Meet the Hobbyist Judy Hunter

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Meet the Hobbyist Judy Hunter

Postby Fred Goodall » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:02 am

Meet the Hobbyist Judy Hunter
by Judy Hunter

Well, Hello my fellow hobbyists!

I first got into the fishkeeping hobby about 29 years ago……I was 12! I’ve always been fascinated by all living creatures and fish were a real discovery for me. I loved watching them feed, breed, fight and interact among themselves. I kept a hodgepodge of fish that probably shouldn’t have lived together, but somehow I made it work and they survived. The first fish I remember keeping was a really general mix of mollies, swords and other easy livebearers that work well in a community tank. When I was first on my own I kept some Betta Splendens and was amazed at how fascinating these little guys could be. I still keep a “killer” Betta in my kitchen and I enjoy their personalities as much now as I did back then.

The first fish I really had a relationship with was an Oscar. She was a real pet and a character in her own right. I can’t tell you how many times she convinced me that I was killing her with a move or even just a water change. “I’m really gonna die this time….see how pathetic I am laying on the bottom of this tank, oh gawd, I can’t breathe….You’re killin’ me!” She finally died of HITH at 12 years old….if only I had had access to websites such as this one back then! Her tank was by my desk so I could watch her. If I watched her too long, she’d plant her lips against the tank and push with her tail to tell me to get out of her space! She didn’t like her tank too bright and if her lights were on too long she didn’t think twice to jump up and try to break them! I had to stack heavy books on her tank to stop her from opening the canopy and jumping out! My favorite was a very memorable Thanksgiving feast with all the family over and just as we were sitting down to dinner my sister in law exclaimed “oh, Judy…..what’s your fish doing????” It just seemed the perfect opportunity to suck up that pesky Pleco and keep him in your mouth with nothing but the tail hanging out until he smothered. She did enjoy an audience. Dinner was quiet, needless to say!!

On Friday nights after a busy work week, I’d come home and do her water change and rearrange all the slate and heavy rocks in her tank. I’d build them up into neat structures as solid as I could make them. Then I’d sit back with a nice glass of wine and watch her go about her “housekeeping duties”. She’d tear that tank apart and move rocks clear across the tank if they didn’t suit her where they were (and they never did!) I tried to find suitable tank mates for her over the years. She was beaten senseless by a Jack Dempsey half her size that someone told me would be a great tank mate. I found a new home for him right quick. She had a couple of Oscar tank mates as well for a couple of years at a time. Until she was 8 years old I was convinced she was a male (cuz’ how could a gal be that ugly??) Then one evening I came home from work to find a slate just filled with eggs and her busily fanning them with her tail and chasing the male away. I watched for hours that night but in the morning, alas, they were gone and I wondered if I had dreamt the whole thing.

I first saw discus fish about 20 years ago and it was “love at first sight!” I wanted them ever since but everything I read said they were far too difficult for the average fish keeper so I kept myself occupied with African cichlids and other “easy” species for many years. Every time I saw them I thought “someday!” About four years ago I thought my time was here. No more excuses….no more putting things off I was ready to try keeping the King of the Aquarium!! I have absolutely no regrets and I don’t think I’ll ever look back! Although…..I do keep a trio of Apisto’s and a school of Cardinals in my planted show tank with my discus! They are exactly the challenge I was looking for and the wonderful, eclectic community of people I have met who are also “discus nuts” keep me motivated and wanting more!!

I also share my life with a 9 year old Chocolate Labrador named “Otis” and a 2 year old Timneh African Grey Parrot named “Echo.” Both love to watch the fish although “Echo” is partial to watching The Simpson’s! She’s working on imitating Marge!

My other interests include good food (of all kinds), making handmade pottery and music. I also enjoy cultivating orchids and other unusual plants like the cactus pictured behind me. Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a night bloomer. Its beautifully fragrant 9” flowers appear once a year and last for one night only. They are dead by dawn. I love the way the ugliest plants often have the most spectacular flowers! I enjoy nature and all it’s wonders. I can only hope this life is long enough to explore all that I’d like to discover in it!
Last edited by Fred Goodall on Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Fred Goodall
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