The Birth of American Aquariums in Pets in America: A History

Discussion in 'Books & Magazines' started by Matt Rogers, Feb 17, 2011.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Flipping through the pages of Pets in America: A History by Katherine Grier, it is amazing to see how far back our hobby goes. As early as the 1830's there was already small-scale goldfish farming which grew into millions by century's end - going across the country on railroad for as cheap as $2.50 for 100. By the 1920's, tropical fish were being marketed in newspapers. A shipment from Siam to San Francisco in 1927 of a betta fish with "fiery flowing fins" sparked the Siamese fighting fish craze that is still around today.

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    By the 1850's american aquarium books were being published. It is interesting to note that they often pushed an ecosystem/natural approach. In part due to lack of available commercial filtration and also due to the fact that many of the early hobbyists were naturalists as well.

    Early hobbyists had heating challenges and some even rigged systems made of copper or glass tubing filled with water heated by bunsen burners. Others simply put the aquariums in the warmest room or even top of covered steam radiators. The development of tiny electric heating coils for toasters and irons eventually led to the submersible aquarium heater in 1930.

    What really gives one pause looking at this book are the illustrations of the old aquariums. They were beautiful and ornate as shown below. I think it's time to bring these details back to modern aquariums. Don't you?


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    Illustration from Pets in America: A History

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    Buy Pets in America: A History here:
    Amazon.com: Pets in America: A History (9780807829905): Katherine C. Grier: Books
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
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  3. M-Ocean Man

    M-Ocean Man Flame Angel

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    WOW!!!

    Awesome throwback!!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!
     
  4. fishyfinder

    fishyfinder Teardrop Maxima Clam

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  5. Renee@LionfishLair

    Renee@LionfishLair 3reef Sponsor

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    I get lots of great stories from my in-laws. Pops was into tanks since he was very young and he's turning 80 this year. He still has some of those metal rimmed tanks for saltwater.
     
  6. SkyFire

    SkyFire Clown Trigger

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    Cool. THanks for sharing.

    I made a 1g fishbowl more ornate and pretty, to match my mantle...I'll post a pic when I get home.
     
  7. markbyrne24

    markbyrne24 Plankton

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    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful history.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2011
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  9. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for sharing Matt, very cool to see