These are our finest products to date. Although they seem expensive, these are really our best value items as a huge amount of skill, time, and effort goes into each one. We believe the "maximum stocking density" or the "carrying capacity" of a tank is about 50 Micro-Lobsters per gallon. That means that at this stocking density, there will be a relatively low reproduction rate, just enough new opae'ula to replace those that die of old age. This is an ideal population for maximum interest and attractiveness.
The SBT-2.5 gallon unit starts with 125 Micro-Lobsters! All of Fuku-Bonsai's Micro-Lobsters have been tamed to reduce paranoid wild characteristics and they have been trained to quickly rise to the surface to filter-feed on spirulina microalgae. The SBT-5 gallon unit starts with 250 Micro-Lobsters! With proper care, these units will last a lifetime! These begin as stock units manufactured by All-Glass Aquariums, the largest aquarium manufacturers in the world and are modified extensively at Fuku-Bonsai as follows:
1. The original base is discarded and a new wood base with decorative bottom routing is created and permanently bonded to the acrylic bow front tank. This makes the unit fairly portable. A permanent textured coating is applied to the back of the tank to serve as a background for the aquascape. To move the unit, using a cup, scoop out as much water as you can into a bucket, then relocate it and replace the water. To move it across town, pour the scooped water with a funnel into clean empty gallon plastic jugs. Place several small partially inflated balloons in the tank and cover with a clear plastic sheet. Trim the sheet just a little larger that the top so edges are about 1/2" sticking out on all sides. Tape it down securely and all around to seal the top. The balloons will reduce the amount of water sloshing around while you're carrying it to your car. Place the tank into it's new location, refill all water, and plug in the lights and air pump. This is an outstanding unit for teachers who can take the unit home during the long summer vacation.
2. A concealed air tube enters from the back bottom to create a sub gravel aeration filtration system to encourage a large healthy bacteria population to serve as a food source and to remove all possible anaerobic toxicity. This makes the units virtually crash-proof even if there is slight over-feeding. The air inlet tube is connected to a check valve to prevent water backing up, a bleeder value to control the amount of air bubbles, and an air pump. The air bubbles add interest. Keeping the pump on at the lowest amount of bubbling is recommended. It is not necessary to keep the air on at all times. It should be turned off while feeding so the water will be still. At minimum, it could be turned on for a few hours each week to assure there is no anaerobic toxic build-up. In general, more air and feeding tiny amounts of food daily will increase the carrying capacity of the tank and you'll see reproduction until a new maximum population is achieved. The amount of food given each time should still be eaten completely within one or two hours.
3. A complex aquascape is created from a number of choice pieces of high velocity pumice ejecta that is bonded to a raised base plate that allows water to circulate below it. Each aquascape is created by our highest skilled craftsmen with suggestions by other team members. The material used has extraordinary surface texture and holes throughout. It is ideal for creating seamounts, reefs, caves, and other underwater features. Between the aquascape and the background, pre-inoculated pumice gravel is positioned to become the breeding and bacterial habitats.
4. THIS IS PREMIUM UNIT WITH ALL COMPONENTS INCLUDED EXCEPT WATER! It includes pipipi snails to keep the tank walls clean and allow the lights to be left on all the time. The 2.5 gallon unit includes 4 vials of Premium Micro-Lobster Food. The 5 gallon unit includes 8 vials of Premium Micro-Lobster Food. This should be sufficient for two years. The high-tech vials preserve all nutritional value and extra vials may be kept in a regular refrigerator. A cleaner stick is also handy during the set-up. The unit includes a 5x jeweler's loupe to allow you to study details. Prior to shipping, the aquascape is fully neutralized and the pre-inoculated gravel assures that the unit is fully cycled to avoid "new tank syndrome." Brackish Water Concentrate is supplied in packets with each packet to be mixed with one gallon of distilled water (to be supplied by the purchaser). This greatly reduces the cost of shipping! A Fuku-Bonsai Micro-Lobster Breeding Tank Handbook is included. Finally, long-term assistance and contact is included by either email or phone to assist in setting up and if there are any questions.
SOME ASSEMBLY IS REQUIRED
Unlike our popular smaller units, there is no provision for complete fully assembled units to be sent as shipping many gallons of water would be cost prohibitive! But the units have already been fully neutralized and the supply of pre-inoculated gravel will assure we avoid new tank syndrome problems. Distilled water is widely available everywhere and it is relatively inexpensive and uniform. All trials to date have been successful.
1. Customer supplies distilled water obtainable from your local supermarket. Have a clean plastic bucket available and mix one packet of Brackish Water Concentrate with one gallon of distilled water. Some tap water, rain water, or pond water may be suitable but it must be tested by experts or used at the customer's risk! Any and all warranties are void if distilled water is not used.
2. Position the coarse gravel between the aquascape and the background. Tap the gravel in place with the bottom of the cleaner stick. Use the larger cap rocks on the surface to prevent the gravel from rolling off a slope and to create the most attractive profile. It is not necessary to use all gravel supplied.
3. Pour in the mixed brackish water into the front to not disturb the habitat gravel. Once the tank is about 3/4 full, hook up the air tube to the top of the bleeder value and test the air system.
4. Complete the installation. Add the fine gravel to the front to hide the base plate and dress the front. Add Micro-Lobsters and continue filling the tank to the top of the background coating. Adjust the air to a medium level for the first 24 hours. The water will initially be murky but will clear in a day or so.
