I vacationed in southwest Florida last month. As always, we did a lot of fishing while we were there. We caught quite the collection. Among the sea creatures we caught were sheepshead, speckled sea trout, redfish, flounder, grouper, snapper, lizardfish, ladyfish, snakefish, scalloped hammerhead sharks, and a stingray. Not bad!

damn fish

…and a few hardhead catfish.

Saltwater catfish are a bit different than their freshwater brethren.

A hardhead catfish stuck me with one of his barbels while I was trying to unhook him to return to the water. He was really small and I had my fingers in his mouth as I wrestled with the barbed hook — he swung his backside around and got me in the palm.

The slime they are covered in is poisonous, and getting it into the puncture from the barbel can be a very bad thing. I squeezed my hand to make a lot of blood run out to clean the wound, rinsed it off in the saltwater, then used hydrogen peroxide and triple antibiotic ointment on the puncture when I got home from fishing. It looked like it was healing fine until a WEEK later when it got really itchy and inflamed. I punctured it with a needle shortly after this photo was taken. Now it seems to be fine, though there’s still a little spot there.

One of the fishing books I was reading to identify fish on our trip actually said not to touch these fish at all, to just club them. Of the ten or so that we caught this trip, only one of them punctured me — I catch them every trip down there and this was the first one EVER that managed to puncture me. Just be cautious and know that they have barbels. No sense in killing them for no reason. They are fun to catch and they are useful scavengers.


Today’s shot, just a quick one when I ran out to work from the library.


I love this tree though.

New Tank

Fishkeeping is a funny hobby. It’s infectious. While I worked on setting up my freshwater planted community tank, N had the urge to start up a marine reef tank again.

On Christmas Eve, we got up at 5am and drove down to the airport to pick up three boxes of live rock and sand.

Live tropical fish
live tropical fish

We arrived home and N worked quickly to get the live sand and rock into his 29 gallon tank. Fairly quickly a bunch of hitchhikers showed themselves:

It's a hermit crab!

The tank is still cycling now. We’re working on capturing a few unsavory characters — a gorilla crab and a bunch of whelks. There are a couple of fish in it now, a blue devil damsel and a domino damsel.