How To Catch A Crab

My husband has suspected for quite some time that our largest Emerald Crab is a troublemaker, and has since been referred to as “The Monster”. This suspicion started when The Monster was coincidentally near our Green Star Polyp Coral when we noticed it was missing a substantial patch of polyps. Even though he was not caught in act of munching the coral, we have decided that in our tank’s docile society, a  troublemaker is not innocent until proven guilty, but rather guilty until proven innocent. So to heed this coral munching behaviour we started feeding him and the two other Emerald Crabs nori (a dried seaweed used in sushi) a couple of times per week. The Monster’s reaction to this nori was so crazed we heralded The Monster’s feeding time as “Lets watch The Monster lose his mind!” time. This crazed behaviour was adding fuel to our suspicion that he was indeed, a troublemaker. The final straw was when we found that both of our other Emerald Crabs were missing legs. One only had one leg on one side, and two on the other! And again, even though The Monster was never caught misbehaving, we decided not to take the chance of potentially waking up and finding some regretful debauchery had taken place in our tank over night, and remove him from the tank.

We read in the 2012 Annual Coral and Reef USA magazine that the best way to remove a crab was to lean a cocktail glass against a rock with a piece of shrimp inside a woman’s sheer nylon knee sock in the bottom. What was supposed to happen, was The Monster’s chemoreceptors would pick up the smell of the the shrimp, he will head into the glass and would not be able to climb back out. We would then grab the glass and “Vuala!”, we caught a crab.

That is not however, how it happened. We even tried this trick with a piece of nori, since he seems to love it, to no avail. The Monster seemed to know exactly what was going on, and spent his time attacking the glass, all the while never leaving his rock. This gave us an idea, and finally, after more than an hour, we simply pulled the rock he was on out instead. The Monster was then banished to the sump until we could take him back to the pet store.

Getting him out of the sump to take him back to the pet store, I am told, was an even harder task, and unfortunately I was not present to witness it. I had went to the store in the morning last Sunday and came home to a messy dining room and my husband (Andy) fuming. He described and re-enacted his efforts in detail and it went something like this: Andy, with his red and blue shoulder high aquarium gloves on, decided to try to bag The Monster for transport to the pet store. Apparently, The Monster decided that he would give Andy a run for his money, and allow him to be easily removed from the sump, but would then puncture any bag he was put in with his talon-like tips, causing water to spray onto the table and floor. He would not only puncture the bags, but would grab the edge of it as Andy was trying to put him in it and not go into the bag! All of this resulted in at one point The Monster on the kitchen table, claws in defence mode, with Andy in the same stance with his ridiculously huge aquarium gloves on, each waiting for the other to make his move. In the end there was water and towels everywhere, and Andy was so aggravated I thought he might simply smash the crab with a hammer instead of taking him to the pet store. Eventually, after this dance of wills and tempers, a fuming husband and angry emerald crab, double bagged, were off to the pet store for a return. And, after all that trouble, unlike our lucrative return on our corals, The Monster didn’t fetch us anything in store credit!

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