This is how a 2.5 gallon Showstopper Breeder Tank looks with the aquascape placed inside the empty tank. We try to keep about 40% of the area above the aquascape free of obstructions as the Micro-Lobsters love to swim.
|With the aquascape placed in front of the empty tank on a sunny day, it's possible to see the amount of landscaping details possible when choice pieces of selected high-velocity pumice ejecta are skillfully assembled using colored cement. Even when very close, it's difficult to see where the pieces were joined together. About 10 major rocks with other smaller rock were used to create this major section that has caves and openings like the offshore Hawaiian reefs.|
|High velocity pumice ejecta was formed under huge pressure that sent lava fountains over 1,000' into the air! It is filled with air bubbles and the large amount of surfaces are ideal for bacteria to grow. Bacteria is a major Micro-Lobster food and if you go on vacation for four to six weeks, it's better that you don't ask someone to feed as most people tend to overfeed. The Micro-Lobsters will easily survive without food for that long. Most unit crashes are caused by overfeeding when a person goes on vacation. Micro-Lobsters utilize the holes as breeding habitats. We believe the minerals in the pumice is needed for good health and helps to create the dark red color.|
|Like the holes in the reef, we try to create openings in the aquascape. The Micro-Lobsters use these as entrances to access the breeding habitat between the aquascape and the back of the tank. Micro-Lobsters will not reproduce in small plastic cubes or glass spheres that do not have caves or dark sheltered areas. In the wild, they must be constantly vigilant and always on the look out for predators. Besides being attractive, the aquascape must give the Micro-Lobsters a feeling of security and when we are successful, there is a dramatic difference in their behavior.|
Fuku-Bonsai domesticates and tames its Micro-Lobsters! By placing those recently sustainable harvested with those that have been in our tanks for lengthy periods, the new ones quickly learn to come to the surface to filter feed. Wild opae'ula tend to have very jerky movements and will often "popcorn" when frightened. By thrusting their powerful tail muscles under them, an opae'ula will streak backwards and upwards to escape or even break free from predators. Those that are fed and given secure habitats tend to loose their fear and you'll see an increase in social interaction and a greater amount of swimming and activity. Do not frighten them or allow loud noises or tapping on the tank.
|This is the larger 5-gallon unit with the aquascape placed into the empty tank. The acrylic bow front tank is permanently bonded to the base plate. The background coating provides a background for the aquascape which is bonded to the bottom of the tank.|
|Its easier to see the aquascape when it is placed in front of the tank. Note that it is sitting on a raised base plate that allows the water to freely circulate to prevent toxic anaerobic conditions. This design features a larger and a smaller cave in the formation. Our aquascape designs are a blend of a bonsai landscape and reef formations. Bits of artificial foliage adds interest.|
|A close-up view shows more of the fine details. The main portion of the arrangement used 8 or 9 larger pieces and a number of smaller pieces held together by colored cement. After drying and trimming, the aquascape is permanently mounted to the bottom of the tank with silicone caulking. Other pieces are added to form the enclosure for the gravel habitat.|
|David Fukumoto setting up the first 5 gallon prototype in the Fuku-Bonsai Micro-Lobster exhibit. After the habitat gravel is positioned between the aquascape and background, fill the tank 3/4 full with the distilled water and Brackish Water Concentrate. Add the finer gravel in front and on the sides to hide the base plate finish the landscaping.|
next morning, the water had cleared and the Micro-Lobsters were all clustered around the rocks on
the left side of the tank.
The large deep cave is very visible in this flash photo. The aquascape has different appearances and color under different lighting. Usually the flash produces a glare on the tank surface, but this was shot from a high position and the aquascape shows clearly.
|We don't know why Micro-Lobsters sometimes do this and one section seems red from they being so close to each other! In nature at unpredictable times, opae'ula seem to all emerge from the hypogeal habitat and the entire pond bottom seems red! If there are any alien fish predators, they all retreat into the underground water table and disappear! When the predators are removed, they reappear.|
|A closer view of the clustering. This tank began with 250 Micro-Lobsters and there are over 200 in the cluster in a 3"x4" area!|
|A still closer view. Even with the camera's flashes they stayed in the close cluster. With a digital camera set at close-up telephoto, I shot several pictures and this one came out in focus.|
|I kept moving in closer and the Micro-Lobsters began to move around a bit but if you take several photos and chose the most focused one, it'll be like this.|
|When you get within 2" of the Micro-Lobsters, set the camera at telephoto close-up and place the 5x jeweler's loupe in front of the camera lens. While watching the viewing screen move back and forth until you think you're in focus. Shoot several photos and select the best one. Bryan Yoshimura was the first to clue us in on how to use this technique.|
Because the focusing point of the 5x jeweler's loupe is about 2" away, the aquascape is mounted so sections are within 2" of the tank's walls to allow detail observations and taking close-up photos like this. Many of our best photos were taken in the early Showstopper Breeder Tank prototypes. The larger 5-gallon Showstopper Breeder Tank is a nice size for a reception room, placed near a maitre de's station in a restaurant. It provides interesting viewing while guests are waiting in line or for their appointment. Of course, they're also greate for schools, offices or homes. For some installations we have been requested to attach a jeweler's loupe on a cord so the loupe can be kept handy to allow closer examination of the landscape and the Micro-Lobster's utopian world.
*** To see a customer report, go to: " SETTING UP A SHOWSTOPPER!"
We recommend that you purchase a smaller breeder tank and become familiar with it before ordering larger Showstopper units. To obtain information or to reserve a Showstopper Breeding Tank, please copy the following, paste it into an email, filling the information the following and email to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Phone number (day)
Phone number (evening)
Please send some comments regarding the amount of your current Micro-Lobster knowledge and general criteria about the area where the unit will be displayed. If you have a preference, we may be able to interpret your design requests and select designs from units that are in inventory. It requires a month or so to create custom designs and to properly cure and neutralize them. I the future, we will produce custom aquascape designs to fit customer aquariums as well as produce still larger units. Please write for more information. _____________________________________________________________________________________