Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Aquariums are Autistic (Episode 51)

Aquariums are Autistic (Episode 51)

Featuring Autistic guest: Daniel Carroll
A: This is the Alien theme. M: Seriously. A: I mean, I feel like Sigourney Weaver needs to be around for some of this.

Autistic pod hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria and Matt Lowry, LPP, interview their guest, Daniel, about his special interest in aquariums and fish tanks. Daniel explains how he originally had an aquarium as a child and became fascinated again as an adult, falling into a delightful research rabbit hole about aquarium setup, maintenance, shrimp breeding, etc.

“I'm almost never satisfied by simply understanding the gist. It's never enough for me. No matter what the decision is that I'm going to make, I obsessively research. And as part of that obsessive research, I have realized that a whole lot of people that sound like they know what they're talking about are only regurgitating things that they have learned to regurgitate.”
- Daniel

Daniel discusses the different types of shrimp he keeps, including Cardina and Neocaridina varieties, and some of the challenges of keeping more sensitive Cardina shrimp happy in a typical planted aquarium environment. He goes in depth about optimizing water conditions, aquascaping plant selection for shrimp, and some of the fish tank inhabitants that coexist with the shrimp.

The group talks about how Daniel's special interest intersects with some of his other interests like 3D printing and software development. His monotropic focus with tuning and optimizing systems carries over from his aquarium design to how he has modified and improved his 3D printers.

“This is the reason why we do autistic-centered therapy, because allistic anxiety comes from like a lack of serotonin, lack of dopamine, lack of norepinephrine. Our anxiety comes from the constant processing of all those variables, the fear of the unknown, the fear of how these things are going to interact, what will happen tomorrow.” - Matt

There is an extended tangent where Daniel explains in detail the shrimp mating, reproduction, and egg caring process. The hosts react with fascinated horror at some of the specifics. The passion Daniel exhibits in discussing his interests helps the hosts feel an emotional connection and closeness in sharing vulnerabilities.

“I felt closer to you, not because I wanted (an aquarium) for me. But I was like, rather than small talk…I was like, wow, what a cool and interesting person. I feel closer to Daniel. I feel like you were vulnerable with me and telling me the research that went into it. That's what makes me feel closer to someone.” - Angela

The episode wraps up with Daniel feeling good that his past work automating systems for Angela's company has lived on and continues to be utilized.

What’s your little world that you like to build and control?

Video: Daniel’s Shrimp World

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Aquariums are AutisticAquariums are Autistic
Aquariums are AutisticAquariums are Autistic

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Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Welcome to the Autistic Culture Podcast. Each episode we dive deep into Autistic contributions to society and culture by introducing you to some of the world’s most famous and successful Autistics in history!
Whether you are Autistic or just love someone who is, your hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria, the Linguistic Autistic and Licensed Psychological Practitioner, Matt Lowry, welcome you to take this time to be fully immersed in the language, values, traditions, norms, and identity of Autistica!
To learn more about Angela, Matt, and the Autistic Culture Podcast visit