THE AMAZING HAWAIIAN MICRO-LOBSTERS!™
MICRO-LOBSTER BASICS SECTION
FUKU-BONSAI'S BREAKTHROUGH DISCOVERY!
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                IS IT OKAY TO SUBJECT CREATURES TO A POOR ENVIRONMENT OR IS THE PRACTICE TO BE SOUNDLY CONDEMNED?

            ARE PETS TO BE NURTURED AND PROVIDED THE BEST POSSIBLE CARE OR ARE THEY TO BE ABUSED, TREATED AS CURIOSITIES, OR FED TO OTHER ANIMALS?

WARNING:  BLUNTLY PRESENTED FACTS MAY OFFEND YOU!
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                Before I offend anyone, I want to make my position very clear.  I disagree with most people who currently sell the Red Hawaiian Anchialine Pond Shrimp (Halocarindina rubra) which is known in Hawaii as opae-ula.   They sell it in a variety of ways,  under different "common names," in different containers, or for different purposes.

                I believe that opae-ula are amazing creatures with unique qualities that should be appreciated, nurtured and loved as pets.  It really bothers me that they are condemned to a long, slow  death sealed in air-tight glass and promoted as art and science.  I strongly disagree with those who sell them as "perfect pets that never need to be fed!"   I have nothing in common with those who treat our beloved opae-ula as "live food" or "treats" as they feed them to aquarium seahorses or marine fish!

               Opae-ula are relatively inexpensive and are available from those who collect them from the remaining anchialine ponds for use as live food.  Marine aquarium hobbyists consider their seahorses and saltwater fish as prized pets and feel it is a treat to give them live food.  They enjoy watching the hunt.  Those of us who value opae-ula are very uncomfortable that endemic threatened Hawaiian creatures are used for this purpose.  I don't presume to judge as everyone has the right to do what they believe provided that they are fully within all laws.  But are they?

                Hawaii law requires that every person who collects creatures from the wild individually have commercial licenses and provide daily reports including the names of persons to whom they are sold.  If incorporated into environments, the facility must be a licensed aquaculture facility. All sellers of environments must have a general excise tax license as well as an aquaculture dealers license. The Fuku-Bonsai team comply with each and every Hawaiian regulation! Unfortunately, Hawaii's governmental regulatory agencies are underfunded and the laws and regulations are largely being ignored. Opae-ula are being collected illegally,  assembled illegally, and sold at craft fairs and by retailers illegally .

"IT'S THE FOOD, STUPID!"

                Oops! I apologize if I offended you!  James Caravelle, political strategist for then Governor Clinton focused his presidential campaign with:   "IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!"  While offensive, it cut through political rhetoric.  It's time for us to distance ourselves from those who are selling eco-systems and those who don't feed opae-ula

                TO DIFFERENTIATE, WE TRADEMARKED "MICRO-LOBSTERS™."   WE FEED MICRO-LOBSTERS.  MICRO-LOBSTERS ARE ACTIVE, RETAIN THEIR SIZE,  MAINTAIN THEIR PERSONALITIES, AND REPRODUCE!

                That's how we differ. Most people don't understand crustaceans. But everyone knows a lot more about lions --- The King of Beasts!  In a zoo, it is easy to see if the care and environment are suitable. If the lions are extremely skinny and haggard, it's probably sick or not fed enough. If it's almost lifeless, it's spirit has been broken. In such a situation, the zookeeper would be fired and charged with cruelty to animals! 

                We would not tolerate a public zoo treating an African lion in such a manner.  We want to see lions who are active, healthy, and who would not hesitate to kill and eat any small creature that is dumb enough to get a lion upset.  When lion cubs are born in a zoo, it's a celebrated event and an affirmation of a successful zoo! So why do people starve opae-ula?

 FEEDING MICRO-LOBSTERS

       The cycle of life is well-known and algae plays a major role as  food, in producing oxygen, and in utilizing the nutrients that would otherwise lower water quality. But few, if any, have the skill or discipline to grow the right type of algae in the right amounts.  If there is air exchange, algae is not needed to produce oxygen. 

        The algae that grows on tank walls has low food value compared to the algae that grows in the natural anchialine ponds in full sun. Because we feed 100% pure spirulina microalgae,  it's not necessary to grow algae.

        Micro-Lobsters have extremely low food and oxygen requirements and have life expectancies of over 20 years!  They survive for a while even in poor environments.  But when given a good environment, they thrive and reproduce.  Visitors to our exhibit at Fuku-Bonsai immediately can see the difference. 

        Fuku-Bonsai's Micro-Lobsters have been tamed and trained to filter-feed on the surface. Pure spirulina floats and only a tiny amount that can be completely eaten in one or two hours should be given. If the Micro-Lobsters are still going up to the surface after an hour or so, you are feeding too much!  Feed less next time and allow one to three "no-food days" after each feeding. 

