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Title: The Book of the Aquarium and Water Cabinet - or Practical Instructions on the Formation, Stocking, and - Mangement, in all Seasons, of Collections of Fresh Water - and Marine Life
Author: Hibberd, Shirley
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of the Aquarium and Water Cabinet - or Practical Instructions on the Formation, Stocking, and - Mangement, in all Seasons, of Collections of Fresh Water - and Marine Life" ***

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Transcriber's Note:

    Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by =equal
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[Illustration: CABINET AQUARIUM.]







Practical Instructions










Chapter I.--What is an Aquarium?                                6

  The Name and the Object--Philosophy of the Aquarium.

Chapter II.--Proper Kinds of Vessels                           10

  Rectangular Tanks--Construction of Tanks--Warington's
  Stope-back Tank--Bell Glasses and Vases--Stands for Vases.

Chapter III.--Fitting-up--Rockwork                             17

  The Bottom--Mould--Planting--The Water--Aspect.

Chapter IV.--Plants for the Aquarium                           21

  How to stock a Tank quickly--Selection of Plants--Water
  Potamogeton--Nuphar Lutea--Pipewort--Utricularia--Isopelis--
  Subularia--Ranunculus--Hydrocaris--Alisma--Lemna, &c.

Chapter V.--Fishes for the Aquarium                            32

  Cyprinus Carpio, Gibelio, Carassius, Auratus, Brama,
  Leucisus, Rutilus, Alburnus, Phoxinus, Gobio, Tinca,
  Barbus, Barbatula, Cephalus--Percidæ--Gasterosteus.

Chapter VI.--Reptiles, Mollusks, and Insects                   44

Chapter VII.--Selection of Stock                               46

Chapter VIII.--General Management                              48

  Feeding--Confervæ--Uses of Mollusks--Objections to
  Mollusks--Use of Confervoid Growths--Periodical
  Cleansing--Exhaustion of Oxygen--Temperature--Dead
  Specimens--Disease of Fishes.


Chapter I.--The Vessel                                         53

  Points in which the Marine differs from the River Tank--
  Stained Glass.

Chapter II.--Fitting-up                                        56

  The Bottom--Rocks, Arches, and Caves--The Water--Artificial
  Sea Water--Marine Salts--Management of Artificial Water--
  Caution to the Uninitiated--Filtering.

Chapter III.--Collecting Specimens                             66

Chapter IV.--The Plants                                        69

Chapter V.--The Animals                                        71

  Mesembryanthemum--Anguicoma, Bellis, Gemmacea,
  Crassicornis, Parasitica, Dianthus, &c.

Chapter VI.--What is an Anemone?                               84

Chapter VII.--General Management                               91

  Grouping of Objects--Sulphuretted Hydrogen--Preservation
  of the Water--Aeration--Filter--Decay of Plants--Death of
  Anemones--Removal of Objects--Density of the Water--
  Green Stain--Feeding--The Syphon--Purchase of Specimens.


Chapter I.--Construction of Cabinets                          101

  Distinctions between the Cabinet and the Aquarium--
  Construction of a Cabinet--Glasses.

Chapter II.--Collecting and Arranging Specimens               106

  Implements for Collecting--Nets, Jars, and Phials--
  Pond Fishing.

Chapter III.--The Stock                                       110

Chapter IV.--Larva                                            114

  The Dragon Fly--The Gnat--The Case Fly.

Chapter V.--Coleoptera                                        130

  Dytiscus Marginalis--Hydrous Piceus--Colymbetes--
  Gyrinus Natator.

Chapter VI.--Heteroptera                                      139

  Hydrometra--Notanecta, Nepa, &c.

Chapter VII.--The Frog--Notes on Management                   140


  Cabinet Aquarium                                _Frontispiece._

  Tank containing Vallisneria Spiralis, Anacharis,
  Gold Carp, Roach, and Minnow                         _Page_  11

  Vase Aquarium                                                15

  Callitriche                                                  22

  Stratoides Aloides                                           24

  Vallisneria Spiralis                                         25

  Myriophyllum Spicatum                                        27

  Potamogeton Densus                                           28

  Ranunculus Aquatalis                                         30

  Hydrocaris Morsus Ranæ                                       31

  Tank containing Gudgeon, Prussian Carp, Loach, and Bream     33

  Tank containing Minnow, Tench, and Perch                     41

  Tank containing Planorbis Corneus, Paludina Vivipara,
  Lymnea Stagnalis, Unio Pictorum, Tumidus, and Anodon
  Cygneus                                                      45

  Cleansing Sponge                                             50

  Actinia Mesembryanthemum, Dictyota Dychotoma                 64

  Porcellana Platycheles, and Cancer Pagurus                   72

  Carcinas Mænas                                               73

  Actinia Anguicoma, Trochus Ziziphinus, Ulva Latissima,
  Bryopsis Plumosa, Acorn Barnacle                             75

  Actinia Bellis and Gemmacea, Delesseria Alata,
  Polysiphonia Urceolata                                       76

  Actinia Dianthus, Delesseria Sanguinea, Callithamnium
  Roseum, Griffithsia Setacea                                  82

  Edwardsia Vestita, Æsop Prawn, Enteromorpha Compressa,
  Ulva Latissima                                               86

  Dipping Tube                                                 96

  Syphon                                                       99

  Hand Net                                                    107

  Diving Spiders and Nests                                    112

  Transformation of the Dragon Fly                            120

  Virgin and Green Dragon Flies                               122

  Larva of the Gnat                                           124

  Larva of Stratiomys                                         125

  Larvæ and Imago of Case Fly                                 128

  Grating of Case Worm, Magnified                             129

  Dytiscus and Larva, Reduced                                 132

  Hydrous Piceus                                              134

  Colymbetes                                                  135

  Gyrinus Natator                                             137

  Gyrinus, Magnified                                          138

  Water Scorpion                                              142

  Transformations of the Tadpole                         144, 145

  Pocket Lens                                                 147


Every day adds to the popularity of the Aquarium, but every day does not
add to the accuracy of the published descriptions of it, or the
perspicuity of the directions everywhere given for its formation and
maintenance. Lately the periodical press has teemed with essays on the
subject; but it does not require a very close scrutiny for the practical
man to discern that a majority of such papers express the enthusiasm
rather than the knowledge of their authors--a few weeks' management of a
tank seeming to be considered a sufficient qualification for the
expounding of its philosophy, though it demands an acquaintance with the
minutest details of the most refined departments of botany and zoology
to do anything like justice to it.

I have done my best to explain and illustrate the whole _rationale_ of
marine and fresh-water tanks in my lately published work, _Rustic
Adornments for Homes of Taste_; but since that work, owing to the
expense incurred in its production, is published at a price which every
lover of the Aquarium cannot command, I have thought it no less a duty
than a pleasure to treat the subject more briefly, but still
practically, and I hope profitably, in a volume of less dimensions and
less cost, written for another class of readers.

The object of this little work is to teach the beginner how to proceed
safely and pleasurably in setting up aquaria, whether for mere ornament
or for the study of the novel forms of animal and vegetable life which
these collections enable us to observe closely, no less for the increase
of our knowledge of the world, than for the exaltation of our sense of
the omnipotence and benignity of Him who created it.

  The Nursery, Tottenham.





_The Name._--The term _vivarium_ was first applied to the vessel
containing a collection of specimens of aquatic life, and the first
vivarium of such a kind, on anything like an extensive scale, was that
opened to public exhibition in the Regent's Park Zoological Gardens.
Many naturalists had previously made experiments to ascertain some
certain method of preserving aquatic animals in a living and healthy
state; and the vivarium, which is the result of those experiments, may
be considered as an imitation of the means employed by nature herself in
the preservation and perpetuation of the various forms of animal and
vegetable life which people the oceans and the streams.

The vivarium is, therefore, no recent or sudden discovery, but a growth
of years; and its present perfection is the fruit of many patient
investigations, trials, disappointments, and determinations to achieve

The term _vivarium_ applies to _any_ collection of animals, to a park of
deer, a rabbit warren, a menagerie, or even a travelling show
containing an asthmatic lion, a seedy cockatoo, and a pair of snakes
that are hourly stirred up with a long pole. Hence such a term could
never convey the very special idea of a vessel containing such specimens
as form the stock of the aquarium. When this was felt, the affix _aqua_
was added, to convey the idea of the watery medium in which the
specimens are immersed, and hence we had _aqua-vivarium_, a compound of
too clumsy a character to remain long in use. It is the _water_ that
gives the collection its special character; and water always reminds us
of old Aquarius, who treats us to an annual drenching from his celestial
watering-pot. Aquarius triumphed, and the pretty prison in which his
cool companions of the sign Pisces were doomed to be confined acquired
his name; and, since it is better to follow than to oppose usage, we
leave the philological part of the question to the learned, and adopt
_Aquarium_ as the name of our collection.

_The Object_ of the Aquarium is to enable us to study the economy and
derive pleasure from the contemplation of various forms of aquatic life,
contributed by the lakes, the mountain rills, and the "resounding sea."
Collections of objects that inhabit rivers and lakes are of course
called Fresh-water aquaria; those that owe their origin to the sea are
called Marine aquaria. A more simple name for the first would be _River
aquarium_, which I humbly suggest it shall in future be called. But an
aquarium is not a mere cabinet of specimens; it is a water garden in
which we cultivate choice plants, and it is also in some sort a
menagerie, in which we see living creatures of kinds hitherto the least
studied by naturalists, displaying to our close gaze their natural
forms, and colours, and instincts, and economy, as freely and as happily
as if they were still hidden from us in their native depths. In this
sense, the aquarium remunerates for any trouble it may cost, in the
lessons it affords of the workings of Almighty Wisdom, in those regions
of life and wonder to which it introduces us.

_The Philosophy of the Aquarium_ must be clearly understood by those who
purpose to cultivate it. It is a self-supporting, self-renovating
collection, in which the various influences of animal and vegetable life
balance each other, and maintain within the vessel a correspondence of
action which preserves the whole. A mere globe of fish is not an
aquarium in the sense here indicated; because, to preserve the fish for
any length of time, the water must be frequently changed; and even then
the excess of light to which they are exposed, and the confinement in a
small space, in which they quickly exhaust the vital properties of the
water, are circumstances at variance with their nature, and sooner or
later prove fatal to their lives.

In an aquarium, _the water is not changed at all_, or at least only at
long intervals, as we shall explain hereafter; and besides the enclosure
of fishes in a vessel of water, _growing plants_ of a suitable kind,
always form a feature of the collection. Formed on this plan, an
aquarium is an imitation of Nature on a small scale. The tank is a lake
containing aquatic plants and animals, and these maintain each other in
the water in the same way as terrestrial plants and animals contribute
mutually to each other's support in the preservation of the purity of
the air.

What happens when we put half-a-dozen gold fish into a globe? The fishes
gulp in water and expel it at the gills. As it passes through the gills,
whatever free oxygen the water contains is absorbed, and carbonic acid
given in its place; and in course of time the free oxygen of the water
is exhausted, the water becomes stale, and at last poisonous, from
excess of carbonic acid. If the water is not changed the fishes come to
the surface and gulp atmospheric air. But, though they naturally
_breathe air as we do_, yet they are formed to extract it from the
water; and when compelled to take air from the surface, the gills, or
lungs, soon get inflamed, and death at last puts an end to their

Now if a gold-fish globe be not over-crowded with fishes we have only to
throw in a goodly handful of some water weed--such as the _Callitriche_,
for instance--and a new set of chemical operations commences at once,
and it becomes unnecessary to change the water. The reason of this is
easily explained. Plants absorb oxygen as animals do; but they also
absorb carbonic acid, and from the carbonic acid thus absorbed, they
remove the pure carbon, and convert it into vegetable tissue, giving out
the free oxygen either to the water or the air, as the case may be.
Hence, in a vessel containing water plants in a state of healthy growth,
the plants exhale more oxygen than they absorb, and thus replace that
which the fishes require for maintaining healthy respiration. Any one
who will observe the healthy plants in an aquarium, when the sun shines
through the tank, will see the leaves studded with bright beads, some of
them sending up continuous streams of minute bubbles. These beads and
bubbles are pure oxygen, which the plants distil from the water itself,
in order to obtain its hydrogen, and from carbonic acid, in order to
obtain its carbon.

There is one more feature, which no writer on the aquarium has yet
noticed, namely--when a tank is properly stocked, the water soon gets
crowded with infusorial animalculæ, which swarm among the plants, and on
the sides of the glass in countless thousands, visible only by the aid
of the microscope. These are in accordance with a natural law; the
presence of vegetable matter in water always induces them. But observe
their value: they contribute to the sustenance of the smaller fishes, by
supplying them with food; and, strangely enough, the researches of
modern chemists have proved that these minute creatures respire in much
the same way as plants. While all other animals absorb oxygen, and
perish if the supply of that gas is withdrawn, these minute organisms
absorb carbonic acid, _and give out oxygen in abundance_. This has been
proved by Professor Liebig, who collected several jars of oxygen from
tanks containing infusoria only. Every one who has had experience in the
management of tanks must have noticed that the water in a tank which has
been established some months will sustain a much greater amount of
animal life than one of the same dimensions, but recently stocked. The
presence of infusoria in immense numbers is _one_ of the reasons for

So far I have endeavoured to explain the theory of the aquarium, in the
merest outline. Still, brief as this chapter must be, I must here
impress upon the mind of the beginner, that unless the leading features
of the theory are borne in mind, success can never be achieved in the
establishment of water collections of any kind.

