It started with a fish.
I won a fish on the ‘hook a duck’ at the fun fair, I was 5 years old. My brother won one too, Mom put them both in one of those 1970’s over sized brandy glasses. We called our fishes, Tom and Jerry.
For my 10th Birthday
The present I wanted the most, I got.
My first Aquarium.
I kept cold water fishes and they gave me a place to stare, I found the movement of the water through the filtering system extremely calming, and I knew each of my fishes and how they responded. My aquarium was in my bedroom it acted as a night light and the soothing sound of filtering water helped me to drift off into sleep.
When I moved into my own flat at the age of 18, I still had this fish tank and I started my first tropical aquarium. I had been wanting to do this for years, but Mom and Dad would only let me have cold water fishes.
I started with easy to keep fish in a community tank, Guppies, Mollies, Zebra Danios, Neon tetras and some smaller variety of Gourami.
MY ONE BOOK
At this age I was fascinated by all the varieties
The different names and how to keep these beautiful creations alive. I learnt about water values and how to test for nitrates. I learnt how to control the temperature and which fishes would breed at higher water temperatures. I knew which fish were live bearers, egg layers, egg depositors. I became obsessed with everything that my ONE book taught me.
I can see now that if someone would have taken my passion for keeping fishes at the age of 10, and used it to help me read, to help me understand science, to look at the fishes anatomy, maybe research all the different plants that I could have grown in my aquarium. My educational experience could have been so very different and such a positive one.
Oh well…such is life!!
At the age of 26, I became homeless and I was very ill with depression. I was close to breakdown and having regular suicidal thoughts. My Mom had me back home and she gave me and my 2 year old *AJ her master bedroom. She bought me a new fish tank, a bigger one, and she told me to fill it with the most beautiful tropical fishes I could find.
Doing this helped me so much and I am so grateful for the wisdom that God gave my Mom. I would go out with my boy and we would find the most amazing Aquatic centres. They always had little cafes and we had a fabulous time looking at all the wonderful fishes.
When *AJ was 9 my Mom bought him his first aquarium
He was fascinated with testing the ph and nitrate levels he also memorised names, temperatures, origins and tank types. He would talk none stop about his aquarium and his teacher was fascinated at his knowledge. I got him so many books and he read every one of them. He loved his tank so much and then one night the thermostat over heated and boiled all the fish, we came down to an awful smell. All his beautiful tropical fish were white and floating on the top of the tank. My *AJ cried his eyes out, and refused to ever talk about it.
Here is a photo of him with his first aquarium, before the boiling obviously
In the cage next to the tank is “BOB” the Gerbil, we later changed his name to “Beelze-BOB”
That Gerbil was just plain evil.
*AJ, 9 years old, with his fishes
*AJ later went on to breeding mice,
He won shows at the national mouse association. I took advantage of his “SPECIAL INTEREST” he was obsessed with mice, so I used it to teach him in SO many ways. He had to clean them out and feed them every day and he had 57 at one point.
Over the years
Me and my kids have kept fish, mice, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, quails, budgies, love birds, cockatiels, finches, cats, dogs, kakarikis, tree frogs and a snake.
We have quite a library of animal husbandry. I know that through animals I have not felt the loneliness in my life that some Aspies feel. My animals have been my friends, I have loved them and they have loved me back. They have given me friendship, companionship, many giggles….I had a Cockerel once called DUDE who would sit on my shoulder like a pirates parrot. A rabbit that came when it was called. My Kakariki loved being stroked and would call me to tell me he loved me. I had a cat called Fusspot who would regularly steal marsh mellows lick them and flick them up the wall. My dogs, cats and rabbits have given me a shoulder to cry on, and someone to talk to who is an exceptional listener, and never judgemental. My animals have brought me through tough times by being unique creations, they helped me to look to God and see Him in who they are and how they have been created.
My little *CAL looking at fish in an aquatic centre