In around 2000 B.C., the ancient Chinese raised carp in ponds for food. The successful breeding of this species produced color mutations that gave birth to red, orange, and yellow colored fish. Instead of eating these fish, they spared them and moved them to smaller containers for display. Freshwater aquarium history dates back to ancient times and was started by early civilizations. 1. Ancient civilizations kept fish in artificial ponds for food. In time, they have seen the beauty of some species of fish and began to keep them for amusement. This is what the Romans did when they kept sea barbels in marble tanks and put them under the bed of guests. Freshwater aquarium history has started since then and now, the aquarium hobby is being enjoyed by millions of people in the whole world
In 1841, Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward used his Wardian case for tropical animals where he kept toy fish and aquatic plants. The glazed case was originally used in his experiment on ferns. It was also used to transfer ferns and grasses from England to Australia and became the forerunner of the terrarium.
The basic concept and design of the Wardian case became the inspiration for the present day aquarium. Botanists and biologists started the idea of keeping plants and animals in an enclosure for the purpose of observing them indoors whenever they want. Anna Thynne of London created the first balanced marine aquarium when for almost three years; she maintained stony corals and seaweed.
The idea of a balanced aquarium was developed in the 1800s. The guiding principle was that a symbiotic relationship between fish and aquatic plants could be duplicated in a miniature aquatic ecosystem. This was a pivitol point that became so significant that it still is in use today.
English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse was credited as the person to use the word “aquarium” and it was in his time that aquarium became very popular in the United Kingdom. The Great Expedition of 1851 which was an exhibit on what was then, modern technology celebrated the design and displays were shocased with pride and envy. One of the exhibits featured in the event were flamboyant aquariums in cast iron frames. The people were happy with what they watched that went to the exhibit. Two years after the exhibit, the Fish House was opened in London Zoo. It was the first large public aquarium ever built.
freshwater aquarium history was heavily influenced by the creation of books and articles as well as public speeches about their beauty. Philip Henry Gosse’s book, “The Aquarium: An Unveiling of the Wonders of the Deep Sea” and provided the reader with details of aquatic life although he particularly discussed saltwater aquaria.
In 1856, the article “The Lake in a Glass” was published in Germany and it talked about freshwater aquaria. within a decade, aquarist’ societies were popping up everywherein the country. The United States published the world’s first aquarium magazine in 1876 and two years after, the first tropical fish from the Far East were introduced by Rear Admiral Daniel Ammon. One of the first published books in the country about aquaria was Henry D. Butler’s, “The Family Aquarium” and its first aquarist society was founded in New York in 1893.
As aquariums became widely accepted as a hobby, improvements in the tank design and introduction of the first freshwater aquarium accessories gave the first aquarists the motivation to continue what they have started. The first mechanical air pump powered by running water was invented in the early 1900s.
Filtering and heating became popular with the advent of common electricity and this allowed for the creation of various kinds of aquarium equipment like heaters and water pumps. Another pivotal improvement that played an important role in freshwater aquarium history was the development of the plastic shipping bag in the 1950’s. Fish were now able to go to multiple locations with the use of the new equipment and that made it easier to ship fish everywhere. Before plastic shipping bags were used, fish transports were done by using jugs made from various materials.
The aquarium tank itself greatly improved from the marble tank of the Roman era to the custom built MacQuarium, an aquarium built from the shell of an Apple Macintosh computer. In the Victorian Era, aquariums were made by a combination of glass front and wood sealed by a type of resin. Robert Warrington created the first aquarium made entirely of glass. At present, glass is still used as tank material but in recent years acrylic was introduced. It is a transparent thermoplastic that is shatter-resistant and lighter than glass. A material that combines the strength of acrylic and clarity of glass is the laminated glass and aquarium that is now becoming popular worldwide.
The evolution of freshwater fish is also a momentous part of freshwater aquarium history. The goldfish have been bred in lots of varieties from the original Carp species. Tropical fish have been also successfully bred with fancy varieties that are more colorful and appealing. The freshwater aquarium hobby has exploded and many new species of fish have been discovered as well as created as a direct result of this hobby. More scientific studies and research provided much needed information about the fish and their habitat which in turn helped them live longer in the tank. Nowadays, in the U.S. and Asia most of the fish used in aquariums are bred and caught in the wild.
At the end of the 20th century, an estimated nine million households in the United States keep an aquarium. These American households own more than 140 million freshwater fish according to the 2005 and 2006 data and 9.6 million saltwater fish. Aquarium keeping as a hobby is already second to stamp collecting and will continue to grow as technology continues to improve.