If a tank requires frequent cleansing, or frequent changing of water, if
the fishes come to the surface for air, or perish through the presence
in the water of offensive matter--in fact, if the whole affair has not a
distinctly self-supporting character, such as will preserve its purity,
and strength, and beauty, without alteration of any kind--it must be
concluded that it has been either unskilfully stocked or injudiciously

It is my object to explain briefly, but clearly, the whole _rationale_
of aquarium management, whether the tank be adopted as a mere
ornament--than which there is nothing more beautiful--or as a museum of
instruction and a school of study--than which there is nothing more
suggestive, nothing that can afford finer lessons of the subtlety of the
forces, or the refinement of the instincts, that give life and
loveliness to the "world of waters."



_Rectangular Tanks._--Any vessel that will hold water may be quickly
converted into an aquarium; but as we desire to have at all times a
clear view of the contents of the vessel, glass takes pre-eminence among
the materials for tanks. For elegance and general utility, a properly
built vessel of rectangular outline, having at least two sides of glass,
is found by most aquarians to be the best. Of course, no rule can be
laid down as to the dimensions or forms of tanks--those details will
best be determined by the means and tastes of the persons requiring
them--but a few general remarks may prove useful.


The tanks in use at the Regent's Park Gardens were constructed by
Messrs. Saunders and Woolcot, of 54, Doughty Street, London, and that
firm has since set apart a portion of the premises in Doughty Street, to
meet the new and increasing demand for vessels for domestic aquaria, and
have brought the manufacture to a perfection which leaves little to

For the adornment of a dwelling room or a conservatory, an oblong tank,
measuring three feet by one foot four inches, and one foot six inches
deep, would be very suitable, and would be supplied by Messrs. Saunders
and Woolcot for £5, though vessels of smaller dimensions are sent out by
them at from £2 to £3. In my work on "Rustic Adornments," I have given
several designs for rectangular tanks, but must here beg my reader to
remain content with a simple explanatory outline. Messrs. Treggon and
Co., of 57, Gracechurch Street, and 22, Jewin Street, London, are also
manufacturers of tanks for aquaria. I can recommend either of these
houses with the greatest confidence.

_Construction of Tanks._--As this work may reach many remote districts,
where an aquarian would find it difficult to get a tank properly made, a
few hints on the proper mode of construction may be acceptable.

It must be borne in mind, then, that when a tank is filled, its weight
is enormous, and hence it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to move it
without first removing the whole or greater portion of its contents.
Strength in the joints to resist pressure from within, and strength in
the table or other support on which the tank is placed, is of the first
importance. The bottom of such a tank as we have figured (p. 11), is
best formed of a slab of slate, and the two ends may be of slate also;
the front and back of plate or very stout crown glass. The most elegant
form for such a body is that of the double cube, the length of the tank
being just double its width and depth, so that if it were cut into two
equal parts two cubes would be formed. The glass must be set in grooves
in the slate, and bound outside with zinc or turned pillars of birch
wood. The best cement is white-lead putty, or what is known as Scott's
cement; the composition of which it is not in my power to inform the
reader. If a coating of shell-lac, dissolved in naptha, and made into a
paste with whiting, were laid over the white-lead cement, as suggested
by Mr. W. Dodgson, of Wigton, the water would be kept from contact with
the lead, and the tank would require less seasoning.

The use of slate at the ends is to enable us to affix rockwork or carry
across a rude arch; the cement used in constructing rockwork does not
adhere to glass. But if rockwork is not thought desirable the slate ends
may be dispensed with, and the vessel may be composed wholly of glass,
except the bottom, which may be of slate or wood.

In some districts slate is not to be easily obtained, and wood or stone
are then the best substitutes, wood being preferable of the two. I have
seen some handsome tanks composed wholly of wood and glass; it is only
necessary to choose well-seasoned material, and unite the joints very

The yellow clay used by potters would be found suitable in some
districts; and if the two ends and bottom were formed of such a
material, and buttressed together by means of a rude arch, the fire
would unite the whole, and render it as hard as stone. Mr. Dodgson, of
Wigton, states, through Mr. Gosse's pages, that he has formed two tanks
of this kind of clay: they measure three feet long by thirty inches
broad and high, holding thirty gallons each. The weight being very
enormous, the cost of carriage is so serious a matter that such tanks
can only be had in the neighbourhood of a pottery. In London, the
substitute for the clay would be _terra cotta_.

_Mr. Warington's Tank_ is of a peculiar construction, and is intended to
admit the light from above only, and also to enable the water to absorb
atmospheric air freely. Mr. Warington says:--"After five years' and
upwards experience, I have now adopted an aquarium, the form of which
consists in a four-sided vessel, having the back gradually sloping
upwards from the bottom at an angle of fifty degrees. The chief
peculiarity of this tank is, that it admits light at the top only; the
back and sides are usually composed of slate."

[Illustration (Bell Glasses)]

_Bell Glasses_, or vases, are now largely used for aquaria. Mr. Hall, of
the City Road, was the first who thought of turning a propagating glass
upside down to extemporise an aquarium; but he surely never thought that
in a few months the aquarium would gain thousands of new followers
through that simple trick of his in creating a cheap and elegant tank.
Bell glasses for aquaria are to be obtained of any of the dealers in
aquarian stock, and at most horticultural glass warehouses. The sizes
range from ten inches to twenty inches in diameter, and the prices from
one to fifteen shillings. For general purposes of use and ornament, I
should recommend vessels of from twelve to eighteen inches. Those below
twelve inches are too small to be of much service, and those above
eighteen are liable to fracture on the occasion of any sudden change of
temperature, especially in winter. Messrs. Phillips have lately, at my
suggestion, produced a bell-glass expressly for aquarian purposes; those
in use hitherto were made for gardening purposes, and were carelessly
blown. The shape I have suggested is one nearly approaching to that of
the blossom of the great bearbind, the sides of the vessel describing
straight lines, and the edges lipping over in an elegant vase-like
form. These are made of whiter and stouter glass than the common
propagators, and are, of course, charged at a slightly advanced rate.

_Stands for Vases_ are to be had of various forms and materials. Those
formed of turned wood have the preference for elegance and safety; and,
as the knob of the vase fits loosely in the depressed top of the stand,
the vase can be turned round for inspection.

Messrs. Claudet and Houghton, of 89, High Holborn, have recently brought
out improved forms of stands for vases. They are made of terra cotta,
elegantly fluted, or ornamented with architectural scrolls, and are
either bronzed or coloured to imitate stone. They have also improved the
Vase Aquarium, by binding the upper edge with perforated zinc, in which
there is a ring to receive the glass cover. Thus, while the lid shuts
out dust, the perforated zinc rim admits air, and allows the escape of
sulphuretted hydrogen. These vases are strongly recommended to those who
cannot afford a well-built tank.

Where extreme cheapness is an object, a deal box with a hole cut in the
centre to receive the base of the vase, will make a suitable stand, or a
common seed-pan filled in with sand and the vase pressed down into it
may answer, at a cost of only fivepence. A stone vase, or any ornamental
object, with a suitable depression in the top, can also be turned to
account for the purpose.

Glass jars, confectioner's show-glasses, a foot-bath of earthenware, or
a few glass milk-pans, may be used for the preservation of aquatic
objects, when a properly constructed vessel is not at hand; and even as
adjuncts to high-class tanks, such vessels are frequently necessary and
have special uses of their own. Still the tank, whether rectangular or
vase-shaped, is a distinct thing in itself. The beauty is to be found in
its completeness and the extent afforded for a variety of objects; and
when we speak of an aquarium, we mean a vessel holding at least eight to
thirty or more gallons of water, formed partially or wholly of glass,
and stocked with plants and fishes in a living and healthy state. A
glass lid is essential to prevent the entrance of dust and escape of any
of the inhabitants. Fishes will sometimes leap out, and reptiles crawl
out; and without a lid, some pretty objects may be lost.



_Rockwork_ claims the first consideration when we proceed to fit up and
furnish a tank. For a fresh-water aquarium, I do not recommend rockwork
of any kind; and in the case of a vase, rockwork is positively
dangerous, from its weight, and, unless very skilfully managed, will be
ugly rather than ornamental. In the marine tank a few pieces of rock add
to the beauty of the scene and the comfort of the creatures.

In fitting rockwork, some amount of taste and judgment must be brought
into exercise. Shells and filagree work are largely used by some folks;
but they belong properly to the child's aquarium--they suggest dolls and
battledores. Some rough fragments of any kind of non-metallic stone may
be built up into a dark arch, or piled up after the fashion of a
cromlech--one flat piece resting on two or three vertical pieces, so as
to form a rude table-like structure. These may be fixed firmly in the
places they are intended to occupy by means of Roman or Portland cement,
which can be purchased at any building yard. The cement should be made
into a stiff paste, and worked into the form required. Indeed, the
rockwork may be wholly composed of such cement, especially if it is to
have the form of an arch. The most important matter in the construction
of rockwork is to give it a natural, rugged appearance, and to avoid
loading the tank with superfluous weight. I have seen large shells and
branches of coral in fresh-water tanks, and always thought the spectacle
disgraceful to the owner. In a marine tank, such things are proper
enough. Whatever is done should be made secure, the pieces of stone well
embedded in cement, and the whole firmly united. The tank must be well
seasoned, be frequently filled and emptied, to dissolve out any free
salts before being put to use.

_The Bottom_ must be composed of coarse river sand and small pebbles,
the whole well washed before being introduced to the tank. Mr. Gosse
condemns red sand and silver sand, as certain to stain the water. But I
have two tanks now at work, both bottomed with such material, and the
water preserves a crystalline brightness. I have also a marine tank, in
which the bed is formed of common silver sand and garden pebbles: it has
been in use nine months, and with no unfavourable results. In each case
the sand was washed till the water could be poured away quite clear,
and no matter what kind be used, the washing must be attended to. The
coarser the grit the better its appearance, and, therefore, I do not
recommend common sand, I merely show that it may be used when better is
not attainable.

_Mould_ has been extensively recommended as a bottom for tanks. I used
it myself till I became convinced that it could be dispensed with
altogether. It necessitates frequent changing of the water for at least
a fortnight after the first stocking of the tank, in order to get rid of
the soluble vegetable matter, which the water dissolves out of it, and
its presence promotes the growth of confervæ, and other low forms of
aquatic vegetation, that become obnoxious to the sight, and even hurtful
to the health of the collection. I now use sand and pebbles only, and I
find that aquatic plants of all kinds root freely and flourish in it,
and, indeed, if pebbles only be used, they flourish just as well if
their roots are covered.

_Planting_ is next to be performed. The arrangement of plants will
depend on the shape and size of the vessel. Generally speaking, massive
plants look best if set back with lighter plants before them, just the
same as a painter sets his chestnuts and elms in mid-distance, and his
lady birches in the fore-ground. _Stratoides_, _Potamogeton_, and other
plants of a massive and decided character, are well seen through the
interstices of _Myriophyllums_, _Callitriche_, and such like fragile and
delicate structures. The flowering rush makes a fine centre piece for a
vase, and appears to good advantage when seen through an archway, in a
tank containing rockwork.

If there is a bed of two or three inches of sand, the roots may be
gently pressed down into it, and a few clean pebbles laid over the spot
to keep the plant in its position. Some plants will require a stone to
be attached to them by means of a thread to fix them properly. Crowns of
_Stratoides_ that have not formed roots, may be planted in this way.
First cut away any black or decaying matter from the stem, and pull off
any discoloured leaves, taking care not to injure the centre, then pass
a piece of bass round the base, and attach a small stone. The plant will
remain firmly where placed, and will throw out roots, and fix itself
before the rotting of the bass takes place. It will then throw up new
crowns and become a very ornamental object. Loose stems of _Chara_,
_Anacharis alsinastrum_, or _Callitriche_, may be gathered together,
fixed by means of a stone in the same way, a strip of bass being better
than string for attaching them. They will generally get well rooted in a
fortnight, and remain firmly where planted.

_The Water_ should be pure and bright when introduced to the tank, and
if the supply is at all faulty, it will be best to pass it through a
filter before using it. Spring water will do very well, but must stand a
day or two to allow the plants to soften it, before the fishes are put
in. My tanks are all filled with spring water, which I find altogether
unobjectionable; but for the marine tank I think it preferable to any
other in the manufacture of artificial sea-water. Writers on the
aquarium usually insist on the use of river water, but in many places
this is not attainable, and it is satisfactory to know that artesian, or
well water, will serve the purpose admirably.

In filling the tank, hold a plate in the left hand, as low down as
possible, to receive the dash of water from the vessel in the right, so
as to wash up the sand as little as possible. A syphon may be used if a
source of supply is near the position of the tank.

_Aspect._--Sunshine is good for the tank at all seasons of the year. But
in high summer it should have only an hour's sun, morning and evening;
the fierce solar heat of mid-day will give the water so high a
temperature as to be fatal to its animal inhabitants. Comparing tanks
one with another, I must give a preference to a south or east aspect. A
north aspect will do very well, from May to October, but, during the
winter months, a tank in such a position, would be feeble, and want
watching. Good exposure to daylight is, of course, essential; but it
should be borne in mind that the fresh-water tank needs more light than
a marine one. My fresh-water tanks I find to prosper best when placed
close to the windows, but marine tanks may be kept back two or three
feet, in a south aspect. In fact, if you have a cabinet of water-insects
in a series of jars, the marine tank may very well stand behind them,
and get sufficient light there, but the light should fall
uninterruptedly on the fresh water vessels.

[Illustration: CALLITRICHE.]



