Fish Rearing, History and Aspects of Aquaria
A little history lesson. Aquariums only began to become something other than a food source in the early 19th century. Until then fish were on occasion kept for short times in glass containers but in the main, captive fish meant food.
In 1850 a Mr Harrington reported in a paper to the Chemical Society, London, that he had maintained a stable aquarium. This sparked interest and launched fish keeping as a hobby. 2 years later the London Zoo began work on an Aquarium, which opened in 1853.
Not long afterwards aquariums sprang up in all the major towns and cities. Cold-water marine were the first and main attraction, with aquariums concentrating on native species. Many plants used have long since succumbed to the end of their existence thanks to the pollution of Britain’s waterways.
The aquarium became a fashion item in Victorian England but tank designs left a lot to be desired, going for the ornate as opposed to the safe; many fish being poisoned by their tanks!
As we all know, Victorians traveled the world collecting anything and everything, it wasn’t long before tropical species began to find their way into the United Kingdom. 1890 has records of Paradise fish being kept. Please bear in mind opinions can differ; this is a broad based guideline.
Developing an Interest in Fish Keeping
So, you’re browsing the net and stumble upon this article. You have never kept fish of any sort before and think to yourself that it’s either too complicated or too expensive.
Think again. The initial setting up of an aquarium may take a few well earned coppers from the wallet but after that it’s pretty much as and when you want, how much etc.
If you read no further, it’s because you do not want to set up a fish tank, so why are your here? Maybe curiosity? In that case read on and see if this is the soothing, relaxing hobby that you would like to take on.
Why do you think many dental surgeries have an aquarium in their waiting rooms, office receptions sometimes have them as well as many Directors suites? And Veterinary Surgeries too! The reason is simple, it’s therapeutic.
My mum used to visit my house long ago when I was first married and sat for ages looking into the aquariums I had set up in a large kitchen. She said that it was much better than watching the TV and very relaxing.
Now let’s look at what you need. This is a general guide and you may well think of something not covered or not covered in enough detail.
Strangely enough it’s not always the first thing on people’s minds, WHERE is the tank going to go? Avoid direct sunlight; this has the effect of causing “green water” and excesses of algae. It also causes abnormal temperature build ups possibly “cooking”.
Mains sockets nearby, you might need a good multiplug adapter? I use the computer anti surge sockets; they may actually save your expensive fish in the event of a spike or surge. What is the tank going to stand on? Will it be on solid concrete or floorboards? Floorboards can move under the weight. Your tank needs good support. Too big a tank on floorboards and it will move causing stress fractures and then possibly a complete collapse.
You have got your tank home and in position but before you do anything, ensure it’s ready. Wipe down the insides using kitchen towel or disposable tissue wetted in clean clear water.
NO DETERGENTS!!! And NO boiling water. I found a useful tool in the shape of those sponges you can buy with a nylon “scrubber” backing. Do not use one that has been used for dishes beforehand as it is saturated with dishwashing chemicals.
There are numerous plastic and glass tanks on the market; we have many types and sizes constantly in stock in our store. They are available in various shapes and sizes to suit both your needs and your budget. We are not all Bill Gates or Lottery winners! Popular sizes are 60cm x 30cm x 30cm (24 x 12 x 12) which holds about 45 litres or 10 gallons of water. 90cm x 30cm x 30cm (36 x 12 x 12) which holds about 68 litres (15 gallons); there are also 48 inch and bigger, depending upon your needs?
The tank needs support and you can buy custom made stands in the shop. Also required is a “base” between the tank and stand, usually of expanded polystyrene to “absorb” the weight distribution evenly.
Very important when you consider the volume/pressure of the water on the glass surrounds. You can buy a tank for as little as £6 basic plastic or upwards of £8000 for a majestic fully equipped marine tank. Let me add here that marine tanks are a different ball game. They are usually specialist designed and have built in protein skimmers, filtration etc.