I love aquariums. That’s why I was a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium for two years, even though I live a three-and-a-half-hour drive away. Someday, I’d like to renew my membership; watching fish calms the hell outta of me (the hella out of me?), especially jellyfish and cuttlefish:
My love for fish runs deep, my friends. As a child, I used to gravitate to the game where you won a fish by throwing a waffle ball into a cup. (I also gravitated to throwing darts at balloons, but that’s a different post. Someday, I’m going to buy myself this dart and dartboard combo:)
As an adult, I appreciate that the game designers no longer put fish in the cup—at least, I don’t think they do; leave a comment if you’ve recently seen a fish in a cup?—and I think this appreciation stems back to my childhood motives.
See, as a kid, I’m pretty sure I gravitated to the fishbowl game was to save a life.
They just looked so miserable in their tiny globe of a world.
If you don’t remember this game, I found a YouTube from the Orange County Fair, the local fairground my dad, grandma, and I used to visit all the time:
I also loved betta fish, and at my first office job, I bought my cubical a 5g tank with a dwarf frog. I kept that practice up for years, until I moved to Fresno; then I bought a lovely tank from a local store to set up in my living room. The owner is a little odd, so his Yelp reviews are a mixed bag; but I have autism, so I understand what it’s like for people to rip into you for being a little odd.
I personally enjoyed how frank he was in helping me understand aquariums; once I admitted I was upgrading from a 5g solo tank to a small 10g ecosystem, he helped me with every step of the process. I’ve since become a pretend-fishkeeper, like how I pretend-farm in the backyard. Now we have three aquariums at home:
- a 20g with Mickey Mouse and iridescent blue platies, magical crawdads, devil snails, a lot of plants, and a female baby betta;
- a 10g with GloFish, an albino bristlenose pleco, assassin snails, a few plants, and the signature male betta you see on fish food containers;
- a 5g with an extraordinarily fancy, elephant-eared male betta we raised from a Petco container marked “baby girl,” as well as Marimo balls and a snail.
I’d like to visit Blue Planet Aquarium and Seven Seas soon, just to round out my Fresno County aquarium shop experience. Because of the gentle sensory experience of floor-to-above-my-head aquariums, visiting a fish store is similar to going to the movies, arcade, or out for coffee.
Similarly, community aquariums like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Aquarium of the Pacific let me bask in the calm glow of a massive wall of water, filled with elegant, colorful life, navigating a universe with similar physics, yet different concerns.
In July, when we visit Lanai for our honeymoon, I originally wanted to swim with dolphins; but I learned how disruptive this can be to their lives, so we’re going on a mini-cruise instead, where we can enjoy their company from a respectful distance.
Or…maybe…from an up-close distance…?