_How to stock a Tank quickly._--It is usual to fix the plants and fill
up the tank to within a few inches of the top, and then leave the whole
for a week before completing the collection by the introduction of
fishes. Where a beginner has sufficient patience to wait, this is very
advisable, because the whole gets well settled, the plants start into
growth, and the water gets softened and charged with oxygen. But this
plan is not the only one that may be followed, and if well-washed
pebbles be used instead of mould, as I have advised, the fishes may be
introduced the same day as the plants are inserted, by first taking care
that you insert plenty of large healthy plants, and then throw on the
top as much of the brook starwort--_Callitriche autumnalis_--as will
cover the whole. I lately stocked two tanks in this way, and performed
the whole in less than two hours, forming the bottom, planting the
vegetation, and adding the fish--perch, tench, Prussian and British
carp, roach, minnows, gudgeon, and chub--and all went on as well as if
the tank had stood a month to strengthen, the water being from the first
moment as brilliant as any of the Castalian springs that flow through
classic verses. The lovely green of the starwort, spread over the whole
of the surface of the water, has a fairy-like effect. It is necessary to
get a good supply of starwort from a brook, throw it into a large vessel
of clear water, pick off the green heads, with four or six inches of
stem only to each, then wash all these picked portions till they are
bright and clean, and throw the whole into the tank to take its chance.
You must be lavish as to quantity. It soon spreads over the surface, and
arranges itself most beautifully, forming a rich green ceiling, giving
the verdant shadow which a new tank wants; it grows freely, lasts for
months, continually throwing out new roots and shoots from the joints,
and creates abundance of oxygen, from the first hour of its being thrown
in. Whenever it seems desirable it can be got rid of by simply lifting
it out. My own are the only tanks I have seen stocked in this way.

_Selection of Plants._--There is scarcely any aquatic plant but may be
grown in an aquarium, and unless some attention is given to the
botanical department, only half the pleasure and instruction it is
capable of affording is attained. I cannot agree with Mr. Gosse, that
the vegetation of a tank has so strictly a secondary place--"preserved
because they cannot be dispensed with,"--for in either a marine or
fresh-water vessel the vegetation is a special source of beauty and
interest, and fairly divides attention with the animals. Supposing it
were impossible to keep animals in such vessels, they would still be
acceptable for the formation of aquatic gardens.

Beauty of form and adaptability to confinement are the requisites for
this purpose, and the more lakes and rivers are explored, the more the
botanical department of the aquarium will be extended, both as to
ornament and usefulness.


_Water Soldier._--Among the plants easily attainable, and which combine
grace of outline with cleanliness of growth, and tendency to create
oxygen, I can recommend, first of all, the famous water
soldier--_Stratoides aloides_--a lovely cactus-like plant, which grows
equally well with or without a root, as indeed most water-plants do. In
form it closely resembles the tuft of herbage on the crown of a pine
apple, and its leaves have similar serrated edges. If thrown in, it
floats on the surface, and puts forth new heads in plenty, each new
head springing from the base of a leaf on a long stalk. By separating
these when pretty well grown, and removing the stem from the base, any
number of new plants may be formed. If it be wanted to root at the
bottom (as indeed is best) cut away the decayed portion of the base, and
trim off every dark-coloured leaf and throw the plant in again. In a few
weeks it will throw out roots, and it may then be attached to a stone by
a piece of bass, and dropped in to fix itself where wanted, without in
any way disturbing the tank.


_Starwort_ I have already spoken of, as a good purveyor of oxygen. It is
a pretty plant of a delicate green hue, which appears on the surface of
brooks and ditches everywhere, both in this country and all over the
continent. At a little distance it has so much the appearance of
duckweed as to be recognised with difficulty. Its old botanical name is
_Callitriche aquatalis_, but owing to its liability to vary its
appearance, botanists have lately divided it into several species, the
two most common of which are _C. autumnalis_, and _C. Vernalis_.

_Vallisneria spiralis_ is essential to every fresh-water tank. It is a
native of Italy, and is named in honour of the Italian naturalist,
Vallisneria. The blooming of this plant is very curious and worthy of
close scrutiny. It likes abundance of light, and must be grown as a
bottom plant, flourishing only when well rooted.

_Anacharis alsinastrum_, or the New Water-weed, is an interesting plant
that grows freely, whether rooted or not; but it can only be considered
ornamental when springing from the bottom. It thrives just as well
without a root as with one, but, if firmly fixed, usually sends down a
number of white rootlets from joints on the stem. I have seen roots of
this kind sent down six inches to reach the bottom, while the lower part
of the stem was decaying rapidly.

_Myriophyllum_ contributes some lovely members to the aquarium. All the
plants of this genera are of elegant structure, the leaves finely
divided and of a delicate emerald green. _M. Spicatum_ is perhaps the
best, but there are other species to be had of the dealers that are
worthy of attention.

_Potamogeton_ is an extensive genera of water-plants, numbering not less
than fifteen species in the brooks and rivers of this country alone. _P.
fluitans_, _crispus_, and _densus_, are most easily obtained, and they
flourish in the tank, and make rich branching masses for the centre, or
to climb over rockwork. They are all rather coarse and apt to shed
their lower leaves, but, if well placed, produce a striking effect. They
blossom freely in the aquarium, and that is a great recommendation.


_Nuphar lutea_ is the best of the water-lilies for the purpose: it grows
freely and produces graceful outlines below and above. It should be
planted early in spring to secure blossom; but if it does not throw up
blossoms in summer it may be removed, and its place supplied by a plant
in full bloom. _Nymphæa macrantha_ and _Nodorata minor_ are also highly

_Ericaulon_, or the pipewort, sends its only English species--_E.
septangulare_--to the tank. It is a bog plant, rises six inches high,
and does not succeed if immersed more than three inches; hence it is
suitable for the top of an arch, but not for the deep water of the
tank. The plant is perennial and produces a white blossom, with one
petal and four stamens. The flower-stem is velvety, and the leaves
spread in a tuft from the root.


_Utricularia Vulgaris_, or the hooded milfoil, may be recommended as a
botanical curiosity, but is met with only (as far I know) in the brooks
of the southern counties--Hants and Surrey especially. It produces a
yellow blossom in June and July. The root has a curious inflated
appendage. There are two other species, _U. minor_ and _U. intermedia_,
differing but little in general aspect from the common sort.

_Isopelis fluitans_, or the floating Isopelis, is another of the
curiosities of water botany. It is somewhat common in English ponds and
slow streams. The blossom is inconspicuous, having no petals; the
stamens are three in number, and there is but one petal.

_Subularia aquatica_ is one of the few aquatic plants furnished by the
great family of crossworts, or plants of the cabbage and wall-flower
kind. Its common name is awl-wort, and suggested by the awl-like foliage
which it produces under water. It is to be found only in clear mountain
lakes, for it is a true aquatic alpine, frequent only in the North of
England, and in Scotland and Ireland. The aquarian who resides near any
mountain lake or pool, should seek for it, and treasure it as the
choicest gem in his collection. The lower leaves are curve-pointed like
a cobbler's awl, and in July it sends up a short stalk, bearing a head
of snow-white four-petaled blossoms, and presents a somewhat unique
example of a flower in full bloom under the water. My attention was
first called to this plant by Mr. Dowden's charming work on wild plants,
called "Botany of the Bohereens."


_Ranunculus aquatalis_, or the water crowfoot, must be known to everyone
who has been in the habit of rambling in the country quite sober and
with eyes open. It is to be found in almost every pond, and by the
middle of May is in full bloom, continuing gay till far into autumn. It
is a member of the buttercup family, and may be recognised as a
buttercup of a snow white, with a bright yellow centre. If you step
carefully to the edge of a pond or river, where this crowfoot covers the
shore-water with its floating foliage and thousands of snow-flakes, you
will not be in a hurry to disturb it, it is so truly beautiful. But
reach forth your hand, and tenderly take up a head; and, as you draw it
from its plashy bed, you will find that it is truly amphibious in
structure, no part of the undergrowth being at all like that which
floats above in the air and sunshine. The floating leaves are fleshy and
neatly lobed, the lower ones are as finely cut as fennel, and from every
joint numerous white rootlets will be seen protruding, on their way to
find root at the bottom. This plant requires good washing in clear water
before it is fixed in the tank, or it may be the means of introducing
many objectionable growths. It will be best to cut away the lower
portions, and root it from a good joint, allowing it just length enough
to float its ark of green and white upon the surface. When you have
secured as many complete plants as you require--and two strong stems
will be enough for any tank--pick off a dozen or more blossom-heads,
taking each at a clear joint. When the roots are planted, sprinkle the
short flowering tops over the surface, and you will have at once a wide
spread of snow-white flowers that will continue gay till the end of the
summer, while the fixed roots will give a graceful effect to the
vegetation of the mid-water.


_Hydrocaris morsus ranæ_, or the common frog-bit, may be obtained of the
dealers, and is common in brooks and rivers. It is a perennial,
interesting in its growth, very curious when in flower, and a good maker
of oxygen.

_Alisma_, of several species, may be obtained from brooks and rivers in
plenty. It is the Water Plaintain of the old botanists, and has an
ancient renown, which cannot be dealt with here. The long stems and
lanceolate leaves of this genera give a pleasing variety to the
vegetation of the tank.

_Lemna._--The four English species may be used to advantage. If the
whole of the surface be covered with the pretty grass-green fronds of
this very common plant, the effect is good, and it gives a salutary
shade to the finny creatures. A single frond thrown in will soon spread
and cover the tank in time, and its growth cannot be contemplated
without pleasure. _L. triscula_ is a very pretty kind, common in the
neighbourhood of London.

The sweet-scented Rush, members of the Alisma tribe, the noble
Sagittaria of six species, the Hornwort (Ceratophyllum) of two species,
and for more delicate purposes, Chara and Nitella may be recommended as
suitable additions to the botanical department of the Aquarium.



I shall here give the names and a few particulars of the history of the
fishes that are most suitable for the aquarium, reserving my notes on
the grouping and general stocking for a subsequent chapter. It is to the
interesting family of _Cyprinidæ_ we are to look for our chief supplies.
This tribe of fishes belongs to the great division of _Malacopterygii_,
or those having their fin-membranes supported by flexible rays, which
are either pointed or branched, or both.

_Cyprinus carpio_, the British carp, is a handsome fish, differing
slightly in structure from the Prussian and gold carp; yet, in general
outline, preserving the true carp type--plumpness of body, iridescence
of colour, and ease of movement in the water. This carp has a
moderately-developed pair of moustachios, in the form of a barbule, at
the upper part of each corner of the mouth, and a second one above it,
on each side. Like the rest of its kindred, it is very tenacious of
life, and does not quickly suffer from exhaustion of oxygen. It is an
old fish, so to speak, for it was a favourite with the ancients. Pliny
and Aristotle both speak of it in high terms of praise, and record that
it lives to a hundred years of age, becoming, in that time, as white and
hoary as an "ancient mariner" should. It is not indigenous to our
rivers, though, as far back as 1496, mention is made of it in the "Boke
of St. Albans," quoted by Mr. Yarrell. It has been known to attain to a
weight of twenty pounds, and in Holland is frequently kept alive in wet
moss, and fattened on boiled potatoes. In this way it is said to live
three weeks.


_C. gibelio_ is the noble Prussian carp, unquestionably the best of all
fishes for aquarian purposes. It will survive the wreck of a whole
establishment, even if the water gets putrid and almost exhausted of
oxygen. The easy, graceful motions, the beauty of the colouring, and the
docility, of this fish, must make it a favourite and a pet wherever it
is kept. I have always had a large number of them, some of considerable
size; they group themselves like friends on good terms of acquaintance,
take an interest in whatever goes on in the room where the tank stands,
and elegantly poised in mid-water, will watch their proprietor for
hours. Small, red earth-worms, young water snails, and home-made bread,
are the best of foods for them. They will seldom eat bread at first, but
soon get to like it, eat it greedily, "and ask for more." The Prussian
carp may be taught to feed from the hand, even more boldly than the
minnow, and readily assemble themselves for inspection when the side of
the glass is gently tapped with the finger-nail. None of the carp family
are carnivorous in any great degree. Mr. Yarrell says the Prussian carp
will recover after having been thirty hours removed from water.

_C. carassius._--The crucian, or German carp, is easily distinguished
from its compeers by its bream-shaped back, which rises from the nape
into a high arch along the line of the dorsal fin. It is to be found in
the Thames, between Hammersmith and Windsor, whether for the angler to
kill or the aquarian to preserve. It is less hardy than the Prussian
carp, and a little subject to fungoid growths.

_C. auratus_ of Linnæus, the lovely gold carp, will hold pre-eminence
among domestic fishes for its splendour of colouring, though among true
naturalists I think the Prussian carp will always compete with it to
advantage, for the gold fish is certainly the dullest-minded of the
family, and, like most fops, lazy and unteachable. Pennant says, "In
China every person of fashion keeps them for amusement, either in
porcelain vessels, or in the small basins that decorate the courts of
the Chinese houses. The beauty of their colours and their lively motions
give great entertainment, especially to the ladies, whose pleasures,
from the policy of the country, are extremely limited." This carp
appears to have been introduced into Britain about 1611, though the
precise date is now difficult to determine. Mr. Yarrell leaves it an
open question.

A large number of those reared for sale are the produce of waters which
receive the waste steam from factories, and which are thus kept to a
temperature frequently as high as 80 degrees. In fact this carp is most
prolific in tepid water, though those that are bred at a lower
temperature are more beautiful. The gold carp is not the only fish that
can bear such high degrees of heat, perch and mullet have been found in
waters at 86 degrees; live eels were found by De Saussure in water
heated to 113 degrees, and other instances, mentioned in Bushnan's
"Study of Nature," show the adaptability to temperature in fish of many
other species. I had minnows frozen into a solid mass last winter, and
the same day they were thrown into a tank, in a room where a fire was
burning, and in a few hours were sporting about in a genial warmth of 60
degrees, a change of more than thirty degrees in a few hours.

