You young whippersnappers that are newer to the aquarium hobby are essentially spoiled with choices and options when it comes to all kinds of aquarium gear with thousands of companies vying to sell you something for your aquarium past time. These days you can get aquarium devices that are akin to wizardry compared to what was used to keep fish alive and grow the aquarium hobby for the past century and a half.
The early years of the aquarium hobby and ‘toy fish’ was powered by nothing more than electromechanical devices which basically qualify as steampunk – it always amazes us to discover that aquariums were heated with oil lamps and the only way to move water was by using pressurized air from air pumps. Nothing imparts a degree of gratitude for the smart and electronic aquarium gear of today than learning how aquariums worked when our ancestors kept mostly goldfish, minnows and very few tropical species like paradise fish and danios.
Gary Bagnall the owner and founder of the popular reptile brand ZooMed is an avid collector of aquarium antiques and historical items which paint a very different picture of how it used to be like to keep an aquarium and now he’s finally taking the covers off his lifelong project, the Museum of Aquarium & Pet History. Located in San Luis Obispo, California, it’s unclear if the museum is open to the public (yet) but in the meantime they’ve started sharing the collection on their newly launched YouTube channel.
We have a small shelf of vintage aquarium devices from the 80s and 90s but it’s not even a sliver of what Mr. Bagnall has amassed at the aquarium history museum. We don’t get to SLO very often but in the meantime we look forward to hearing a lot more about aquarium history from the museum’s official channel, especially the early days and progression of aquarium air pumps, water filters and aquarium lights.