A short history of aquarium hobby

At what point in the history of mankind did man look at a fish as a being that could help to decorate the interior and give it a climate, and not as an object to eat? If we were to trace the history of cultivating fish in artificial reservoirs, we would travel a long way to ancient lands. However, cultivating them in ponds in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Rome had nothing to do with the presentation of their aesthetic value but  only about fresh food.

Ancient times

Aquarium hobby was born 1500 years ago, when the Chinese appreciated the appearance of the Carassius auratus . This is how the process of looking for beautiful species began. They were caught and put into garden ponds. This is how the selection began that led to the breeding of the first goldfish.

Although the people of China had no doubts about the relaxing properties of watching the life of fish, it wasn't until 600 years ago that they came up with the idea of ​​moving the contents of the ponds to their homes. From that moment on, we can talk about aquarium hobby understood as caring for fish in artificial tanks located at home.

History of aquarium hobby in Europe

The fashion for breeding fish spread to neighboring countries, and the interest of wealthy residents was so great that in 1500 in Japan a prototype of today's aquarium shop was created. It sold porcelain vases for keeping fish at home.

The fish quickly came from the Far East to Europe. The first aquariums appeared on the Old Continent in the 17th century and enjoyed considerable interest from the public, although only the wealthiest could afford to buy them. However, Europeans quickly learned to breed goldfish in pond conditions, which made them much cheaper and more accessible.

And what was the path of fish to European aquariums? The first mentions of it appeared in the 17th century. At that time, Leonard Baldner, a fisherman from Strasbourg, was breeding fish in huge jars with red sand. In turn in 1774 a zoologist from Geneva built for them a prototype of today's aquarium (it had the shape of a cuboid). However, their attempts were not successful. Deprived of technical support and adequate food, the fish tired more in the first aquariums than they lived peacefully in them. The revolution in aquariums came in 1830, when Charles des Moulins began to oxygenate the water in aquariums. Over time, its interior began to reflect the natural habitat of the fish.

The public showed an increasing interest in aquarium hobby. In addition to the official introduction of the term "aquarium" to the dictionary in 1855, there was a demand for specialist knowledge that resulted in the first titles in the aquarium literature industry. The first public aquariums where people could follow the underwater life of fish began to appear. The first facility of this type appeared in Regents Park in London.

Another important date in aquarium hobby falls on July 1869, when a French ship arrived in Paris with a valuable shipment from China. Paradise fish were brought in the barrel, i.e. fabulously colorful fish. Although not all of them survived the transport, there were enough of them to multiply and sell them at the price of gold. This is how aquarium fish spread throughout Europe.

Today, aquariums have become a very popular hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone across the world. The modern fish keeper has access to species of fish  from any type of habitat. Technology has also found a home in the aquarium world with filters, heaters, lights and a whole array of items designed to make todays aquariums much easier to maintain than ever before. 

The same improvements also apply to aquatic plants. Often when new fish species are discovered (yes, there are still new fish being discovered) they are found alongside new plant species. Thanks to Takashi Amano's introduction of carbon dioxide to the aquarium, we are able to grow delicate plant species that would otherwise not survive 100% submerged in water. You can find our full range of CO2 equipment just tap here 👉🏼https://www.co2art.co.uk


Aquariums have come a long way since they were first introduced and will continue to change as technology develops in the future. When did your journey begin?