The trade has been so long established that a modern gold fish is truly
a manufactured article, and the patterns vary from high class beauty to
very decided deformity. Domesticated creatures are all liable to vary
from their original type, but in the gold carp this variation proceeds
to an extent not observed in any other animal which man has taken under
his care. Their colours are as various as their forms; some have stumps
instead of dorsal fins, with perhaps tails as large as their bodies;
some have triple-forked tails, and perhaps no trace of a dorsal fin at
all, and in purchasing, it is as necessary to look to the structure and
outline of the fish as to its colours, or, on after inspection, the
purchaser may find himself in possession of creatures as bright as
morning sunshine, but in form as ugly as toads. There is no better food
for gold fish than the crumb of bread. Many writers condemn this; I can
only say that they thrive for years upon it, but if more be given at a
time than the fish can eat, it soon renders the water impure and does

_Cyprinus Brama_, the common bream, is a fish of bold outline and
pleasing habit. The depth from the dorsal to the ventral fin is nearly
equal to the length of the body, and justifies the comparison applied to
a high-shouldered biped, "backed like a bream." There is a prettier
species called the _Cyprinus Buggenhagi_, Pomeranian Bream, a specimen
of which was lately supplied me, with a parcel of other fish, by Mr.
Hall, the intelligent naturalist, of the City Road.

_C. Leucisus_, the dace, _C. rutilus_, the roach, and _C. alburnus_, the
bleak, may be classed together, as fishes well known to all who were
ever seduced into playing truant, to try their boyish luck with a
blood-worm and a bent pin, or who have since sunned themselves in the
holiday pages of Izaak Walton, to fall in love with milk-maids, and
dream all night of reedy rivers that sing and sparkle, and fishes fried
in meadow cowslips. These are delicate fish, whether for the table or
the tank. As the latter concerns me most here, let me warn the reader to
proceed cautiously, for these lovely creatures have a sad habit of
perishing quickly in confinement. In winter time they may be kept with
ease, but as spring approaches, the best care for them will only be
rewarded by the spectacle every morning of one or two floating on the
surface, never to swim again; while they do live, there are no more
interesting creatures to be found for the gratification of the domestic
circle. Bleak are even more sportive than minnows, and will chase a fly
or small spider thrown in to them, till they tear it into shreds, and
then will fight like Irish lads for the pieces. An aquarium, stocked
with bleak and minnows, is a perpetual Donnybrook Fair, and will provoke
the laughter of the dullest melancholic that ever looked at water as a
medium wherein to end his imaginary woes. They soon feed from the hand,
and eat bread greedily, darting after the crumbs with even more
eagerness and vivacity than a party of school boys scrambling for
halfpence. Their dazzling silvery scales, marked with the bright lateral
line of spectral green, their taper forms, and large bright eyes, enlist
all our sympathies, and compel us to doat upon them. If they are the
best of fishes in this respect, they realise Wordsworth's famous

                        "The best die first,
  But they whose hearts are dry as summer's dust,
  Burn to the socket:"

and hence as to longevity they prove themselves the worst. Dace are very
tameable, and soon grow bold and familiar in captivity, comporting
themselves in their attitudes and motions much like Prussian carp. Of
the three, dace are the most hardy; I have some which have survived
eighteen months' confinement, and are now enjoying the sunshine in the

The aquarian, contemplating the silvery spangles of his white fish, may
like to be reminded that the scales of dace, roach, and bleak, were
formerly used in the manufacture of Oriental pearls, and are still used
to some extent in making the imitations of pearl that occasionally gleam
under the chandelier upon the brows of laughing belles.

_C. phoxinus_, the minnow. An aquarium without minnows is no aquarium at
all--it is a makeshift. With a shoal of minnows and a few Prussian Carp
an aquarium may be considered fairly stocked, because there is really
something to look at, something to amuse, and something to instruct. The
minnow is a bold and impudent fish; he is at his ease in less than an
hour, and in a week will show a sign of attachment and familiarity. They
do not live beyond three years, but will reach that age in the
confinement of a tank. Like carp and tench (and asses), minnows may be
said never to die, for they survive the severest trials of heat and
cold, neglect and bad treatment. The colours are pleasing, and bear some
close resemblance to the mackerel; but fright will make them assume a
pale fawn colour in an instant. Disease seldom attacks them, and when
it does, they speedily recover if thrown into a large pan under a jet of
water. Minnows spawn in June, and just before that time acquire their
gayest mottlings of green, and bronze, and silver, losing colour
considerably after spawning.

_C. gobio._--The gudgeon is an every-day sort of fish, proper enough in
a general collection, but where room is scarce it may very well be
spared. In its markings the gudgeon has a striking appearance. It is a
hardy fish, and rarely shows signs of exhaustion.

_C. Tinca._--The tench is a quiet, shy fish, distinct in outline, and
easily recognised; but, like the gudgeon, destitute of any highly
attractive features. The tench is the most tenacious of life of any fish
in the collection, and never shows signs of exhaustion by gulping air
from the surface. Tench are easily tamed, and take great pleasure in
nibbling their proprietor's fingers. Mine eat bread and cheese with me,
and nibble my fingers fiercely whenever I permit them.

_C. Barbus._--The barbel takes the lead in the aquatic moustache
movement. His barbs are really ornamental, and altogether he is a
handsome but shy fish. The dorsal and caudal fins are very symmetrically
shaped, and the lateral line arrests the eye when we contemplate his
pleasing colours. If small newts, small carp, and minnows are kept in
the same tank with barbel, they are likely to disappear one by one; for
when all is quiet he makes his meal without seeking aid from the
culinary art.

_C. barbatula_ is perhaps the most interesting fish in the tank,
considered as an individual. With no attractive colours, and with an
outline as straight and rigid as a piece of bark, he surprises you with
his graceful motions as he hawks along the surface of the glass,
propelled by the easy undulatory action of the caudal end of the spine.
Towards dusk he wakes up from his daylight stupor, and commences his
queer, but pretty gyrations; and, after gliding ghost-like all round the
tank, suddenly drops down as if dead, and rests on any leaf or stone
that may receive him, remaining motionless, and in any attitude--on his
head, his tail, or his side--that the power of gravity may give him.
Then, with an uneasy fidgetting, he flounders up again, and off he goes,
as graceful as before, his pectoral fins spread out like samples of
lace, looking as much like an eel with frills as it it possible to
conceive. When ascending, his motion is so undulatory that he may easily
be mistaken for a smooth newt, going up for a bubble. Nor is our
interest in him lessened by his displays of individuality of character.
He is a savage on a small scale. When he is quietly dozing, half hidden
among the sand and pebbles, throw in a small red worm, and, as soon as
the water is tainted with the odour of this favourite food, he is awake
and on the search. A triton seizes the worm, and shakes it as a cat
would a mouse. The loach hunts him down, snaps at him fiercely, and
tears the worm from his mouth, and woe to any minor fish that attempts
to remove it from those bearded jaws. He flounders from place to place,
shaking the prey as he goes, and stirs up such a cloud from the bottom,
that the beauty of the scene is spoiled for an hour; at the end of which
time you will probably find him gorging the prog, half of which still
protrudes from his mouth, while two or three hungry minnows loiter
about, looking wistfully at what they dare not hope to obtain.

It is a pity the loach is so delicate; it shows signs of exhaustion
sooner than any fish in the collection. If oxygen fails, it comes to the
surface to gulp air, and at last rolls over on its back, and pants in a
way that is very painful to witness. Removed to a pan, under a jet of
water, it soon recovers; but if long confined in a vessel the least
overstocked, especially in warm weather, finishes his career by
convulsive gaspings at the surface.

[Illustration: MINNOW, TENCH, & PERCH.]

A curious species of loach, known as the spine loach, is met with
occasionally in Wiltshire, in the Trent, near Nottingham, and in some of
the tributaries of the Cam. Mr. Yarrell describes it; but as I have not
yet had the good fortune to possess a living specimen, I can only refer
to it casually.

_C. cephalus._--The chub is a good aquarium fish. It is shy, but grows
familiar under good treatment. Insects sooner attract it than any other
food. Mr. Jesse says, that those in his vivarium throw off all reserve
at the sight of a cockchafer, which they devour with eagerness.

Among the _Acanthopterygii_, or the spiny-finned fishes of Cuvier's
arrangement, the only one suited to the fresh-water tank, is the noble
perch, _Percidæ_. These are bold and dignified, and their decisive
markings make them attractive in a general collection. They require
plenty of room, or they soon show signs of exhaustion; and, under the
best of circumstances, cannot be pronounced a hardy fish in confinement.
They are capricious. I have had healthy specimens, taken by net, die off
in a week; and weakly ones, taken by the hook, with portions of the
lower jaw torn away, recover, and live for a year, after the ragged
portions had been removed by scissors.

_Gasterosteus_ needs a word or two. The sticklebacks are all pretty and
interesting fish, plentifully found on the sea-coast, and in brooks and
ponds all over the country. The species most frequently met with are _G.
semiarmatus_, the half-armed stickleback, and _G. pungitius_, the
ten-spined, but _G. brachycentrus_ (short-spined), and _G. spinulosus_
(four-spined), are rare.

Aquarian amateurs seem a little divided about the policy of keeping
these in tanks. I can only advise the beginner to be careful, or he may
regret having made their acquaintance. They are all savages, untameable
savages, that delight in destruction, even if they cannot eat what they
destroy. They will attack anything, and, with their spiny armour, dare
the stoutest to retaliate upon their mischief-making pertinacity. In
fact, they pass all their time in worrying the more peaceful members of
the aquarium; and any one who has a few months' experience of them, will
consider them the savagest of imps.

I have tried them on several occasions, and found them at spawning time
more savage than usual; but at all other times savage enough. My
favourite Prussian carp, that love me as I love them, that come when I
call them, that hurry to the side when I fillip the glass with my
finger-nail, that watch me with all their eyes when I sit in the room
with them, and that feed from my hand as a dog would, show at the tips
of their pretty tails the sanguinary signs of gasterostean vengeance.
Their transparent tails are ragged through the attacks of those
sharp-toothed savages, and more than one has succumbed to their
persevering spite since my recent trial of them under the persuasion of
a little friend who begged me to put in some "robins" he had caught at
the brook. "Robins," indeed, the red jaws of G. aculeatus are suggestive
of his bloodthirsty propensities, and he now does penance with a dozen
of his kindred in a glass jar of _Callitriche autumnalis_. With tench,
gudgeons, and minnows they do better, but they are very annoying to carp
of all kinds.



The lower orders of creation supply many interesting specimens for the
aquarium. Among the reptiles--newts, or water lizards, and the common
frog, may be recommended as offering some forms of positive elegance,
and some habits worthy of observation. The smooth newt, the warty newt,
and the noble triton, are almost essential to the completion of the
collection, and as they respire air at the surface, they do not exhaust
the water of oxygen. The beautiful markings on the belly, and the
graceful motions of these strange creatures, are sure to afford
entertainment to those who can overcome the very common repugnance felt
towards such creatures.

Some of the mollusks commend themselves for their beauty, and will be
prized by the aquarian enthusiast. Among the univalves, lymnea, physæ,
planorbis, and paludina, are the most useful and ornamental. I must
caution the amateur against the too ready adoption of any species of
lymnea; they are destructive, and particularly fond of _Vallisneria_,
_Stratoides_, and _Callitriche_, and while they are the best of
cleaners, they are also the most indiscriminate of gluttons.

_Paludina Vivipara_ is a handsome snail, with a bronze tinted, globular
shell; but _Planorbis Corneus_ and _carrinatus_ are still handsomer,
having a spiral form, resembling the horn of a ram. These latter are to
be trusted anywhere; they are good cleaners, and seldom attack the
plants. Water snails breed rapidly in tanks, but the carp devour the
young as fast as they appear; hence it is advisable to remove the spawn
into jars containing healthy plants, such as _Callitriche_, in which
they may remain for observation of growth, till stout enough to be
committed to the tank.


Among the bivalves, the fresh-water swan mussel, _Anodon cygneus_, and
the Duck mussel, _Unio pictorum_, are interesting burrowers, and perform
a great service in the tank. They act as scavengers, not by the process
of eating off objectionable growths, as in the case of univalves, but by
the straining off of matters held in suspension in the water, and
filtering it in a pure state, by the mechanism of their syphons, and
ciliated gills. It is very interesting to watch them thus engaged, and
to note the force of the stream which they project from time to time.

The only creature of the insect kind that I can recommend for general
adoption is the caddis worm, a comical and interesting creature, that
can never mar the beauty of the tank. Half-a-dozen may be thrown in, and
searched for occasionally--the search will always be well rewarded. When
the cad closes his hybernacle, it will be desirable to remove it to a
jar, to obtain a better opportunity of witnessing the transformation of
the dormant worm into a four-winged fly of Stephens's family of



The first thing to guard against is over-stocking, the common error of
all beginners; taking large fish with small, I think about two or three
to every gallon of water is the utmost that should be attempted. For a
vessel of twelve gallons, I should recommend the following, as giving
great variety, with considerable safety:--Six Prussian carp, of various
sizes, one at least of five inches in length; two small Crucian carp;
two small perch; two small loach; two tench, of five or six inches; six
or eight minnows; one small eel; a dozen _Planorbis corneus_;
half-a-dozen _Paludina vivipara_; three or four fresh-water mussels and
a dozen of different sorts of newts.

A tank so stocked, will be well filled with life; and if the plants be
sufficiently strong, and in a good light, all will go well.

Another, and to some perhaps, prettier selection, might be made
thus:--Three gold carp, of various sizes; three Prussian carp; two
perch; four large loach; a dozen minnows; half-a-dozen bleak; and two
dozen planorbis.

If stocked with great care, with a bottom of pebbles only, this would do
very well; and the sides would never want cleansing. For a smaller
vessel, the same selection might be made, but with a proportionate
reduction of the numbers.

