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Monthly Update: August 2019

Another month, and it has been a doozy. I made a push to get a bunch of our work-in-progress stock available in store, and also update social media more regularly. Our Tumblr and Instagram are more photography and aesthetic in content, whereas Facebook and Twitter have more shop and progress related updates. 

This month’s update blog is going to be a lengthy one. Let’s hop right into a summary of the major changes and progress on things this month in Sans Vertigo. 

New Videos

Another short “Shrimp on Substrate” reference video was made this month, this time our blue neocaridina are featured. Now you can visually compare substrates and decide what colour is ideal for you. 

New Products

Plenty of new things have been stocked in store:

Botanicals - Native Australian Kurrajong and Sheoak pods are now available! Botanicals for aquatic use are hard to get in Australia, I hope this helps those wanting more variety in biotope aquariums. 
Soy Snow - Adding to our gamut of shrimp food, this is a staple and one of the regular foods we use in the shrimp room. 
More live plants - Several new plant species have been added. So far we are sticking to easy plants that most people can care for without breaking the pocket. 
Microworm and Vinegar Eels - These live food starter cultures are now available for those looking to feed fry and other tiny fishes. 

The Flightless Fruit Flies

If you have been following along on our Facebook page, you’ve probably noticed we’ve been a bit slow on the flightless fruit fly front. They’ve started to breed in earnest now, but many more people are interested in these flies than ever before. As soon as we restocked, they sold out immediately. In response to this demand I will be scaling up our fruit fly breeding colonies. I understand that there are a lot of folks waiting to get these flies, so I will restock them on a weekly basis with increasing quantity as we scale up.

Scorpion Project

Some new additions to the invertebrate room are a bunch of scuttling little stingers- scorpions! We are starting off our breeding collection with black rock scorpions and marbled scorpions. The goal is to establish more captive bred scorpions in Australia. As it stands, a vast majority of scorpions (and other invertebrates) are wild caught for the pet trade. The invertebrate hobby is growing rapidly, and so shall the amount of wild collecting to supply it. For the future sustainability of the hobby and to meet the needs of people who would prefer to buy captive bred, we are going to do our best to breed scorpions and other invertebrates.

This does present a lot of challenges. 

Firstly, wild caught breeding pairs are required to get started. For some species and invertebrate groups, it can be difficult to obtain compatible breeding pairs (especially praying mantids).

Secondly, many of these species take time to mature and breed. For some scorpions, growing from a hatchling to a sexually mature adult can take two years… in addition to that, female scorpions can gestate offspring for equally as long before giving live birth. That’s a long time to wait! But you can see why, perhaps wild collecting may not be sustainable with how long it takes to breed. 

Thirdly, it’s still going to be cheaper for many people to buy wild caught invertebrates. Wild catching takes less effort than taking all the time to care for, raise and breed captive invertebrates. Breeding efforts will have to be a passion project, as it isn’t profitable when competing with wild catching. We’ll keep trying to breed them though! The funds to keep going will mostly come from other sales from the site, like starter cultures, shrimp and feeders. 

The Addition of Guppies

We recently acquired Tiger Endler’s Guppies for one of our spare tanks. I’m considering a foray into livebearers and their many beautiful varieties in the future. Tiger endlers had to be first, because for many years I’ve wanted to keep endler’s guppies. At some point guppies may be added to for sale on the website, depending on how things go.

That was a lot to unpack. If you managed to make it through to this point, thank you very much for reading.

- Jennifer Mai

On going projects:

More shrimp food for a better complete diet (packaging and label stage)

  • 10 South American fishes colouring cards set. (done, looking for printers)
  • 10 South East Asia fishes colouring cards set (done, looking for printers)
  • 10 African fishes colouring cards set (currently illustrating)
  • 10 Oceania fishes colouring cards set (currently illustrating)
  • Breeding mealworms (starting the first generations, slow due to cold...)
  • Get cricket farming to supply our breeding operation.
  • False Garden Mantis: Ootheca in diapause until spring/summer.