by Lesley Scott
Small things that we enjoy can calm and make us feel better.
| Great Therapy
Due to my Bipolar Disorder, coupled With ADHD, my thinking could often become muddled and confused. I had a hard time understanding things and my mind, most of the time,considered, impulsive. Sometimes I just do not think when I am in an impulsive mood. That is one of the symptoms of the ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, which made my thinking process nebular.
During one of my manic, impulsive mind sets, I told my husband, Cliff, “Let’s buy a large aquarium and keep Oscars and other chilids.” I wondered if these aggressive fish would get along with others. The fish, all-young, had a good chance of less arguing. The African Chilids kept to themselves at the bottom of the tank and the Oscars liked to be at the top of the aquarium. The large tank sat on top of a sturdy bookcase so it could be as even as we could set the tank.
Washing the tank proved difficult. One wrong move and it would leak. Rock salt is the best substance to clean an aquarium. Cleaning with soap or disinfectants will make the fish sick. In addition, even tropical fish needed a bit of salt so the tank would be healthy.
After Cliff and I set up the aquarium with gravel, plants and rocks (for hiding spots) on a sturdy bookshelf.. We had to wait at least three days so the biological chemicals naturally found in water would help make the tank safer. We did not want to spend the money on cichlids, as they are expensive, and have them die. To me, with my neurological disorders, three days seemed like three months. Cliff grew tired of me asking, “Is today the day?”
After Christmas with family, I couldn't wait to go home to watch the new fish we had just put in the tank. We only just started out with two guppies to get the biological cycle of the tank functioning. Watching those two small fish helped me relax, I could feel all of the tension leaving my body. I found a way to curb my anxious spells and fell asleep, woke up rested and ready to start writing again. I found, just by luck, a wonderful website that has given me the dream I had lost for years. I feel like I'm taking a creative class. The site I joined, "Writing.com," felt like a place to learn, read and write.
Finally, Cliff announced to me that we could buy more fish. It seemed like a long drive, but the distance to the pet store was about a mile and a half away. I walked as fast as I could to the fish department. I told the girl in charge of the fish exactly what I wanted. She helped me pick out the healthiest and the most colorful cichlids.
I finally decided on one of the smallest Oscars. He swam right up to the top of the tank and looked me in the face. Being smaller than the others, he did not want to fight with the larger fish. I hoped that all of the fish, being young, would tolerate each other. Therefore, we bought two African Chilids and a couple of iridescent blue cichlids. In addition, to keep the tank clean and have less algae, we bought a couple of small Channel Catfish.
We set up the tank on a sturdy bookcase, but we had to be sure. Cliff even used his tool with the bubble to make sure the tank water level stayed even. An aquarium that leans one way or another will start to leak eventually. Cliff told me,“ I think this is a thirty gallon tank. We don’t need to worry about the fish fighting. There’s plenty of room for them to pick out their territory. I gave him a big kiss! “Thank you!”
The fish had to get used to the temperatures to reduce stress. The temperatures can be between seventy five or eighty degrees. We had the thermostat set around eighty, since chiclids prefer warm water. Carefully, the fish gradually got used to the water by letting in a little in the bags slowly. A few minutes later, the fish were exploring their new home.That was when Cliff surprised me with a dozen yellow roses. "It's your Birthday." He told me with love in his eyes. I will never forget how I felt and how much I will love Cliff for the rest of my life. We have a connection through our love for animals, the earth and, of course, each other.
As the fish grew, they tolerated each other. They squabbled at feeding time and we fed them special food just for chiclids to bring out the color. The oscar ate anything I offered. He loved bugs and small “feeder fish.” As he grew, we fed him crickets. Watching the fish interact, I spent a lot of time in front of the aquarium. It helped me to slow down my thought pattern and I had fewer nebulous and quixotic episodes. The fish tank was absorbing, so I was less depressed or manic.
I highly recommend a fish tank for everyone. Children can learn about the fish without holding one and can calm down while watching the drama of the inhabitants of the aquarium. Fish watching is relaxing and it is fun to watch the fish guarding their territories. Gold fish and other tropical fish do well and are also fun to watch. I prefer chiclids because they have no fear. Once, I stuck my hand in the tank and several of the fish attacked my fingers!
I have learned to relax, watching my fish. Who needs a shrink?
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