Those who make their own selection, may choose from the following:--

_Plants._--Vallisneria spiralis, Anacharis alsinastrum, Callitriche
vernalis and autumnalis, Nuphar lutea, Potamogeton crispus, densus, and
fluitans, Stratoides aloides, Ranunculus aquatalis (apt to foul the
water in a north aspect), Myriophyllum spicatum, Myosotis palustris,
(the real forget-me-not--it flowers above the surface) Butomus
umbellatus (for the centre--it flowers above the surface), Lemna,
Nitella, and Chara. For a list of suitable ferns and instructions on
their culture I must refer the reader to my work entitled, "Rustic
Adornments for Homes of Taste," where this department is amply treated.

_Fishes._--Gold carp, British, Prussian, and Crucian carp, pike, perch,
tench, minnows, chub, loach, gudgeon, bream, and in winter, roach, dace,
and bleak.

_Reptiles._--The smooth and warty newt, tadpoles, frogs.

_Mollusks._--_Univalves_, Planorbis corneus, and carrinatus, Paludina
vivipara, Lymnea stagnalis, putris, auriculata, and glutinosa, Physa
fontinalis, Bythinia tentacula.

_Bivalves._--Anodon cygneus, Unio pictorum, tumidus and margaritiferous,
Dressinia polymorpha, Cyclas corneus.



Feeding should be performed twice or thrice a week, and will be as
amusing to the observer as gratifying to the fishes. Bread is not so
objectionable as many have stated. Carp, bleak, and minnows eat it
greedily, and soon grow tame if regularly fed with it. Most small fishes
take insects, such as flies, spiders, ants, and soft larva, greedily;
but the large fish disdain such diet. Small red worms, and white of egg,
are good general foods, and seem highly beneficial. When feeding, see
that the carp get enough, for they are slow fish, and get robbed
wholesale by their more lively neighbours. Food not eaten will decay,
unless speedily removed, hence care must be exercised on this head.

_Confervæ._--When the tank has been established a few weeks, the inner
sides of the glass will show signs of a green tinge, of a slimy nature.
This is owing to the growth upon it of minute forms of vegetation. If
this is allowed to go on unchecked, the glass will in time become
opaque, and the view of the interior will be lost. Hence it must either
be kept down in growth or occasionally removed.

_Uses of Mollusks._--It is to prevent this rapid growth that
water-snails are registered among the tenants of right, for these
creatures subsist on vegetable matter only, and if a goodly number be
thrown in, they will be found perpetually at work, eating the green
growth from the sides, and thus constantly preserving an open prospect.

_Objections to Mollusks._--In a highly ornamental tank, water-snails may
be thought objectionable, as interfering somewhat with the beauty of the
scene. I know the ardent naturalist will cry out against this remark,
and ask me if I can find a prettier object than a _Planorbis corneus_,
coiled round like a horn of plenty; or a full-grown Paludina with its
globular hybernaculum richly bronzed and mottled. I tell my friend that
I love the pretty creatures as much as he does, yet, as I write for
everybody who wishes to keep an aquarium, I feel bound to consider how
it is to be managed without them, if their absence is desired. I confess
too, that I do object to their appearance in some cases myself, as I do
also to beetles, and all other insects in a tank fitted up for the
adornment of a drawing-room, however necessary they may be in the tank
of a student.

In the first place, _Paludinæ and Planorbis_ are the only kinds to be
trusted in a general collection of plants, and the last is most
trustworthy of any. Lymnea are all fond of substantial dishes, and eat
as much vallisneria as they do of the mucuous growth. A dozen of these
gentry will most effectually check the vegetation of the tank, by eating
holes in the handsomest leaves of the Stratoides, and biting into the
very heart of the Vallisneria. Starwort, too, they are very fond of, and
soon clear the bottom of every fragment. Yet, the _Lymnea_ are
admirable cleaners, the pity is, that they will not see what is
required of them, and do that only.

Again, the univalve mollusks do not keep the sides so clean, but that an
occasional cleansing of another kind is sometimes necessary, and if the
aquarian is not disposed to keep an army of quite semi-efficient
scavengers, the remedy will be found in an occasional cleansing of the
sides, by means of a sponge attached to a stick, which must be plied
over the whole surface, and occasionally taken out and washed in clean
water, to remove the green scum, that it soon gets covered with.

[Illustration (Lymnea)]

_Use of Confervoid Growths._--But I should object to any frenzy about
cleansing tanks. As I said at starting, they should be self-supporting,
and if Planorbis or Paludinæ are used in the proportion of about four of
each to every gallon of water, a good view will always be preserved with
the use, now and then, of the sponge alone.

_Periodical Cleansing._--When a tank has stood twelve-months or more,
the water not having been changed at all during the whole time, it may
be necessary to turn out the contents and re-stock it. This is not to be
done unless the bottom has become black, and the roots of the plants
show signs of decay, in fact, not unless it really wants it, and if
bottomed with mould it certainly will, and it must be done accordingly.
The live stock should be removed by means of a hand-net, the water drawn
off by means of a syphon of glass, or gutta percha, and the plants taken
out carefully and put by themselves, and then after removing the bottom
the glass can be quickly cleaned with the aid of water and fine sand, or

_Exhaustion of Oxygen_ is made manifest by the fishes coming to the
surface to gulp air, and it is also manifested by their retiring to the
bottom, and quietly extending themselves on their backs in "horizontal
repose"--the repose of death. If too many animals be crowded into the
vessel, this will soon happen, and either the number must be reduced or
the water must be frequently changed, or we must have recourse to
æration. I consider the two latter remedies a proof of the incompetency
of the aquarian--the necessity marks very bad management indeed.

_Temperature._--If the aquarium be too much exposed to the heat of the
sun in summer, or to the heat of a fierce fire in winter, the water will
get tepid, and signals of distress will be shown by the protrusion of
many panting mouths at the surface. I find that if the temperature rises
above sixty degrees, things do not go on so well. The use of a blind or
paper screen is, therefore, essential in summer time.

On winter evenings, when the room is made cozy by blazing blocks of
coal, the collection will often show signs of distress. By opening the
lower window-sash one or two inches when leaving the room for the night,
things may be restored to a normal state in a few hours, and even if the
weather is somewhat severe no harm will be done. At the same time
intense cold checks the growth of the plants, and throws the fishes into
a state of torpor, and the freezing of the water may cause the bursting
of the tank.

In summer time, if the tank should get accidentally heated, it may be
quickly cooled by wrapping around it a coarse cloth saturated in water,
and keeping it wet from time to time. These matters may be much
simplified by fixing a small thermometer within the tank below the level
of the water.

_Dead specimens_ must be removed as quickly as possible. Bivalves are
generally very hardy, but if death happens to one, the production of
sulphuretted hydrogen is very rapid, and quickly fouls the tank.

_Disease of Fishes._--I have tried numerous remedies for the diseases
which beset fishes in winter, but with very little success. When the
caudal fin gets coated with a fungoid growth, I have at once cut it off
by means of a pair of scissors, and it has usually grown again in a few
weeks. I have a couple of minnows now, that were so operated on last
winter, they are as hearty as ever, and their tails are quite renewed.
Diseased animals should always be removed to a pan of fresh river water,
and placed in a quiet cool place, where they will probably recover.

[Illustration (Dragon Fly)]





_Points in which the Marine differs from the River Tank._--Though
vessels of precisely the same construction are used for marine as well
as fresh-water aquaria, yet, as the peculiar necessities of marine life
demand some conditions of a special kind, I must here again briefly
treat of the vessels in which marine stock may best be kept. Every
variety of tank or vase referred to in the description of the
fresh-water aquarium may be used in the formation of marine collections;
but while vases are eminently suitable for river stock, they are not to
be strongly recommended for marine, and for this important reason, that
we do not generally have, as in the former case, a variety of moving
forms poising in mid-water, or chasing each other through every part of
the tank; but in the present case _ground stock_ constitutes the main
feature of attraction, and hence we require a vessel which admits of
examination in every part, which a _tank_ does and a _vase_ does not. In
a vessel containing actinia, madrepores, serpula, &c., we require to
have at all times a clear view of the bottom, and a vase does not admit
of this unless we look from above, the amount of refraction being very
great at the base of the vessel. Hence, though marine stock may be well
kept in vases, it must be borne in mind that such vessels are far
inferior as to the means of inspection to rectangular tanks.

It is also important to bear in mind that marine stock invites the use
of the microscope in a greater degree than river specimens, and a
flat-sided vessel is the only one which affords proper facilities for
the application of a magnifier to its contents.

_Stained Glass._--But there is a still more important matter requiring
notice here. We are indebted to that accurate observer, Mr. Warington,
for valuable information on the effects of light upon certain forms of
sea weeds, and his mode of overcoming this is by passing light through
variously coloured media. It can easily be understood, that plants,
whose natural habitat is at a considerable depth beneath the surface of
the ocean, bear exposure to the full daylight very indifferently, and
that some special arrangements are necessary in order to cause the solar
rays to fall upon them as nearly as possible in the same manner as in
the twilight recesses from which they have been removed. This is
accomplished by fitting that side of the tank, which is intended to be
placed next the window, with a sheet of glass stained of a soft sea
green, and the softened light, so admitted to the tanks, promotes the
healthy growth of the Algæ, and very materially increases the beauty of
the vessel as seen from the other side. Mr. Lloyd, whose ripe experience
ever takes the most practical turn, has adopted this plan of
construction, and strongly recommends it for every vessel intended for
the reception of marine stock. Where it is desired to stock a vessel, in
which the back plate is composed of colourless glass, with marine
products, a substitute for coloured glass will be found in _diaphanie_;
but the paper chosen for the purpose should be of the lightest shade of
sea green, because it is less transparent than stained glass. In
stocking vases, this plan of staining the side next the window, is to be
strongly recommended, no less for securing a healthy vegetation than of
enlivening the beauty of the collection. I have used for this purpose,
the paper and varnish prepared by Messrs. Faudel and Phillips, of
Newgate Street, and can commend it for cheapness, and the ease with
which it can be applied.

Another point deserving of note is, that marine aquaria need a less
depth of water than river collections:--For purposes of study, a number
of glass dishes or milk-pans, will be found preferable to any kind of
tank, or vase, especially for Zoophytes, though fishes and crustaceans
require more room than mere bowls would afford them. In fact, the lower
forms of marine life may be kept for many months without the help of sea
weeds, if placed in shallow vessels--the absorption of oxygen, at the
surface, being quite equal to their demand upon the water.

In all other respects, what has been already said on the subject of
vessels must be understood to apply to all kinds of aquaria; the
rectangular tank, and the bell glass, are the two leading forms, and to
them I shall always refer when speaking of the tank in a general sense.



Coarse sea sand and pebbles, all well washed, make the best bottom; but
if sea sand is not to be conveniently obtained, common silver or gritty
river sand will answer every purpose, if washed until they cease to
stain the water. Most writers on aquaria--Mr. Gosse especially--condemn
silver sand, but I find it a most suitable material: its appearance is
cleanly, and it only requires frequent washing in fresh water to fit it
for the purpose. In the water-pipe which runs along the wall to supply
the kitchen, I have had a hole pierced to form a jet, and this I find of
great service in many aquarian operations, and especially in washing
sand and pebbles. Where this can be done conveniently, or where the pan
containing the materials to be washed can be placed under a tap turned
on so as to drip rapidly, the washing can be accomplished with very
little trouble, and the materials can remain for a week or two, being
stirred up occasionally to hasten the dissolution of solvent matters.
The sand should have a depth of two or three inches on the floor of the
vessel, and above it should be placed a layer of pebbles, also well
washed. The little white pebbles found among gravel look bright and
pretty, and if the aquarian is also a lover of the garden, he will turn
up plenty of them in digging, so as to keep a supply at hand for use
when wanted. The pebbles are not essential, but the sand is, because
many of the creatures delight in burrowing, and must have opportunity
afforded them of living their own life in a state of confinement.

_Rock work_ is generally considered an essential of a marine tank, but
experience has convinced me that the less we have of it the better. I
have, in describing the fresh water tank, given instructions for its
formation, and here desire only to caution the beginner to repress, as
much as possible, any desire for mimic arches, caves, and grottos. In
the first place, it must be remembered, that every cubic foot of rock
work displaces a cubic foot of water, and reduces the capabilities of
the tank for supporting a number of creatures. The more rock the less
water, and the less water the fewer animals. Beside this, it is
questionable if the use of cement of any kind is advisable; free lime
may be expected to dissolve out of it, however much seasoning it may
have previous to the introduction of the stock; and as marine creatures
are more delicately constituted than fresh water ones, the subsequent
loss of many may fairly be attributed to the presence of cement.

In the place of built-up arches, a few rough pieces of stone tastefully
disposed at the bottom may be made to produce a good effect: a rough
block of granite, or a stem of branching coral in the centre will be far
preferable, except for vessels of large size, in which pyramids and
arches may be less objectionable. It must be borne in mind, however,
that rock work in some form or other is useful, as affording shelter and
shade to such animals as love seclusion, and that, in a well managed
tank, the rough blocks often get coated with a vegetable growth that
increases the strength of the collection, and adds very much to its
beauty. In this matter, the mischief arises out of the desire of
beginners to display more ornament than is consistent with the nature of
the case.

