Cool and wet, in the light of the cold white moon
Clothed only in the phosphorescent waters glow
Where am I? Only the night birds and the fishes know
Near by a gull, disturbed by my swim, sings his raucous tune

The water flows over me like a lovers caress
Onward I drift, with the tides salty stream
Unfettered, my mind begins an oddly familiar dream
A woman appears, standing, like me she is without dress

She dives into the shallow inlets flow
And reappears, glowing with an inner light
I give chase, swimming with all my might
When I arrive at her side, again she dives below

But instead of legs long and sleek
A fishes tail follows her into the brine
Mermaid! the thought rips into my mind
I hesitate, astounded, by this being that i see

Again she appears, this time not alone
Three more of these apparitions, appear in a wave crest
As glowing water cups their bobbing breasts
Their sirens song begins, and i become still as stone

The song, more beautiful than any mortal woman’s voice
Captivates me, holds me, unable to think or move
My love, it says, to have them i must prove
As I listen I realize I am being offered a choice

To join them in their home, wet and cool
To swim, and frolic, under the sea
Forever and ever just them and me
Just then a gull cries out, “death is what they offer, you fool!”

When I look back to where the water is dark and deep
Only a fading sparkle marks where sirens swam
I shout out, come back, only the gull reply’s “foolish man”
Then I realize, that their love had a price attached, far too steep!

Michael Hissom

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Life, poem

Scattered across the sky, points of light to the naked eye
Fiery orbs of red to blue, storms of violence unimagined to the mind
Magnetic flames caress companions held in gravity’s bond
Creating colors of heat-less flame in the sky

Curtains of light shimmer and race
Evidence of magnetic defense from the companion’s heart
Allowing a strange twist of entropy to multiply, exist and expand
Defiance! Of the law that binds time and space

Order and arrangement, chemical reactions grow more complex
In spite of the necessity to become simple and scattered
Things that move and should not exist,
Mostly their form is no more than specks

Completion spawns in entropy’s mirror
Cooperation magnifies the mirror’s effect
Forming masses of pulsating beings with no sense of time
Neoteny allows the young to steal from the old, that which is superior

Complexity drives the defiance of law
Soon awareness of surrounding space
Drives the increasing awareness of self and others
The more aware leads the less to their maw

While others escape to new spaces the aggressive can’t pursue
Other less mobile forms raise antennae to absorb
All the energy of the glowing light from the sky
Competition is fierce between the motile and those that look to the blue

Competition and cooperation step up the pace
What will grow, multiply, dominate, or die
Soon the liquid that dissolves the chemicals from others
No longer surrounds those that have moved to the surface

The surface is dry most of the time
Requires sex cells to become motile
When the rain comes, unknown and unseen, sex covers the wet earth
Sex cells swim up the trunks of trees allowing growth to dizzying heights

The ones that move will not be left behind in this assault on the land
Hatched in the water but able to walk and slither
Animals join the plants in conquest of the land
Eating not only the tall forms that feed on light but each other as well

Eons pass neoteny makes the grade again and again
Animals revert to their larval forms again to hasten change
Soon warm beings rule the cool dry land
First four legs then two strut out of the forest and across the land

On of these tall neotenic beings walks into the morning sun
His mate and child walk with him
Large brains, opposable thumbs, reach for the ground
Pulling up a flower yellow as the sun
The man holds the yellow sex organ of the plant and sees beauty

His mate smiles, they turn to continue on towards domination of the world

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Paddlefish in the home aquarium!

Paddlefish in the home aquarium

Paddlefish are an ancient lineage of fishes whose origin predates teleost fishes by millions of years. Paddlefish are distantly related to chimeras and goblin sharks and more closely related to Sturgeons. There are two extant species of paddlefishes, the Chinese Paddlefish “Psephurus gladius”

And the North American Paddlefish “Polyodon spathula”,

The Chinese Paddle Fish has not been observed in the wild for several years and is suspected to be extinct. In the wild North American paddlefish can reach five feet long and weigh 150 pounds, its Chinese cousin can reach 23 feet in length. The two paddlefish exhibit two distinct methods of feeding, the Chinese paddlefish is a piscavore, feeding primarily on fish. The North American paddlefish is a filter feeder, feeding mostly on planktonic crustaceans, insects and the occasional small fish.

I received 12 North American paddlefish 10 weeks ago from a breeder who grows them for their roe that makes excellent caviar. In the fish breeding trade there sometimes occurs what are known as runts or dinks, these are fish which for some as yet unknown reason do not grow as large as the normal fish and usually do not live because they cannot compete with larger normal fish. My 12 fish were dinks and not expected to grow larger than a small fraction of the normal size of the paddlefish. Keeping paddlefish in the home aquarium has not been done extensively but the few dinks that have been kept have so far (4 years plus) failed to reach a size larger than 10”. Keeping these fish is an attempt by me to gather more information about these fish and to promote keeping them in captivity.

When I first received the fish two were DOA and in the next few days another two fish died leaving me with 8 fish total. Now, 10 weeks into this experiment, the paddlefish are doing great and have reached 4 to 6 inches in length while their normal hatch mates are in the 16 to 18 inch size range and growing fast, my fishes growth has slowed down almost to a stand still. These are tough fish, when I received the shipping box all the fish appeared to be dead but upon being placed in their tank all but two revived and the 8 that are left are doing great.

I feed my fish live daphnia I culture myself, live blood worms from the daphnia vats, powdered krill and the same floating pellets the fish at the breeders grow out ponds receive. Currently I have split the fish up into two groups of 4, one group is indoors in a 30 gallon (113.5 liters) aquarium and a 55 gallon (208 liters) aquarium. The outdoor group has a water temperature on average of 85 degrees, the indoor group has an average temperature of 72 degrees. The water was softened in a household water softener so I added some ions to make the water harder. One half cup of marine aquarium salt and two shot glasses of calcium chloride were dissolved in the water, an equivalent amount has been dissolved in the 55 gallon tank as well..

The outdoor aquarium is filtered by a 350 gallon an hour submersible pump pulling the water through a large sponge. The indoor aquarium is filtered by a Marineland 200 gallon an hour Penguin filter. The penguin filter intake is pre-filtered by a sponge to avoid pulling the live daphnia into the filter. The penguin filter also has a wet/dry rotating biological filter to help deal with ammonia by culturing a thin layer of bacteria at the air water interface that allows the bio-filter to operate more efficiently.

These fish are very messy, excreting wastes due to not efficiently digesting their food, much of their food goes straight through and would pollute the water if not for efficient filtration and scavenger fishes. I keep coolie loaches and cory catfish in the tanks as scavengers.

There were 7 adult black banded sunfish in the tank as well as 5 tiny baby sunfish but the paddlefish ate several of them and killed the rest by mouthing them. The paddlefish are truly pelagic and never stop swimming, here is a video of the paddlefish feeding.

More to come

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