort of thing is unusual, but it really isn’t.

"What are you doing?" asked Kevin, in the tones of a man who is somewhat afraid to know, but figures he might as well learn the details before the police arrive.


He looked at me.

"I have a logical explanation," I said, which was true, for a given local value of logic.

"You always do," he muttered, and went and got a hammer, which he was careful not to hand to me. "Now, what do you want me to do with this?"

"I need a chunk of rock small enough to fit into a shot glass."

There was a brief moment while I could see him trying and discarding hypotheses, moving past "art project," lingering briefly on "unusual mixed drink," and then finally settling on "probably something involving the fish tank."

He took my rock (a chunk of unused dead rock from set-up) outside, hit it with the hammer a few times, and I took several lovely fragments back inside.

"You see–"

He held up a hand. "Do whatever you need to do first…then you can explain." 

I scurried off with my rocks, dropped a promising one into a shot glass, spent a few exciting minutes pouring, coaxing, and generally manhandling the ricordea onto the bit of rock, put the shot glass in the tank, and slumped into a chair in exhaustion.

The shotglass rather ruins the lines of the tank, let me tell you, but I can handle it for a week or two if it’ll give the ricordea a fighting chance, assuming I didn’t kill it with all my manhandling. I mean, they’re pretty tough as such things go, people divide them by slicing them in half all the time, but I felt bad smacking it around with the turkey baster like that.

Whew. Well, that was exciting. Now I’m going to drink heavily for awhile.

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