_The water_, of course, may be obtained direct from the sea, and should,
if possible, be dipped in mid-channel. Shore water is not altogether
objectionable, for where we find the greater part of our specimens it is
evident the water must be suitable for them. In fact, I have found water
that I have brought from the sea-side in jars serve just as well as that
supplied by the steamer from the open sea; but near the mouth of a river
it would be found unsuitable, as it would, also, from any parts of the
coast where land springs abound. Earthenware vessels are the best for
the conveyance of sea-water and specimens, but if a large quantity be
required, a new cask should be used, and the greatest care taken to have
it stopped with a new bung, and conveyed quickly to its destination. Mr.
Gosse recommends a cask of fir-wood if it can be procured, "the wood of
the oak, of which wine casks are usually made, gives out _tannin_ or
_gallic acid_ to the contained water, which by its astringency, converts
the animal integuments into leather." In fact, our poor anemones get
their hides tanned if any vegetable bitter comes into contact with the
water in which they are to be kept. I make it a rule to filter sea water
through charcoal before using it; this is not essential if the water
appears bright, but is, at least, a precautionary process that may have
its advantages.

_Artificial Water_ is now used so extensively as to justify some special
remarks here upon it. It must be understood that where real sea water
can be easily obtained, as at spots near the coast, it is undoubtedly
the best, though, in some respects, the artificial preparation is
preferable, because less liable to certain eccentric changes of
constitution, which will fall under our attention further on. Sea-water
contains the spores of plants, and the germs of many forms of animal
life which may have development in the tank, and when these births
occur, it is a special gratification to the possessor. But such germs
may also decay, and cause putrescence; and if a tank is neglected, the
water is liable to get cloudy, the stones black, the sides of the vessel
semi-opaque, and the animals diseased. Death soon sets his black seal on
the undertaking when such a state of things occurs, and the collection,
however costly or well formed at first, may be lost. Now such
misfortunes as these are preventible, as it will be my duty to show
presently, but I here call attention to the fact, that artificial
sea-water is much _less liable_ to get out of condition from the very
absence of organic matter, which on first reflections, we should regard
as a disadvantage. Thus, the prepared material has certain advantages
over the natural; we lose the chance of rearing new additions to the
stock through the introduction of minute organic germs; but incur no
danger of those same germs perishing and polluting the bright lymph.

But artificial water is quite unsuited for animal life of any kind,
until it has been brought into condition by means of growing weeds for
eight or ten days, and for crustacea, star fishes, and fishes proper, it
is not suitable till it has been in use for many months, and even then
some species lose their health in it, and at last perish. But for
anemones of all kinds, many mollusks and crustaceans, and some other
forms to be presently described, artificial water does well, and
improves daily if properly managed. Unless, therefore, the aquarian is
bent upon domesticating the rarer and more delicate sea specimens, he
may avail himself of the aid of the chemist, and manufacture sea-water
from the river or the pump.

_Composition of Marine Salts._--The limited space of this work will not
enable me to enter upon the consideration of the chemistry of this
question so fully as I have done in "Rustic Adornments;" nor, perhaps,
is it necessary here to do more than point out the simplest method of
procedure. There are at least seven ingredients besides water, used in
the natural laboratory, but the chemist dispenses with some of these,
and finds every purpose served by using a selection of the chief of
them. The composition of sea water is as follows:--

Water                                  964.744
Common Salt, or Chloride of Sodium      27.059
Chloride of Magnesium                    3.666
Chloride of Potassium                    0.765
Bromide of Magnesium                     0.029
Epsom Salts, or Sulphate of Magnesia     2.295
Gypsum, or Sulphate of Lime              1.407
Carbonate of Lime                        0.033
Loss, or not accounted for               0.002

Mr. Gosse, in July 1854, communicated to the "Magazine of Natural
History" the results of experiments in the imitation of this
composition, and a formula for the artificial preparation of sea-water.
In the fictitious preparation the component salts were reduced to four,
so that no less than three of the original ingredients were dispensed
with. If the reader will note in what minute quantities the bromide of
magnesium, the sulphate and carbonate of lime occur, and at the same
time bear in mind that river and spring waters always contain a
considerable proportion of the last-mentioned ingredient, it will be
easily understood that the absence of those materials in the preparation
does not materially affect its value. The preparation on Mr. Gosse's
plan is composed as follows:--

Common Table Salt             3-1/2 ounces.
Epsom Salts                     1/4    "
Chloride of Magnesium           200 grains, Troy
Chloride of Potassium            40    "      "

The recipe may be given in another form to avoid the perplexity of
avoirdupoise and troy weights, thus:--

Common Salt                   81 parts.
Epsom Salts                    7   "
Chloride of Magnesium         10   "
Chloride of Potassium          2   "

_Management of Artificial Water._--When the salts are ready, it is best
to mix them in an earthern pan or jar, and allow them to settle and
refine for a day or two. To dissolve them in the tank is decidedly a bad
plan, though it is daily recommended by the dealers. Any one who will
dissolve a portion in a clean bell glass, and allow it to stand for a
week, using the clearest water, and adding nothing but the salts, will
observe, at the end of that time, a minute gritty deposit, similar to
iron rust, mixed with minute fragments of sand. This deposit proves
that the chemicals we obtain are not pure; and, perhaps, it is not
desirable that excessive purity should be obtained, but it certainly is
desirable to keep such matters out of the tank. When the salts have been
stirred up once or twice, so as to dissolve them thoroughly, test them
for the last time with the hydrometer, till it registers 1.027 or
thereabouts; it may safely range from 1.026 to 1.028 without interfering
with the success of the experiment. Hydrometers, registered for
sea-water, are not everywhere obtainable, and the specific gravity-bulb,
sold by Mr. Lloyd, for a shilling, answers the purpose just as well. Mr.
Cox, of 100, Newgate Street, has lately supplied me with an hydrometer
of a register of 1.000 to 1.050, made in Paris--the cost was seven
shillings. I prefer it to the bulb because it can be put to other uses.

_A Caution to the Uninitiated._--Some beginners have attempted the
preservation of marine specimens in solutions of common bay-salt, and
have expressed surprise that they perish rapidly in a solution of salt
obtained _from the sea_. Anyone at all acquainted with chemistry would
readily predict, that there could be no more certain way of killing the
creatures than the adoption of such a plan of preserving them. When
bay-salt is prepared, many of the more soluble materials, chloride of
magnesium especially, remain behind in the mother liquor, because the
chloride of sodium crystallizes first, hence _bay-salt alone does not
produce sea-water_; we must have the aid of the experienced chemist, or
turn chemists and prepare it for ourselves.

Those not experienced in chemical manipulations may find some difficulty
in obtaining and weighing accurately the several ingredients; and I
should advise them to purchase the preparation sold by Mr. Bolton, of
146, Holborn Bars. This merely requires to be dissolved according to the
instructions just given. Mr. Bolton has given minute attention to the
preparation of the salts, and is now improving them by compounding with
them the minute quantities of the more subtle ingredients, which were
originally omitted by Mr. Gosse. The salts are sold in packets, at the
rate of three gallons for a shilling; a price which must be considered
reasonable when we consider the purity of the article, and the care
taken in its manufacture.

_Filtering._--When the salts are well mingled with the water, pass the
liquid, through a filter, into the tank, which is supposed to have been
already well-seasoned, and furnished with a bottom of sand and pebbles,
and any ornaments that may be deemed necessary. A bee glass, with a bit
of sponge thrust into the orifice, is a convenient form of filter, but
if such a thing is not at hand, take an _old_ flower pot, and wash it
quite clean, thrust a piece of sponge through the hole in the bottom,
and throw into it a handful of powdered charcoal. This may be suspended
above the tank, or stood on two slips of wood, and filled from time to
time, till the whole of the water has been passed through it.


Some healthy plants of _Ulva latissima_ and _Enteromorpha compressa_ are
now to be introduced, and the whole left undisturbed for at least a week
or ten days, when the stocking with animal life may commence; some of
the hardy _Actinia_ being the best of all to start with. But if the
aquarian is in a fever to see something alive in the new vessel, he may
drop in half-a-dozen _Actinia mesembryanthemum_, one day after the
introduction of the plants, and unless he has made some mistake in the
preliminaries they will do well. I have, for the sake of gaining
information, placed this anemone in water the instant it was prepared,
and without filtering it, without suffering the loss of one; indeed, I
have some by me now which a year ago were so operated on; they attached
themselves directly, and lived through all the trials incident to a new
tank, in which there was not a single drop of natural sea water. Mr.
Hall tells me he has, on emergencies, kept them alive for a week in
soap-suds, and even in more offensive liquids; and judging by the life
the creature leads on the sea shore, now submerged in the cool waters,
and now exposed to the burning sun, it is not at all surprising that it
has a hardy constitution. Still, this hasty proceeding is not to be
recommended; let time develop the powers of the water, let the solar
light reach the plants through the green medium of the stained glass,
and soon a lovely beading of oxygen bubbles will appear, to indicate
that all is right, and _then_ the animals may follow each other in
proper order to their domestic home.

If a little real sea-water, even a pint or two, can be obtained to mix
with the artificial, the ripening of the latter will be considerably
hastened, but it is an interesting fact in the chemistry of the aquarium
that, though in the first preparation of sea-water certain of the
ingredients are left out of the prescription, in process of time those
very same ingredients are to be discovered in it by means of analysis.
How do they get there? They are communicated to it by the vegetation,
and hence as the water acquires age, like good wine, it increases in
strength, and after some months use, will maintain creatures in health
that would perish in a day in water recently prepared.

The preparation costs, when prepared from ingredients bought at
wholesale price, about three-pence a gallon; but it is a much better
plan to purchase it ready prepared, the price then being only four-pence
per gallon, or a three gallon packet for one shilling.



To gather specimens is much more pleasant than to purchase them, though
an inexperienced person would be pretty sure to bring home, from the sea
side, many things utterly unfit for the tank. As a rule, green weeds are
the best, the red sorts offer some lovely specimens that do well in an
_established_ tank, though none of them succeed in recently prepared
artificial water. Brown and olive coloured plants are to be wholly
avoided, they wither soon, and spread pollution around them so as to
endanger the whole collection.

Ordinary shore gatherings are quite useless for the purpose of the
aquarium; the drift is composed of torn specimens of unsuitable plants,
and we must seek for specimens at the extreme low-water mark, or in the
tide-pools which remain full during the whole of the ebb.

During spring tides is the best time for making collections, and it
behoves excursionists who cannot go to the sea side very often, to make
their arrangements for such trips, in accordance with the state of the
moon as indicated in the almanac. New and full moon are the times in
which the tide rises highest and sinks lowest, and much disappointment
will be avoided if such proper times are chosen.

Any one who may wish to gather a few specimens for a tank, should be
provided with a jar or two, and a basket. A geologist's hammer and a
chisel are also necessary. By searching the tide-pools and the boulders
at low-water mark, masses of rock will be found covered with weeds of
various forms and colours. Select the green grassy kinds, and chip off
each with a portion of rock attached, for a sea-weed has no root, and if
detached from its rocky site inevitably perishes.

Any one using a little perseverance and judgment may secure, at any part
of the coast, sufficient good specimens to stock a tank of moderate
size; and if the collection be watched closely for a week or two, the
unsuitable sorts will make themselves known by their increasing
shabbiness, and must either be removed altogether or treated according
to the instructions to be included under the head of management in a
subsequent chapter.

A few anemones may be detached from the rocky hollows in which they have
ensconced themselves. The common smooth anemone, which may be known in a
moment by its near resemblance to a large deep coloured strawberry,
should be secured in plentiful numbers, for it is equal to most of its
kindred in beauty, and is so hardy as to submit to the harshest
treatment unhurt; the more delicate kinds of anemones, especially the
white ones, should be obtained in the same way as the weeds; namely,
detached with a portion of the rock on which they are found adhering.

In packing the collection for carriage, care must be taken not to allow
any pieces of rock to press upon the soft anemones. The whole may be
brought away in jars of sea-water, or packed in masses of wet fuci
gathered from the beach.

There are very few of the specimens so obtained, but may be as well or
better conveyed in wet sea-weed than in water, and if they remain a
couple of days so packed, they will take little harm, and may be quickly
revived if put into shallow bowls, with a little sea water, and
oxygenised by means of the syringe before being placed in the tank. On
this head I can say no more here, but must refer the reader for minute
instructions to the chapter on specimen collection, in my work on
_Rustic Adornments_, though, what should be sought on the beach, may be
judged from the kinds recommended in the succeeding chapters, as well
also as to what should be purchased from time to time. Before any
specimens are placed in the tank, they ought to be rinsed with
sea-water, and any barnacles or sponges scraped off the pieces of rock
to which the plants are attached. Any neglect of this will be sure to be
followed by the production in the tank of sulphuretted hydrogen, which
blackens and kills all before it. Nor should any animal that appears
exhausted be consigned to the tank until it has been kept some little
time in a shallow bowl with a few weeds, and revived by the occasional
use of the syringe. Otherwise, delays are dangerous, and no time should
be lost in conveying the several objects to their proper home in the
little crystal palace, where blue eyes are to admire, and ruddy lips
smile approval of your work.



As already stated, the green weeds are most suitable, the red next so,
but of the brown and olive sorts there are very few that can be kept in
a state of health for any length of time. There are only two plants
suitable for the commencement of the experiment, and these are _Ulva
latissima_, the common sea lettuce, and _Enteromorpha compressa_, a
delicate grass-like algæ, of a very cheerful green. Of these Mr. Lloyd
and Mr. Hall have always plenty on hand, ready cleaned and prepared for
immediate submersion. Artificial water soon acquires the properties of
natural sea water under the influence of these plants, which grow
rapidly, and disseminate their spores throughout the tank, at the same
time giving abundance of oxygen for the support of animal life.

When a few weeks have elapsed _Chondrus crispus_, better known as
"Carrageen moss," may be added, it is a free grower found in plenty on
the ledges at extreme low-water mark. The green weeds _Codium
tomentosum_, _Cladophora arcta_, and _rupestris_, and _Bryopsis plumosa_
may be considered safe stock when the water has been in use a month or
two, but the growth of the more delicate of the Rhodosperms must not be
attempted in artificial water for at least three or four months.

