Ancient humans probably first kept sea creatures alive in captivity as a means of having fresh seafood close at hand. Fish and invertebrates have been held in various containers for purposes of study or exhibition for centuries. According to Sterba (1983), there are accounts dating back to ancient Egypt. In Rome, fish-holding tubs called piscinae have been found in the gardens of the wealthy and powerful. In the New World, containers for both fresh and marine fish adorned Montezuma's gardens. In China, fishkeeping dates to the tenth century.
though not as the system of choice for maintaining a diverse ecosystem of coral reef invertebrates. Any aquarium with with a high-density fish population, whether it be a decoration behind the desk at a plush hotel, such as the giant tank at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada, or a multi-tank holding system, such as the live inventory area at my place of business, can be operated with an efficient mineralization or biological filter system. Regular partial water changes of about 20% per month must be carried out, and organic matter must be reduced through the use of activated carbon filtration and, ideally, protein skimming. With proper hygiene and feeding, many fishes can thrive in such a
The Saltwater Aquarium in the Home was the title of a system, but for more demanding species, better methods are popular little book written in 1959 by the late Robert required. Fortunately, many advances in marine aquarium Straughan, and it marks for us the first attempt to offer filtration have come about in recent years as hobbyists have suggestions for maintaining a marine aquarium to hobbyists surged beyond fish-only systems into the challenging world in the United States. Home marine aquariums first became of reef aquarium keeping, a possibility for the aver age consumer when the utility of biological filtration, the conversion of ammonia to nitrate via beneficial bacteria, was recognized. Although biological filtration occurs in any aquarium as a result of microorgan- In the earliest days of marine aquariums in the isms growing on the glass, plants, substrate, and all other United States, the business was driven by fish. Not that surfaces that receive sufficient oxygen, the first device used fish are an unimportant part of any aquarium business, but in an attempt to optimize this process was the undergravel with marine fish, it was different. Emperor Angels, Clown filter. This simple filter can still be used successfully on ma- Triggers, Naso Tangs, all big, boldly colored fish that came
From Fishes to Reefs rine systems for fish and hardy invertebrates.
from halfway around the world were suddenly appearing,
"Mineralization filters," a term I use to refer to any and they sold themselves. Dealers offered what collectors aquarium filtration system that relies primarily on opti- shipped to them, and all were housed in aquariums fitted mization of biological filtration, have abundant uses, al- with undergravel filters and decorated with dead coral skele-
tons. Crinkly blue florist s foil was the most familiar back-
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