Cajun Aggie


In 1971, after four years in the Air Force, I found myself attending The Texas Maritime Academy in Galveston. During that first semester, I took Oceaneering 101 as an elective and read about "dynamic equilibrium". As a marine engineer, I was intrigued with this chemistry biology thing. At Christmas time, I was gifted a 55G aquarium with an undergravel filter. With Oceaneering 101 under my belt, I researched substrate and came up with crushed up oyster shells from a chicken feed store. With the rear seat removed, I transported 60 gallons of water collected on an incoming tide at the Galveston jetties and filled the tank up. With air pump on uplift tube, aquarium was ready to cycle. I collected grass shrimp and green mollies in the marshes. I find an oyster cluster the size of a 5G bucket, no live oysters but numerous fans waving.

I was hooked on this salt water thing. Then a neighbor came by with a "sea devil" they caught while shrimping. It was really mean looking with menacing red eyes. I took it and put it in the tank without acclimation. I really did not want the fish and hoped she would leave and that the she devil would go into shock and die.. Early the next morning, she devil was counter sunk in substrate with both red eyes looking at me. As I drank my first cup of ci

.Early the next morning, with the lights on "she devil" was sunk into the substrate with both red eyes staring at me. As I drank my first cup of coffee, I could not find any of the shrimp that I had caught. "She Devis" was promptly removed from the tand.

Thus begin a journey that has fascinated me for >45yrs. My philosophy in reefkeeping was summarized by John Turlock in "The Natural Reef" with the phrase "less technology/more biology".

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