A History of Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishkeeping in the U. K. 

1960 - 1980

Two Decades of Pioneering - From Angle-Iron to Silicone Rubber

Reviewed by: Stanley Brown of The Breeders Registry, Sacramento, California.

Publisher: Calypso Publications, London, United Kingdom

Pages: 154 pages, soft-cover (5 7/8 by 8 inches)

Illustrations: mainly black and white photographs and illustrations with some color

Publication date: 1999 . Gerald Jennings, Editor.

ISBN: 0 906301 99 8

Price: UK £15.50 US $22.90

I reviewed a proof copy and have noticed that the cover depicted on the Calypso Publication web site ( is slightly different.

This is a fun book! Although 1 live on this side of the Atlantic I can actually remember much of what is presented in this book! This is a book about the early days of marine aquaria. They say history repeats itself and' it seems to me that the history of the marine aquarium hobby in the United Kingdom was very similar to how things progressed in the United States. No doubt ideas were exchanged back and forth across the Atlantic as things evolved. Dr. Herbert Axelrod's contribution is one example.

The book begins with a preface, scope and raison d'etre, a forward by Jack Stillwell, President of the Federation of British Aquatic Societies., with a dedication and acknowledgement of those early contributors to the marine hobby follows. Many present day aquarists and "noted authorities" were not yet born when this history began! A brief introduction is provided describing the structure of the book. The general editor, Gerald Jennings, writes a detailed who, how, and why behind this book

The main body of the book is divided into three sections.

Part I is a collection of editorial notes covering Tank construction, Seawater and Diagnostic practices, Filtration, Lighting/Heating, Medications & Disease Prevention, and Feeding. The reader may chuckle at some of the ideas representative of the times, but may also be surprised at how much has come "full circle".

Part 2, Selected Archives, covers much of the same topics as Part 1 with the addition of General Biosystems. This tends to be presented in a somewhat chronological order and includes reproduced excerpts from publications of the time (many of which are no longer in existence).

Part 3, Reminiscences by Guest Editors, contains 2 pieces; one by Dr. Neville Carrington (formerly of Interpet) and a second by Dr. David Ford of Aquarian. These are nostalgic looks at the early days and. provides a personal reflection on the challenges and successes which marked the early years.

I said this was a fun book and I think even those aquarist who did not get their feet wet until after the 1980ís will find this book entertaining and yes, even enlightening. It is not a large book and can easily be read over the course of several evenings. The book contains numerous advertisements "of the day" which I found to be especially amusing! (I even owned some of the items shown!) We've come a long way since 1960 and considering the advances in manufacturing processes, materials, and our understanding of marine systems the early successes are even more impressive.

Stanley Brown.


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