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The Interesting History of Aquariums

Aquariums are the enclosed and transparent vivarium where a portion or a small part of an underwater ecosystem is kept. The word aquarium – which was coined by an English Naturalist, Philip Henry Gosse, came from the Latin word “aqua” means water and a suffix “arium,” which means “a place for relating to.”

The initial use of Aquariums wasn’t on an enclosed vivarium, as we have today. Early Aquariums were artificial ponds where a fish that symbolizes their gods were kept just like in the first Egyptian’s time. For thousands of years, some other places like China had been known for raising fish as pets, mainly the fish “Carp.” In 265-420 CE, the Jing Dynasty was known for raising ornamental fish that were initially for food purposes that later on, it became an ornament and pride for Chinese Royal officials.  

While some would like a fish for a pet, Romans seemed to save fish for later consumption. According to the archeological findings, Romans created ships to transfer fish to aquarium tanks that they had developed as storage for live fish. Initially, they used a tank made of marble as storage, but later on the First Century C.E., they had seen that glasses were more durable and that a glass tank would allow them to choose what fish in the storage they would like to eat.

1860, Jardin Zoologique, Bois de Boulogne, Paris

1860, Jardin Zoologique, Bois de Boulogne, Paris

In 1832, A French Marine Biologist –Jeanne Villepreux-Power, had created ‘Aquaria’ to observed and experiment with the aquatic organisms. Although many more had tried making an Aquaria, it was Robert Warington, an English Chemist. He first established a stable Aquaria, with snails, a goldfish, and eelgrass in a thirteen-gallon container. Warington explained and later on published his findings in the Chemical Society’s Journal, that plants are necessary to give oxygen to the animals inside the container. 

As the popularity of keeping fish in an Aquarium arises in the 1850s, Philip Henry Gosse, created the first public aquarium in the London Zoo –and was later on known as “The Fish House.” Gosse, along with Robert Warington, collaborated and come up with their critical review of the tank water composition. In 1858, Edward Edwards, a Welsh Marine Zoologist, come up with the idea of “ Dark-Water chamber slope-back tank,” an Aquarium with glass front and circulating water reservoir beneath –a principle that is still adopted up to this day. 

J.W Fiske and Company’s cast iron aquarium, the 1880s

In 1908, An aquarium powered by running water was invented. Aquariums powered by electricity became more popular after World War I since houses already had electricity. With this, aquariums became more colorful with artificial lightings along with the function of aeration and filtration inside the aquarium. 

Martin Horowitz made the first-ever all-glass aquarium through the development of tar and silicone in the 1960s. Also, in the 1990s, Aquascaping was introduced by Takashi Amano, enabling the fishkeepers to beautify and decorate their aquariums. 

Largest Public Aquariums in the World

A small wiggling fish in a fishbowl can be entertaining, but a significant and extraordinary fish in a large aquarium would probably leave your jaw hanging. So if you’re a big fan of Marine organisms, and an awesome fishkeeper, you’ll surely enjoy visiting these large aquariums –without submerging on a vast ocean for scuba-diving, in your next under the sea escapade:

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom

In Hengquin, Zhuhai, China, the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is the World’s largest Public Aquarium with about 48.75 million liters of water. This Oceanarium had opened in January 2014 and was on the 10th most visited park of 2018, with visitors of approximately Ten Million. 

It is the largest Oceanarium in the World, but it also has the largest viewing dome, largest aquarium window, most extensive acrylic panel, and the most massive aquarium tank in the World.

Marine Life Park

Marine Life Park opened in November 2012, in Sentosa Gateway, Singapore. It is an Oceanarium with about 800 marine species on its forty-five million liters aquatic tank. It was the holder of the Guinness World Record’s largest aquarium until the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom surpassed it in 2014.  

Nausicaā Centre National de la Mer

Nausicaā Centre National de la Mer –the largest Oceanarium in Europe, is located in Boulogne-sur-Mer in France. It has approximately 60,000 underwater animals of different thousand species on its seventeen million liters marine tank. 

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium is an Oceanarium located in Atlanta, Georgia, that opened in November 2005. It has about twenty-four million liters of water housing, the 100,000 sea creatures. Georgia Aquarium is the only Oceanarium outside Asia that has been able to house whale sharks, though the death of the two initially obtained whale sharks became a concern.  

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, located in Okinawa, Japan, opened on March 30, 2010. It is one of the largest Oceanarium that caters to 26,000 sea creatures of different species –including whale sharks and manta rays, on its 8.2 by 22.5 meters acrylic glass paneled-tank with about ten million liters of water. 

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