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The History of European Aquaristics

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In China ornamental fish have been bred for over a thousand years. In the mideval Europe the munks took after the chineese and started breeding carps in the monastary ponds for food. In the end of the 16th century it became common within the royalties of Europe to keep fishes in glass bowls.

In the 19th century it became possible to build larger glass aquariums. The progress in transportation also ensured that more and more tropical fishes came to Europe. They opened public aquariumexhibitions and private aquariums were heated with paraffin lamps or gasflames. When the electricity came it made a rise in aquaristics and in 1940 all social classes could afford an aquarium.

In the beginning they never changed the water, because bad quality of the replacement water often caused the fishes to die. Later when people could change water without any quality problems, many aquarists changed all the water and scrubbed the whole aquarium at every waterchange. In the latest decades we have come further to create harmonious aquariums. Today it's common to change about 30 % of the water one to four times a month, which gives a better biological balance. (When you have fry or sensitive species you may have to make waterchanges a lot more often. For example if you have discus it is recommended to make regular partial waterchanges as often as you can cope with.)

Unfortunately not everybody have noticed the progress and some people still believe that you must change all the water at every waterchange, when it is usually better to do only partial waterchanges. However, if you want to, you can still change a lot of water, especially if you want to do regular waterchanges every day, but then preferably use "mature" water, if your tapwater is not of exellent quality for aquarium use. You can make "mature" water by letting the water be airated without fishes for a day. You can also do other things to it to make it more suitable for the fishes, for example run it through a reverse osmosis unit, filtrating it through peat or filtrating it through activated carbon or add chemicals to alter the pH, hardness, remove nitrates etc. It all depends on what kind of water your fishes need to prosper and what kind of water you begin with. The important thing is that if you do these things, you should always continue doing them, so there will not be any sudded changes in the water parameters in the aquarium, unless you deliberately do certain changes to trigger spawning etc.

Today there are a lot of technical equipment that makes the aquarium maintainance easier. For example different kinds of filter units and waterpumps, airpums, thermostatic heaters and skimmers. Fluorescent aquarium lamps or led lighting that are controlled by timers makes it easier to maintan a healthy day cycle. The aquariums today are usually glued together with aquarium silicone. The aquariums from the olden days were held together with a kind of putty (cement) which often leaked. The modern aquarium literature, the aquarium societies and the Internet help by spreading one of the most important things concerning aquarium keeping, the knowledge.



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