Monday, March 4, 2013

Opa’e Shrimp Ecospheres

At a recent visit to Marukai Market, I saw a display of Opa’e Ula (Halocaridina rubra, aka Hawaiian red shrimp, Volcano shrimp, Hawaiian micro-lobsters) being sold in Opa’e Ecospheres.
These bright red-orange Hawaiian shrimp grow up to ½-inch long when full adults. You’ve seen them, often at the front counter in doctors’ and dentists’ offices. These sealed-in-plastic environments supposedly are self-sustaining – the shrimp eat the algae, and produce waste that fertilizes the algae, the algae produces oxygen for the shrimp, the shrimp produces carbon dioxide for the algae, and so on. Or so they say.
Opa'e Ula Shrimp (Yellow Arrow on Lft, Red Arrow on Right)
The truth is, the waste does accumulate and the shrimp die from lack of food and oxygen.
So … these sealed ecospheres might seem cool to own, and it may be comforting to have a tiny shrimp or two swimming around in a sealed container as you work at your computer, but the truth of the matter is, you’re condemning them to a premature death.
If you want to keep Hawaiian red shrimp, give them room to roam in an aquarium. If they could thank you, they’d wave their tiny claws in appreciation. Of that, I’m sure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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