JAY — If you're looking for a low maintainence pet, David Nolen has one for you.
He posted an ad Monday for a free, live base rock on Craigslist in the pets section.
"I know it's kind of weird," Nolen said. "This is stuff I've collected from the Gulf over the years, and I'd like to find it a good home."
The rock lived inside his 40-gallon reef tank for 25 years and has "been through a lot," he wrote in the ad. Last summer, the air conditioning went out in Nolen's home and most of the inhabitants of the tank died except for one gorilla crab and the little creatures that live on the rock.
To the casual observer the rock is essentially just a rock. But to Nolen it's a small ecosystem of organisims such as brittle stars and sea anemones.
"At one time it was pretty, but now it's pretty much dead," Nolen said with a laugh. "You can refeed it new stuff and it will take over, but right now it looks like a toxic waste dump."
As an engineer, Nolen took pleasure in tinkering with the aquarium and buiding "gizmos." He built his own filtration system for the tank.
"Some of us take things a step further; that's what engineers do," Nolen said. "Much to my wife's chagrin."
With his free time, Nolen would go diving in Destin or Panama City and find creatures for the aquarium. That's the part he liked the most — collecting. Nolen even took to Craigslist to purchase rocks for the aquairum and found them from a seller in DeFuniak Springs.
At one point, the aquarium was bustling with about a dozen fish, snails and crabs. Even an albino sea urchin.
As he plans to retire, Nolen will move from north Santa Rosa County to Freeport, but says he won't have the extra space for an aquairum. He wants somene else to take it over. He's already had a few people contact him. Apparently, even an old rock in a 40-gallon tank can pique someone's interest.
"They're serene to look at," he said. "Aquariums are their own little world."
See the ad https://okaloosa.craigslist.org/pet/d/free-live-base-rock/6385151629.html