Jump to content

Aquarium book (1890)

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_mywan_*

  • Guests

Posted 20 January 2012 - 10:00 PM

I found a really cool 1890s aquarium book available online I thought some might be interested in. Formats available are Online, PDF, EPUB, Kindle, Daisy, Full Text, and DjVu.

Fresh-water aquaria: their construction, arrangement, and management, with full information as to the best water-plants and live stock to be kept, how and where to obtain them, and how to keep them in health (1890).

This was before electric pumps and such. It's interesting that today we can lose fish really fast in a power failure. It includes a lot that of construction techniques, and a lot of information on keeping muscles, water bugs, and other stuff not normally kept in aquariums today. The English is a bit aged with terms like carbonic-acid gas instead of CO2. It's a lot easier to read than science papers generally were of the day though. It's not copyrighted in any way. Here is a quote:

After not a few failures and disappointments, most of my attempts were successful, and as I began to have more knowledge of these things, I resolved that I would, at some time or other, try to wite such a book as that I wished for so much when I was making my first blunders in aquarium matters. By-and-by, Mr. Upcott Gill was good enough to give me an opportunity of contributing to The Bazaar a series of articles upon the fresh-water aquarium. These articles are now re-published in book form, and so in this way I have kept my resolution and have written my book; but as I finished looking over the "proofs" of its last chapter, I confessed, with not a little mortification, that it fell far short of the book I had hoped to write. However, I shall feel very thankful if I can be the means of saving some keepers of an aquarium from disappointment, and many aquatic animals from unnecessary suffering.

#2 Guest_steve_*

  • Guests

Posted 21 January 2012 - 12:48 AM

I've spent nearly the last two hours reading many parts of it. This is some really interesting stuff. He even discusses the keeping of some NA natives. It's well worth the reading. Thanks for posting.


P.S. This remedy that Mr. Bateman mentioned is kind of interesting;

When gold-fish, by accident, have been allowed to remain for a long time out of water, they may frequently be revived by administering a little brandy, even if they are apparently quite dead.

#3 Guest_mywan_*

  • Guests

Posted 21 January 2012 - 04:19 AM

Don't tell granny bout the brandy :laugh:

I think I want to try several unpowered aquariums similar to those described for various types of species. Perhaps another in a child's swimming pool with a floating barge to grow plants in. Right now I'm getting some starter cultures of algae going as feed stock for some experiments.

#4 Guest_mywan_*

  • Guests

Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:16 AM

Never even noticed this subsection of the forum before ;-)

#5 Guest_EricaWieser_*

  • Guests

Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:58 PM

I am on page 3 where the author, G. C. Bateman, is talking about how surface area of water exposed to air is important. Too little water surface and the fish will die. Greater water surface mean lots of exchange of oxygen with the water and that your fish will live. To emphasize his point he says, "At the present time one pike (9 in. long), twenty very small roach (about l.5 in. long), nine perch (from 2.5 in. to 3 in. long), and one large water newt (Triton cristatus) are living in perfect health in an aquarium 21in. by 13.75 in., but which contains water only 2 in. deep-- sufficient to cover the dorsal fin of the biggest fish as he swims just clear of the bottom." Point made, G. C. Bateman. Point made.

Thank you for sharing this; I'm having a lot of fun reading it :)

Also, lol. When discussing tank shapes:
"Another receptacle for water and fish is the common glass globe (Fig. 5), which has nothing whatever to recommend it, except perhaps to those who delight to hang their unfortunate captives--suspended by a chain from the ceiling-- in front of the window"
He hates betta bowls as much as I do XD

Edited by EricaWieser, 01 February 2012 - 08:58 PM.

#6 Guest_steve_*

  • Guests

Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:51 PM

Erica, I'm surprised you hadn't already read and digested this one completely. Must have been a busy week. It is fascinating.

Mywan, please keep us updated on any non powered tanks you decide to set up. I'm definitely interested in how it goes. I've had tanks with hornwort setting in front a window before, but I've also had a filter running on them. The hornwort survived, but I'm not sure there would have been enough growth to take the ammonia from the water without the filter or not. Then again, maybe the hornwort growth would have been better if it was living on ammonia instead of nitrates. Anyway, my window space has been occupied for a while now with Sumo, the toad, who enjoys sunbathing in the morning sunlight.


#7 Guest_mywan_*

  • Guests

Posted 03 February 2012 - 02:09 PM

I will. Trying to make up my mind, but I think I want to use one of those $10 child's swimming pools moved indoors. Deep enough, with with lots of surface area. I usually put them outside so wild frogs are singing by my front door most of the year. I also have a number of other projects that I didn't get done last summer like I hoped. I also have some algae experiments I'm setting up. I'll probably later try some home built tanks similar to what's described in the book.

#8 Guest_EricaWieser_*

  • Guests

Posted 03 February 2012 - 02:43 PM

I'll probably later try some home built tanks similar to what's described in the book.

That was the one section of the book that I feel was really outdated compared to modern techniques. Making fishtanks out of metal and zinc and slate... The history of the polymer industry is very interesting. That author, writing that book in 1890, couldn't have anticipated the radical increase in materials that would occur over the next sixty years. It's easier to build a tank nowadays with acrylic, or even plywood painted with a waterproofer (epoxy or liquid rubber). Mass production has also significantly decreased the price of glass sheets.

Here is just one website on the history of plastics: http://www.polymerpl..._plastics.shtml
In 1890, this author was two decades before bakelite, the world's first polymer, was produced. *nods*

And honestly, you don't even have to build your own tank. Internet connectivity has made one person's trash more readily connected to another person's cash. I got my 55 gallon tank for $25 on craigslist.

Edited by EricaWieser, 03 February 2012 - 02:54 PM.

#9 Guest_mywan_*

  • Guests

Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:49 PM

Yeah, I have in mind to use wood on 3 walls and the bottom with textured white FRP board for waterproofing. I got loads of it used when a local plant replaced there walk in incubators. I also have several 1.5 ft x 6 ft pieces of tempered glass I salvaged from a few places. I want to build the back of it lower so the water can spill over into a planted wetland area on the back without needing to pump it there. That should greatly increase surface area in itself, not to mention the filtering and oxygen provided by the plants.

Yeah, the zinc and such sounded a bit dangerous in the book, but they had less information in those days.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users