Today's aquarium keeping has been perfected by fish keepers into an exact science. How did the fish keeping hobby develop?
This has been achieved through many centuries of aquaculture. Aquariums are only the most recent stage in the evolution of fish keeping.
The roots of popular aquaria were not practiced for the aesthetic qualities that drive the popularity of today's fish keeping. In the beginning fish keeping was no more than a method of storing excess food.
Ponds and small water bodies provided a bulk aquatic larder when a more than ample catch was made. During early history Egyptians kept some fish species in cold water vessels.
Selective Fish Breeding Begins
Modern aquarium fish breeding practices first really began in the ancient Far East. Selective breeding methods to improve goldfish were being employed in china before 1000 AD. This Sung dynasty period saw rapid developments in knowledge in the area of fish requirements.
Japan first embraced domestic fish in the 1500’s. Koi ponds have since become an icon of Japanese culture. Shortly afterward during the Renaissance period, the arrival of glass fish bowls in Europe saw fish keeping established in England.
Aquariums In Western Culture
As scientific knowledge expanded, large public aquariums and fish keeping societies developed. The first major public aquarium facility was at the London Zoological Gardens in Regents Park.
Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis) were imported into Paris in 1868. They were the first tropical aquarium fish kept and were immediately popular because of their hardiness and novel appearance. Paradise fish could tolerate wide temperature extremes and had the ability to breathe surface air. This made them excellent aquarium subjects.
Aquariums of the period were often ornate in design. Scrolled engraving work on the glass was typical. The metal framed tanks were much heavier than the silicone bonded aquariums of today.