Friday, March 8, 2013

Underwater Worlds and the Fish that Occupy Them

   I love having pet fish because they provide a view into an underwater world. I have three fish tanks in my home and they all have real plants instead of the plastic kind, which makes all the difference! It is difficult to take pictures of fish tanks because the flash makes a glare on the glass and the light is so dim without the flash. The fish pictured in these photos are Rummy Nose Tetras, a Dwarf Gourami, Black Skirt Tetras, and Cardinal Tetras.

  I always imagined that fish-keeping became a popular hobby in the Victorian era because aquariums seem like something Victorian Era people would like. When I think of Victorian people in their leisure time, I imagine them going to the zoo and keeping large wire cages full of pet birds and establishing natural history collections or curiosity cabinets  So fish-keeping seems like a natural extension of these nature and animal themed interests. But actually people had pet fish as early as 50 A.D. in the Roman Empire. They kept Sea Barbel in small tanks made of marble  In the 1300's, porcelain tubs for keeping goldfish were used in China. But even though the Victorians weren't the first to own aquariums, the hobby did have a surge of popularity during the era. The hobby became more popular partly because in the Great Exhibition of 1851, elaborate fish tanks made of cast iron were displayed. In 1853 the London Zoo opened the first large public aquarium. I bet if we transported an ordinary Victorian era person in time and took them to one of the modern day aquariums, they'd be quite amazed and delighted. There is a small aquarium in Seattle that is fun to wander through. I have two favorite parts. First, a dome shaped room that is surrounded by one giant fish tank on all sides. You can watch the fish swim in circles. It is like being under water. My second favorite part are the sea mammals. I love watching the otters! Having a pet otter for an at-home aquarium would be fun in theory but sad in practice. I would not be surprised if a mad-scientist in the future genetically engineers a species of mini-otters for at home aquariums. This again would be fun in theory but probably pretty sad in practice. (All historical info about fish aquariums found on Wikipedia's aquarium page)

1 comment :

Autumn Elixe said...

I usually don't like underwater pictures or stories. But I like your pretty pics of the fish and the plants. I esp like the close up of the second pic of the fish.