The fact that you are reading this booklet indicates that you have some interest in keeping an aquarium.
What do you want in an aquarium—a conversation piece, a decorative addition to your home furnishings? You may have it—with showy animals requiring a minimum of care and attention.
Colorful tropical fish in a beautifully styled aquarium can be the center of attraction of a wall layout, they can even be part of the wall, a living picture outlined by a shadow frame. They can be part of a cocktail table, they can be used as a partition between rooms, they can be used as a bar or back bar or in any number of different ways depending upon the home decorator's own ideas. The decorative style can be anything from traditional to modern, from handsome hardwood to wrought-iron, knotty pine to polished chrome or plastic.
Thus, you can create a charming and distinctive room in your home by the addition of a colorful living picture of underwater life. Your aquarium will be the focal point of attention and conversations with visitors, they will be the source of much pleasure as you watch the beautiful and brilliant color combinations that are constantly changing as the fish swim about. The picture you see is calm and peaceful, quiet and restful, and you will find yourself relaxing as you watch your pets.
Tropical fish are easy to care for—just a few pinches of fish food each day. You can even go away for several days at a time and not concern yourself for your aquatic pets can live for days without food. When you come back . . . just continue on from where you left off and everything will be all right.
Are you seriously interested in the fishes themselves? Do you want to study the habits of unusual varieties as they come on the market? Do you want to try to spawn them or to experiment with line breeding to develop new colors, fin development or hybrids? Raising tropical fish is a fascinating hobby. Your fish will live a completely natural life in spite of the confined space and glass cage that they live in. The birth of the young and the care and feeding of the "fry" (as the young fish are called) will absorb many interesting hours. The unusual and graceful courtship maneuvers, the many different ways the young are brought into the world are a valuable training substitute for the "birds and bees" routine for children. And taking care of the pets adds to their sense of responsibility.
The aquarium hobby is nearly 100 years old, having swept England after travelers returning from the Far East brought some of the more colorful water creatures with them. Supplying the hobbyist has become a far-flung business with collectors all over the world and with well-established importing and wholesaling groups in every major country.
As you become more experienced and the desire for more detailed knowledge is aroused, you may have the pleasure of sharing your experience with other people of like interests because many thousands of aquarium hobbyists have joined in forming local clubs where they can exchange information and get advice from the more expert members.
Fortunately, you need not be an expert aquarist in order to maintain your fish in permanently good condition. Recent developments in aquarium management have made it possible to keep an aquarium in excellent condition for several years with a minimum of fuss and bother and without the necessity of cleaning every week.
You will find that a complete line of equipment is readily available at your dealers. The manufactured aquariums and accessories are usually far superior to those that most of us would create by "do-it-yourself" methods and the difficult problems of finding the special materials needed are eliminated. While the hobbyist with time on his hands and little money can make most of his own equipment, he will thus find it more satisfactory and, in the long run, cheaper to use manufactured equipment, provided he chooses carefully.
This booklet is undoubtedly one of the most complete and authoritative ever offered to the beginning hobbyist. By beginning hobbyist we include those of you who are for the first time thinking about installing an aquarium and those who already have aquariums in operation but need guidance to increase your pleasure.
We have tried to indicate that the creating of a successful aquarium need not be laborious or complicated or expensive. Fish keeping is the least expensive of all hobbies, and this includes the initial purchase of equipment. An attractive aquarium is within the financial reach of nearly everyone.
The first part of this book is a guide for locating and setting up the aquarium. All technical information has been placed in the last section of the book. In this way, you can proceed without first having to take the course in expert care of fish. When a problem does occur and you need more information, just refer to that particular problem in the appropriate section.
The author of the section on fishes, plants, etc., Mr. A. Fraser-Brunner, is a true expert and one of the foremost English aquarists.
The section dealing with aquarium management has been written with the thought in mind that the greater proportion of newcomers to the hobby seem to be interested in the decorative value of an aquarium and they demand immediate success without the effort and study that the true "hobbyist" expends.
Also, because of the wide geographical spread of the United States and Canada, there is a very great difference in the water available, and special consideration is given to this most important factor.
There is another factor in which we are partly selfish in wanting to promote the sale of our company's products, although we feel they are the key to the immediate and continuing success the American hobbyist demands. We ourselves in the past have been frequently discouraged by the failure of equipment and accessories that did not measure up to the real needs of the hobby.
To be completely and permanently successful you must understand your pets, and your equipment must be of good quality and must perform without special attention the service for which it was made. The following pages will help you understand your pets so you can enjoy them to the fullest, and will guide you to the selection of quality products and away from the "toy" equipment and accessories.
If you do the things suggested in the order suggested, you are sure to have a successful aquarium. A proper start is more than half the battle. Good luck.