So where did this hobby birth from, it started with me growing up in rural countryside in Indiana surrounded by corn fields in all directions, pong on Atari was fun for only so long...it was in those long ago days when children played outside without the fear of ending up in Dexter situation. I was a regular bug catcher and animal observer because frankly their was nothing else better to do when you live in the middle of a bunch of corn fields. From watching the praying mantis devour a helpless grasshopper to climbing up a tree to look in a Red Robbins nest to see the baby birds open their bright yellow mouths for a worm.
My passion for fish was a combination of doctors office visits as I said before and Walmart, yes I said Walmart.
I had the awesome privilege of being at the bottom of the food chain myself as a Walmart stockman, cleaning up spills on aisle 5, cleaning up the fimine product wrappers in the women's bathroom at closing and finally pushing in the carts on the coldest day = character development.
To take solice from the scary bathrooms I had to clean I would often hung out in the pet department to kill time between cart pushing. I performed many experiments with the multiple fish tanks.
My first and favorite was to scoop out a few of the small goldfish (feeder fish) and drop them in the Oscar tank. Something about watching the black Oscars with their distinct blotches of orange swallow these feeder fish whole that were 1/4 their size was absolutely fascinating.
Typically in the first swallow they would take in half the goldfish leaving the tail end to stick out like a cigar that would wiggle as the feeder fish struggled to go in reverse to leave the jaws of death.
My experiments went further into cruelty as I would drop feeder fish in African Cichlid fish tank, not pretty. Basically if the cichlid cannot shallow a fish whole it would chase it continiously biting/picking it apart bit by bit until it is dead...and then it is a fish buffet for the rest of the cichlids. It is a vicious thing to watch because they will not stop, they continue to pursue the feeder fish ripping it fins off until it cannot swim and then it becomes a feeding frenzy. Imagine what would happen to small goldfish dropped into this tank? It would not be pretty!
I moved past the teenage fascination of death (Deathnote is a good series to see on this subject) to enjoy watching Parrot fish, and finally I began to appreciatte the more delicate fish like guppies.
My foster parent who I lived with at the time had a fish tank that he let me take free reign with. I took many of the interesting fish home to watch. To be honest the fish continued to die as I did not understand the basics for cycling the fish tank, overcrowding and proper filtration.
From then I took a 16 year hiatus from fish tanks, with the purchase of a home it seemed high time to go back to that teenage interest, but this time with a little Internet education and planning. The next series of post will focus on this new adventure.