Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Accepting "obsessions" ... or.... FISH, a guest post by Master L

One of the things accepting Autism means in our house is encouraging special interests. The best way to tell you about this is to introduce you to MasterL. So, I asked him to tell you all about his current hobby. What follows is all from him.

At the moment I am really interested in keeping tropical fish aquariums. I have a 4ft tank. It has a large heater in it and a four chamber filter.I have a levels testing kit that I use for testing the pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. That is important so that nothing gets too high or low and fish die. Tropical fish need particular environments to live in. 

I also have a small tank. In that tank I have a smaller heater and a built in one chamber filter. I use the same testing kit for that tank. 

I feed the fish basic tropical fish flakes. I have sinking pellets and bloodworms to feed once a week for the fish that won't eat flakes. Some fish that live in more shallow areas like swamps and small clear ponds tend to feed from the surface and they eat the flakes. The ones that live in more fresh rock pool and river like areas tend to eat from the bottom of the tank, so I feed them blood worms and sinking pellets. 

In the little tank I keep a Siamese Fighting fish. He is in there because he had an injury with the filter intake in the big tank and his back fins got damaged. The Siamese Fighter is also known as the Betta fish, they are very territorial towards their own kind and it is best to only keep one per tank. They originate from the shallow waters of Thailand.
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The large tank is not so much used as emergency and is full of schooling fish such as the next topic fish, the Silver Shark. We have two silver sharks, despite their name, Silver Sharks are actually Minnows. They can grow to about 50 cms, but that takes a long time.
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I have 2 Gouramis in the large tank. One is a Flame Gourami. The other is a Silver Gourami which is funny because it actually looks quite blue. My favourite thing about Gouramis is how uniquely they move and use their weird antennae when they move. 

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I have 5 fish called Widows. They are silver and black, like the Silver Sharks but they are quite a different shape. On the bottom of them they seem to have a fan fin that flutters a little. They school with each other, and sometimes with the Serpaes. I have 5 Serpaes. They are similar to the Widows, but are kind of a peach colour. 

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I have 3 Albino Corys. They are a small catfish. They grow to about 5 centimetres. They are some of the fish that like to feed off the bottom. They are often found in streams and rivers in South America. There is also a Sucking Catfish. I used to have 4 but 3 died.

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My favourite fish (which I saved for last) is my Black Ghost Knife Fish. The can grow up to 30cms long. They are a relative of the Electric Eel. Their electric abilities are very weak and mainly used to detect food. Unlike most eels he has a wavy long ventral fin (along his underside) rather than a long dorsal fin. Although he moves quite smoothly, we have researched and found out he can move quite quickly if he wants to. Some people have trained their Knife Fish to feed from their hands, and I'd like to do that. He is quite shy and he spends a lot of time hiding in the plants and secret places. When he comes out he is really interesting to watch because of his fin and because he can move any way he wants- up down forwards, backwards.... he's the most amazing fish in my tank. He is not incredibly easy to take care of, but he's not too hard either, so I'd recommend him for beginners as long as they are willing to try.     

It can be really hard work establishing a new tank. I have come across many problems keeping the chemical levels right. It has been hard to achieve what I have. It is worth it though because when you get it right having a fish tank is really enjoyable. 


  1. Way to go MasterL! You have made many interesting scientific observations.

  2. Well Master L. You have an amazing amount of knowledge about your fish. I found this so interesting to read, thank you! I too love the way you observe your fish and take care of them. Well done!

  3. I love fish very much and so I loved to read this, because I am not so good at doing aquariums, but I love to look at those which other people make, so I can see the fish. Thank you for writing it. I could picture the fish well. I wonder why the one Silver Gourami has that name when it looks quite blue!


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