The best weeds of the latter class are _Phyllophora rubens_, _Corallina
officinalis_, and _Iridæa edulis_. In collecting, no doubt the Dulse,
_Delesseria alata_, and _sanguinea_, with, perhaps, some of the
_Polysiphoniæ_ will be considered valuable prizes, but they will not
succeed in any but experienced hands, for whom this work is not written.

_Dasya_, _Chylocladia_, _Nitophyllum_, _Griffithsia_, _Rhodymenia_, and
_Ptilota_ will all contribute specimens as time goes on, and opportunity
affords for obtaining them. But not one of these lovely weeds of the red
class are fit for ordinary aquarian tactics, they are the "florists'
flowers" of the aquarian world, and refuse to be domesticated by any but
adepts. The exquisitely delicate _Griffithsia setacea_ is perhaps the
only one of the above that may be safely used in a well-seasoned tank of
artificial water; the other genera seem to be still more delicately
constituted and to require their own native element in a state of great

Once more I urge the beginner to be content with Ulva and Enteromorpha
at starting, with half-a-dozen plants of each of these, a large and
pleasing variety of animal life may be preserved, and in the case of
disaster of any kind, these are the most readily restored to health by a
little timely and judicious management.

All coarse and dark coloured weeds, however tempting at first sight, are
to be avoided. The sprawling tangles that one steps over in traversing
the boulders and the slimy masses of sea-weed, everywhere cast upon the
coast, are quite unfit, however fine the specimens, or strong the desire
to possess them. Neither must much value be attached to any weed cast up
by the surge. The only trustworthy specimens are those chipped from the
rock _in situ_ and brought away without being detached from their
natural basis.



Though Anemones take precedence in the order of stocking, and frequently
monopolise the tank--for, after all, these are the main attraction of
most marine aquaria--yet, as they do not stand the highest in the order
of nature, we must recount zoologically what creatures are best fitted
for domestication, and in another chapter give directions as to their
selection and management.

_Fishes_ take the first place, because they are the highest forms of
life admitted to the marine tank; but they are the _last_ introduced,
because, being more delicately organized than the tribes beneath them,
they require either real sea-water, in a state of high preservation, or
artificial water of some months' seasoning, and good management.

The fishes best adapted for tank life are the queer-looking gobies, the
lively blennies, small specimens of wrasse, rockling, and eel. The grey
mullet is a pretty fish, but not to be domesticated without some
difficulty. Some kinds of flat fish may be kept in tanks, but beginners
had better have nothing to do with them. Small sticklebacks may be taken
in plenty by means of a hand-net in quiet tide-pools, and do well in the
tank, but they are pugnacious, and harass less vigorous creatures; so
that some judgment is required in grouping them.

_Mollusks._--The common Periwinkle is useful as a cleaner, and
interesting also to those who find pleasure in contemplating the
startling resources of Divine Wisdom, as evidenced in the construction
of the most humble creatures. The winkles accomplish for the marine-tank
what the fresh-water snails do for the river-tank, they scrape
confervoid growths from the glass, and so help to preserve the
crystalline aspect of the tank. All the species of winkle are capable of
domestication, _Littorina littorea_, the common sort, and _E.
littoralis_, a pretty little fellow, with a gaily mottled hybernaculum.


The _Trochus_ tribe, better known as Tops, are also useful as cleaners,
and in appearance are more stately and ornamental than the winkle, their
cleanly marked conical shell attracting as much attention from strange
eyes as the noble planorbis corneus does in the river-tank. Generally
speaking, univalves are more easily kept than bivalves; many of the
latter are apt to die off, and cause some amount of putrescence before
their demise is discovered.

_Crustacea_ are lively and interesting, but of course small species, or
small specimens of large species are the most suitable. The Soldier
crabs (_Pagurus_) and the Swimming crabs (_Portunus_) are eminently
suitable, so is the pretty Strawberry crab, _Eurynome aspera_, and the
interesting Broad-claw _Porcellana platycheles_. Shrimps and prawns may
be used freely; they are lively creatures, and much more beautiful when
seen in motion, gliding about like ghosts, than would be imagined by any
one judging from the appearance of specimens on the table.

[Illustration: CARCINAS MÆNAS.]

_Annelides_ afford us the interesting serpulas, some pretty sea-worms,
and the terebellas, all easy of preservation, and remunerative of the
attention bestowed upon them.

_Zoophytes._--This is the division from which the most prominent
attractions of the tank are derived. Of these the _Actinia_ take
precedence of all the ordinary inhabitants of the tank, because of their
exquisite beauty, strange habits, and still more general certainty
attending their preservation.

_Actinia mesembryanthemum_ is the common Smooth Anemone which abounds on
every part of our coast. Its colour varies considerably, but it is
usually of a deep, warm chocolate, dotted all over with small yellow
spots, and when closed has the best possible resemblance to a large ripe
strawberry. Every stone about the sea-beach is studded with this
anemone, and a collector may secure any required number in a few hours,
slipping each from its base, and dropping the whole into a jar with some
fragments of fresh wet weed to keep them moist.

When it expands, a circle of bright blue beads, or tubercules,
resembling torquoises, is seen just within the central opening; and, as
the expansion proceeds, a number of coral-like fingers, or tentacles,
unfold from the centre, and at last spread out on all sides like the
hundred petals of a Peri flower, reminding one of Hinda's boon:--

  ----Be it our's to embellish thy pillow
    With everything beauteous that grows in the deep;
  Each flower of the rock, and each gem of the billow,
    Shall sweeten thy bed and illumine thy sleep.

  Around thee shall glisten the loveliest amber
    That ever the sorrowing sea-bird has wept,
  With many a shell in whose hollow-wreathed chamber
    We, Peris of Ocean, by moonlight have slept.

                                             Lalla Roohk.


This anemone will remain expanded for many days together, if the water
be kept bright and pure; but if the tank gets fouled, it closes and
falls from its foothold, and perishes if not attended to. It is the
hardiest of all the creatures that are regarded as stock for tanks, and
survives many a wreck unhurt. To induce it to climb up the sides of the
vessel, let it be placed with its base lying partly against it, or bring
it close to a stone in the centre, and it will be pretty sure to attach
itself where you desire in the course of a few days. This last
suggestion applies to anemones generally; novices are surprised to find
how well disposed the creatures are in a well-kept tank. The
disposition dates from the day of introduction, for none of this tribe
are fond of locomotion; and the arrangement of them for effect, depends
upon whether you drop them quietly just in contact with the spot you
wish them to adhere to, or throw them in pell mell, to cling to the
weeds or to each other.


_A. anguicoma_, or the snaky-locked anemone, is a pretty but curious
creature. It is all arms, just as a crab is all claws; but so delicate
in form, so beautifully striped in the tentacles, that it stands quite
apart in the tank as a thing unique. When found on the sea-shore, as it
is usually after a storm, it is a flat-looking, smooth mass, of a brown
tint, delicately striped with yellow and white. After a few days'
residence in the tank, it begins to expand, and rises to so tall a
figure, especially in the twilight, that it appears quite a different
creature to that introduced a few days before. In fact, its actual bulk
is increased vastly by expansion. It is constantly expanded.

_A. Bellis_ is another good species. It is a delicate pink and brown and
pink and white anemone, and certainly does resemble a daisy very closely
indeed. Though much prized it is not rare. Mr. Lloyd usually has
abundance of them on sale, at a shilling each, and a few should be used
to give variety to the collection. In newly-made marine-water it will
not do at all; but if it falls into the possession of an aquarian who
has no ripe tank at hand for it, it may be kept for weeks in a shallow

If anything goes wrong with this kind, it throws out a number of white
threads, and shrinks out of form, and perishes in a few days; but once
obtained in a sound state, and carefully treated at the outset, it is as
hardy as mesembryanthemum, and more readily expanded at all seasons than
most of its compeers.

_Actinia Gemmacea._--This is a delicately-constituted anemone, that
displays itself freely only in the most pure sea-water, in which there
is abundance of oxygen. It is quite unfit for early experiments, but
well repays the trouble it occasions when it can be successfully kept. A
few weeks since I had the pleasure of witnessing the birth of a large
cluster of this pretty anemone in the extensive collection of Mr. Lloyd,
at Portland Road. To the naked eye they appeared mere flocculent
specks, but a lens revealed their true form as they adhered to the side
of the vessel; every one of the little creatures, with its tentacles
expanded, a real microscopic gem, combining the grace of a flower with
the tinting of a pearl, and the delicate volition of a new-born animal.

When full grown, the gemmed anemone is very showy in its tintings. Pink,
yellow, and grey are all beautifully blended, and the rows of glands
which reach from the margin to the base, add their dots of white to the
garments of this tiny harlequin. The disk is brilliantly coloured,
scarlet, green, and orange, shading into each other, and occasionally
mingled with half-tints of every colour of the rainbow. The lip is
usually of a vivid green, and the tentacles exhibit rose, violet,
orange, and white on their upper surfaces. In the cut, this anemone is
seen partially closed on a piece of stone behind two specimens of _A.

_Actinia Crassicornis_ is another of the more delicate kinds, that dies
speedily, unless treated with great care, and in a well-established
tank. It is very abundant on every part of our coasts, and must be
removed with the stone to which it is found adhering; for if removed, or
even handled, it perishes in the course of a few hours. It is, however,
too beautiful not to be worth an effort to preserve it; and, if the tank
is in good condition, it will be well to obtain two or three specimens,
and watch them narrowly, so that if any of them die, they may be
immediately removed to avoid polluting the water.

The colour of this anemone varies considerably in different specimens.
Violet and amber shades frequently predominate in the tentacles.
Sometimes the disk is of a pearly white, at others of a warm fawn or
bright orange and scarlet, sometimes a deep crimson or a dull chocolate;
while the tentacles vary from pure white to dark brown, dingy fawn, and
brick-dust red. The latter organs are very numerous and tubular. When
irritated, the creature has the power of attaching the tentacles to the
object which annoys it, and in this way it frequently clings to the
fingers when handled, and at the same time squirts out numerous jets of
water, until it is quite empty and collapsed.

_Actinia Parasitica._--This is a good aquarium species, on account of
the ease with which it may be kept. It is a species that the rambler on
the sea-beach will not be at all likely to meet with, for it is truly
_pelagic_ in its habit. It is only to be obtained in a state fit for the
aquarium by means of the dredge, and when so obtained it lives a long
while in confinement.

The most interesting feature in the history of this zoophyte is that of
its usually inhabiting the shell of some defunct univalve mollusk, such
as the _Trochus_, or the great whelk, _Buccinum undatum_. This is not
the most curious part of its history. The anemone loves company, and in
the same shell as that on which it extends itself, we usually find a
pretty but pugnacious crab, _Pagurus bernhardus_. To the anemone the
crab acts as porter; he drags the shell about with him as if it were a
palanquin, on which sits enthroned a very bloated but gaily-dressed
potentate, destitute of power to move it for himself. Like most lazy
dignitaries, this showy Actinia attracts more attention than the lively
servant who drags it from place to place, for its form and colouring are
beautiful in the extreme.

It is of large size, frequently attaining to a height of four inches
with a diameter of two and a half. Mr. Gosse's description of this fine
creature is so minute and interesting, that I must beg the reader to
accept it in preference to any that I can write. He says, the "ground
colour is a dirty white, or drab, often slightly tinged with pale
yellow; longitudinal bands of dark wood-brown, reddish, or purplish
brown, run down the body, sometimes very regularly, and set so closely
as to leave the intermediate bands of ground colour much narrower than
themselves; at other times these bands are narrower, more separated, and
variously interrupted or broken. I have seen a variety in which the
bands took the form of chains of round dark spots, the effect of which
was handsome. Immediately round the base the bands usually subdivide,
and are varied by a single series of upright, oblong spots of rich
yellow, which are usually marginal, with deeper brown than the bands.
The whole body is surrounded by close-set faint lines of pale blue,
sometimes scarcely distinguishable, except near the summit, where they
cut the bands in such a manner as to form, with other similar lines
which there run lengthwise, a reticulated pattern.

"The disk is somewhat wider than the diameter of the body, which it
over-arches on all sides. Its margin is somewhat thin, and occasionally
thrown into puckered folds to a small extent. Thus it appears to
approach the peculiar form of _A. bellis_. The disk is nearly flat, or
slightly hollowed, but rises in the centre into a stout cone, in the
middle of which is the mouth, edged with crenated lips. The tentacles
are arranged in seven rows, of which the innermost contains about
twenty, the second twenty-four, the third forty-eight, the fourth
ninety-six; the other rows are too closely set, and too numerous to be
distinguished. Probably the whole number of tentacles, in a full-grown
specimen, may be considered as certainly not less than 500."

_Actinia Dianthus._--This is the _Plumose_ anemone of Mr. Gosse, and
sometimes bears the very appropriate name of the _Carnation_ anemone. It
is the most superb of our native Actinias--a gorgeous creature, that in
itself more than realizes our brightest imaginings of the hidden
splendours of the ocean floor, and of the gems that bedeck the caves of
Neptune. How will future poetry be affected by the revelations of the
aquarium, and how far will the sober facts of scientific research
influence the pictures and the incidents of romance? Even Keats's
glowing description of "God Neptune's palaces" becomes tame in the
presence of this splendid creature, which carries the fancy--

  ----"far below
  The sea-blooms and the oozy woods, which wear
  The sapless foliage of the ocean,"

and peoples the dark slippery slopes with wondrous forms of life and
beauty, as if the lost argosies and the perished navies, that have
found a common sepulchre in the waters, had given up their myriad souls
to the conjuration of Glacus and Scylla, and all the dizzy troop of
ocean spirits. It is, verily, a wondrous creature, of enormous size, and
so delicately tinted, so light and fairy-like in structure, so
constantly expanding and retracting its thousand delicate fingers, like
the Indian blossom that the Brahmin believes to be endowed with life,
that it never ceases to attract the attention of the coldest, and fill
the ardent lover of nature with--

  ----"the amaze
  Of deep-seen wonders."

