October 26 – Aquarium fish

A few weeks ago I bought several books on marine aquaria.  Used books are really cheap online, by the way.  One of them, by far the best in many ways, had a diagram of a set-up for photographing fish in the aquarium.  It turned out that I had the required gear.  I must be recovering from my illness, as I had sufficient motivation to try it out on my freshwater aquarium at home.  Of course, after I was done scraping the algae and cleaning the glass the fish were freaked out and the water was full of debris.  I didn’t care too much, as this would be attempt 1.0, and primarily experimental.  At first I tried without the flashes.  The aquarium looks very bright, especially in a dark room, but the camera sure doesn’t see it that way.  After a couple of frames of dark blurriness, I activated the flashes, whereupon too much light became the problem, especially when the fish was in front of the big white geode.  These are not the kinds of fish that normally appear in this blog!

Black neon tetra

I originally got these after the first two batches of regular neon tetras died.  The black species retains some of the glow, but is a lot more robust.  They last a long time.

Hockey stick tetra

I got the first hockey stick when it was accidentally included with my first batch of black neons.  I didn’t even notice it at first .  I got to like it for it’s unusual color pattern and great longevity. 

Serpae tetra

This species provides some additional color to the fish stock.  Like the other tetras, they run in the middle of the aquarium.  I think I still have four of the original six I purchased a couple of years ago.

Hatchet fish

These hang around near the surface, helping to stratify the fish from top to bottom.  The deep belly is full of muscle, powering those long pectoral fins.  Sadly, that means when the water gets bad or they are spooked, they jump out of the aquarium like flying fish.  Last year when the filter quit and I was out of town, Savannah found a couple of them dried up on the living room floor.  I just like their look.

I have a few bottom dwellers: an Indian loach (maybe two) and a couple of algae eaters, but they only come out at night.  I waited up for them, but they never gave me a good look.

I’m going to write down my camera settings here just so I’ll have a record of them.
F/6.3, 1/250 s, ISO 400 , auto focus, remote shutter, two remote flashes (one on each side of the aquarium pointing down through the lid opening) .    Now that I look at them, I think I would go to lower ISO and higher F.    A black backdrop on the aquarium might help as well.  The most important thing I learned is that the fish has to be in a place that gets ideal light–not too close to the surface (too bright) or too close to the back (too dark), etc. 

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