       DO NOT OVERFEED as excessive feeding will pollute the water and the system will crash (all Micro-Lobsters die)! 

CHECKLIST FOR HAPPY HEALTHY MICRO-LOBSTERS

        1.     ACTIVE.  Are they actively swimming or just staying still?

        2.     SIZE.  Adults should be 1/2" long.  Are they smaller?   In aquariums, underfed crustaceans continue to periodically molt.  But those that are underfed come back with smaller shells that harden over shrunken creatures.   Even if kept alive, after years, adults may be 1/4" or smaller!

        3.     PERSONALITY.  Micro-Lobsters are naturally active adorable sociable creatures who "gossip," share news, and always interacting and friendly to each other.  We've never ever seen them aggressively hurt each other!  But if underfed, they are inactive and stay far apart.

        4.     REPRODUCTION.  In optimum environments and with proper care, animals reproduce.  Our Micro-Lobsters are mixed sizes of juveniles and adults because they are reproducing.  While the reproduction rates are not large,  the number of young juveniles is larger than the number that pass away from old age.   Over time, there will be a slow population increase.

Cyanotech aerial promotional photo.jpg (38518 bytes) WHAT AND HOW MUCH TO FEED

        FUKU-BONSAI MICRO-LOBSTER PREMIUM FOOD is 100% chill-dried spirulina microalgae grown by Cyanotech at their Keahole-Kona aquaculture ponds. It's the world's finest with the most potency due to patented processing technology, special antioxidant packaging, and their unique high carotenoid strain. It's year-around cultivation in pristine Kona, Hawaii produces nutrient-rich microalgae in the largest, most efficiently producing spirulina farm in the world!

Micro-Lobster Spirulina feeding amount.jpg (13919 bytes)          To preserve freshness and nutrient values, Fuku-Bonsai packs an estimated year's supply into a special desiccant-lined lightproof snap-vial. Only a tiny amount is needed. Make a "scoop" by marking 1/4" on a toothpick to be able to pick up a tiny amount about 1/2 the size off a single grain of rice!  That's enough for our 1/2-gallon Mini-Breeder Tank! Food should be completely consumed in an hour or so. If not fully consumed within that time, feed a bit less the next time. Allow 1 to 3 days between feedings so the maximum feeding is every other day. There's no problem if you don't feed for two weeks or a month. DON'T OVERFEED!
Micro-Lobster Mini-Breeder feeding dance.jpg (11763 bytes)        Chill-dried spirulina is not easily soluble and will float on the surface. Micro-Lobsters are filter feeders and you'll enjoy watching them swim up and feed up side down!  DO NOT FEED FLAKE FISH FOOD which will dissolve and pollute the water quality in the tank! 

        If you've positioned all of the gravel behind the main landscape rock as explained in the handbook, the front floor of the tank will be smooth and visible. If so, from time to time, you can drop a single grain of cooked plain rice into that area and watch the Micro-Lobsters scrape away at it.  It may take a day or two for the grain of rice to be consumed.

 

            MAINTAINING YOUR BREEDER TANKS.   There will always be some algae growing, but since you're feeding with spirulina,  it will not be necessary to grow any large amount of algae in your tank.  Water changes are not necessary as long as you don't do anything to lower water quality.  From time to time, add distilled water to replace the water that may evaporate.

Micro-Lobster maintenance mini-breeder tank.jpg (13952 bytes)        An early customer who kept the Mini-Breeder Tank in a very bright room with the canister light always on reported that a mottled brown algae grew on the inside of the tank. It took us a while but it grew here too. Next to a window, it formed in less than a month. 

      To remove it, cut 2-3 double-headed cotton swabs in half and tape it a chopstick to use to clean the inside of the tank walls.   Reduce the amount of light and turn on the light only when needed for viewing.   We are searching for a wholesale source of an "in-line on-off switch" to upgrade the light unit.

                CONCLUSION.   This page may be the most controversial in this website.  I don't know how to say it nicer a there's just no room for compromise.  Some do not consider opae-ula as pets, and that's okay.  But it's just not possible to consider them pets, then abuse and not feed them! You either will tolerate poor animal care and environment or you won't.  But I again apologize if I offended anyone. 
                ~~~David W. Fukumoto
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Fuku-Bonsai 2003, 2004          You are cordially invited to visit the home of the Micro-Lobsters at
FUKU-BONSAI CULTURAL CENTER & HAWAII STATE BONSAI REPOSITORY
     17-856 Olaa Road (PO Box 6000), Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
     Phone (808) 982-9880;  FAX (808) 982-9883
Email:  sales@fukubonsai.com    URL:  www.fukubonsai.com or www.micro-lobster.com