I have before me now five specimens of this splendid anemone. They are
all expanded, and they glow in the sunshine like huge carnations of the
brightest amber, one of them verging towards a pure white. Two of these
are represented in the engraving, surrounded by fronds of _Delesseria
sanguinea_, _Callithamnium_, and _Griffithsia_. The one attached to the
perpendicular side of a stone is of the golden amber variety; when fully
expanded it forms a massive column of five inches in height, at least,
and nearly three in diameter. From the summit of the column the
tentacles fringe over in rich masses, like the petals of a monster
carnation, all of them in motion as if seeking something which they
cannot find. The tentacular disk is deeply frilled and puckered, and
constantly changes its outline under the capricious will of the animal;
while, at the same time, the tentacles arrange and rearrange themselves
into most confusing forms; then again expand to their utmost, and expose
the oval mouth and crenated lips, of a pellucid softness that would
appear as if chiselled out of alabaster, were they not constantly
varying their form, and every instant undergoing a new "sea-change." The
tentacles are very regularly arranged around the mouth, but towards the
margin they thicken and thicken till they form a dense fringe that
overlaps the column, and continues ever waving as if stirred by
trembling ocean currents. If I now strike the glass with my finger, or
even breathe lightly on the surface of the water, they are all
withdrawn, the stately column shrinks down into a mass of pulp, and in a
few moments swells out like a globular balloon, so tight and large that
one momentarily expects it to burst. For an instant only it remains thus
blown out; it is suddenly constricted as if clasped by a cord, and it
then becomes double like a pair of globes placed one upon the other, and
flattened where they meet. Suddenly the imaginary girdle slips downward,
disappears, then it contracts, rises again, assumes its noblest
proportions, expands its thousand fringes, all delicately waving above
the dark stones, and is once more as lovely, or lovelier than ever.


This has been described as one of the most tender of its class, but I
have long been convinced that it is comparatively hardy, and may be
preserved with very great certainty. So long as the water is kept
moderately pure, by an occasional filtering through charcoal--which
aerates and purifies at the same time--it lives and prospers,
occasionally moving from place to place, but almost always expanded, and
every instant assuming some new form. It is, however, so far delicate
that, if frequently disturbed, it is sure to perish. When removed from
its native "oozy bed" it should be kept on the stone or shell to which
it is found attached, until it floats off of its own accord, and fixes
itself elsewhere. When handled it throws out a number of white threads,
which are afterwards withdrawn.



It is very strange that where the animal and vegetable kingdoms meet,
the forms should assume such close resemblances to each other, as to
make it frequently a matter of difficulty to determine to which of
the two great departments some special specimen shall be assigned.
Here are the lovely sea-flowers--flowers only in name and
appearance--representing the lowest links of animal life and pointing
to that last link where the animal and the vegetable blend into one,
bearing all the outward resemblances to flowers from which they take
their appropriate names, yet all of them strictly animals, endowed with
volition, and in their general organization assimilating to the
extensive series of zoological orders which stand above and beneath
them. The sea anemones are animals of the lowest class--_zoophytes_ of
the great Cuverian division of Radiata. It is in this division that
animation is seen to tremble and flicker in the socket, and to become
gradually extinguished as we descend the scale and approach the
confines of the kingdom of verdure. Here, then, life has its lowest if
not least lovely forms; the individuals have less individuality, many of
them live in groups and clusters, and increase in a semi-vegetative
manner by gemmation, or the formation of bud-like germs, while others
generate by spontaneous fissure, and break up into numerous forms, each
of which rapidly acquires the form of the parent, and proceeds in the
same way to increase its kind.

The Radiata are so named on account of the _ray-like_ form generally
observable in the structure of the creatures; in some the ray-like
divisions give such a speciality to the structure as to distinguish them
at once as members of this division; as in the star-fishes, for
instance, in which the intestinal canal branches out from the body into
the several rays which form the star, and in the anemones, in which the
relation to the tribe is at first sight perceptible in the _tentacles_
which surround the mouth, and which render it so exquisitely beautiful
as a marine representative of a true flower.

But though the term Radiata is applied to an extensive division, in
which the members have many characteristics in common with each other,
the ray-like form is not equally distinguishable in all. In some tribes
there is a tendency to associate into groups, in which each individual
has a certain degree of connection with the rest, as in the _infusoria_
common in our brooks, and indeed most of the _polypes_ which thus live
in community. The resemblance to vegetable forms is, however, common to
a great portion of the Radiata, and those in which this resemblance is
the strongest are grouped together under the general designation of
_Zoophytes_. In Zoophytes, the leading feature of a radiate animal is
very distinctly observable, and that leading feature is the arrangement
of the vital organs around a centre, the organs composing the rays of
the imaginary star, or the petals of the imaginary flower, to which the
mouth or stomach is the _centre_.


Among the Zoophytes we meet with many of the creatures which have the
greatest attraction for the student of the Aquarium. The brooks supply
him with the curious hydra, the seven-headed monster that perpetuates
one of the triumphs of Hercules--withal a beautiful and wondrous
creature, that may be cut in pieces, turned inside out, or even thrust
one animal within the other, and still remain the same. The sea supplies
the madrepores, the builders of ocean-reefs, and the founders of islands
and continents; as it also supplies the sea anemones of more than a
hundred species, from the curious _Edwardsia vestita_, here figured,
from the first seen in this country, at present in the collection of Mr.
Alford Lloyd, to the familiar members of the genus _Actinia_, obtainable
everywhere on our coasts.

The true Zoophytes have all, more or less, the plant-like form, and they
readily separate into two great classes, namely, the _Anthozoa_, or
flower-life, and the _Polyzoa_, or many-life, in which the individuals
are associated together in numbers. They are all inhabitants of water,
are all destitute of joints, lungs, nerves, and proper blood-vessels;
but in the place of nerves possess what naturalists call an _irritable_
system, in obedience to which they expand or contract at will. At the
upper part of the body is situated the mouth, which is usually
surrounded with tentacles, which are mostly used in securing prey. There
is no alimentary duct, for the stomach has the form of a simple sac, the
aliment being injected and ejected by the same orifice.

The _Anthozoa_ comprise animals which are perfect in themselves, and
these are mostly soft bodied, having no shelly covering, and are
protected only by the leathery integument which surrounds them, and the
thousand weapons of offence and defence which they expand in the form of
tentacles. Among the _Polyzoa_ we meet with creatures that encase
themselves in horny shells, or calcareous coatings, such as the
_Madrepores_, which, like submarine masons, elaborate the carbonate of
lime which the sea supplies them with, into shelly retreats; and the
tubed _Hydrioda_, which construct winding galleries and convoluted
tubes, from the mouths of which they protrude their fans and tentacles
in search of prey.

Among the higher orders of the Radiata we meet with the strange Sea
Cucumbers and the Sea Urchins, and the Star fishes; and among the lower
orders the Sea Anemones, many forms of which are described and figured
in these pages.

A Sea Anemone, then, is a Zoophyte belonging to the _class_ Anthozoa, or
flower-life, and the _order_ Helanthoida, or sunflower-like creatures.
The central disk of the sea flower is composed of the lips, which open
into a mouth which communicates with the simple sac which constitutes
the stomach, and the petals and fringes which surround it--now like the
anemone, now like the sunflower or the mesembryanthemum, or the richest
carnation that ever won for a florist a golden prize. The further
subdivision is dependent on the details of individual structure; and a
large section--that of _Actinia_--comprehends most of those on which the
aquarian bestows his patience in the work of domestication.

The _Actiniadæ_--so named from the Greek--signifying a ray of the
sun--are an extensive family, of which more than a hundred species are
to be found on our coasts, or in the deep bays adjacent. But few of
these are suited for confinement in aquaria, and of these the chief are
the _Actinia_ proper, the _Sagartia_, most of which are usually grouped
with the _Actinia_; the _Anthea Cereus_; the splendid _Adamsia
Palliata_, which is the only known species of the genus to which it
belongs; and a few of the _Bunodes_, _Edwardsia_, and _Corynactis_.

In all the varieties of sea anemones the mode of life is similar; they
are carnivorous, and obtain their prey by means of the ever-seeking
tentacles that search the lymph around them, and secure sometimes
fishes, at others mollusks, but more frequently the minute forms of
infusorial life that abound in the sea, or in the artificial water of
the tank. The mode of reproduction is by ova, which are sometimes
vivified in the body of the parent, and not only do they give birth by
ejection from the mouth of a numerous progeny, but actual divisions of
the body may be made, and each division will acquire completeness. Dr.
Johnson relates several instances in proof of this, one of which is
particularly interesting. A specimen of _Actinia crassicornis_ had
swallowed a large, sharp-edged shell, which so completely stretched the
body of the creature as if on a ring of wire, as virtually to cut it
into two equal parts. Thereupon it put out from the base a new disk,
with mouth and tentacles, and became at once a _double_ anemone, to
which the gorged shell served as an intermediate base of attachment. Dr.
Cocks has seen specimens of _Bunodes alba_ acquire complete forms in
duplicate when the original specimen has been severed into two or more
parts; and there are many other instances on record of this plant-like
division of sea anemones having been observed.

Though apparently immobile, there are few species but possess some power
of locomotion. We frequently meet with anemones attached to stones,
sand, or shells, by a wide sucking base, and if some species be moved
from their chosen site, certain death is the result. Yet in by far the
greater number there is a distinct faculty of progression--the anemone,
by a slow, gliding motion, gradually removes itself, and climbs up the
sides of the vessel, or takes possession of a tuft of weed, or shifts
from one stone to another, or fairly leaves go of its anchorage, and
floats like a balloon upon the surface. Thus low in the scale as they
are, they possess will, and a power of obeying it; they have their
organs of locomotion, of attack, and defence; though naked, they are
armed for combat on an equality with their enemies, and succumb at last
to man--the universal destroyer and appropriator--who turns them to
account as food, or treasures them as gems of beauty that gratify his
eye, and even win over the affections of his heart, while they lead him
to contemplate the variety and profuseness of that _life_ to which the
Almighty has given so many wondrous forms, and instincts, and economies,
every one of which proclaims--

  "The hand that made us is divine."



I shall in this Chapter only notice such particulars in the management
of aquaria as belong especially to the marine department, since some of
the directions given in the former division of the work apply to tanks
of all kinds, and need not be repeated. When preliminary difficulties
have been surmounted, the matter of first importance is the selection of
the stock, and its arrangement in accordance with just principles.

_Grouping._--In Chapters IV. and V. I have enumerated the kinds of
animals and plants most suitable for aquaria, and must now caution the
beginner against the injudicious grouping together of creatures of
dissimilar habits. Anemones may, as a rule, be kept together. The
several species agree well, and seldom or rarely injure each other; but
star-fishes and crabs are best kept in vessels apart from them.
Star-fishes are very destructive, and readily absorb the bodies of
mollusks out of their shells. If exception is to be taken to any
particular anemone, I think the grand _plumosa_ must suffer by it; for
this noble creature gives off a flocculent exudation, which seems
injurious to other kinds. I have generally kept the plumose anemone in
company with _A. mesembryanthemum_, _A. bellis_, _troglodytes_, and
others, without perceiving any bad result; but I have always been
careful to remove the slimy exuvia daily, by means of the dipping tube.
Respecting mollusks, and especially trochus and most bivalves, it
should be borne in mind that they are apt to die off rapidly, and to
cause a putrescence of a most obnoxious character, which soon spoils the
water, and causes a general havoc. Another remark applicable to mollusks
is this, that the _Eolids_--members of the _Nudibranch_, or naked
mollusks--are destructive of anemones, and delight in nibbling holes in
their coats, or eating off their tentacles; whereas the pretty doris may
be kept as long as it will live, in company with the most delicate
creatures, without offering offence to any. The more varied the
collection the more is our interest in its examination increased; and
the possessor of a single vessel, or of a tank, and a few auxiliary
jars, will be naturally anxious to preserve representatives of as many
tribes as possible; and this may be done, to a certain extent, by
appropriating the vessels to such creatures as agree amicably in
confinement. It is, indeed, possible, if a vigilant watchfulness be
observed, to bring together and preserve, for a length of time,
specimens of creatures that are naturally antagonistic to each other;
but where Crustaceans can be kept apart in one vessel, with perhaps a
few fish, such as gobies and blennies--a second appropriated to anemones
and madrepores--and a third to mollusks, madrepores, and
tubeworms--there will be the greater certainty of success, and less
supervision will be required. Crabs are very annoying to anemones, as
they scratch and sprawl over the delicate creatures; and shrimps,
prawns, and fishes frequently fall a prey to the barbed threads and the
tentacles of the anemones; the latter also frequently take possession of
the mouths of the cells of tube worms, and of the openings of the
shells of mollusks, and thus suffocate the inmates, and insure their own
death by the putrescence that ensues upon the demise of their victims.

_Sulphuretted hydrogen._--When the death of an animal occurs, the water
soon gets putrid; the stones assume a rich brown tint, the sides of the
vessel lose their brightness, and an effete odour indicates the cause of
the disturbance.

_Preservation of the Water._--To those who live near the sea it is an
easy matter to _change_ the water, as soon as it shows signs of
disorganization, but since the majority of those who will consult this
work will have to depend on Mr. Bolton's marine salts, it is necessary
that I should suggest in what way, and in the best manner, the water may
be preserved, not only to avoid the expense, but the trouble attending a
new supply. _Charcoal_ is the grand restorative, purifier, and
preserver; and for this department of aquarium management may be
regarded as the _ne plus ultra_.

In the second Chapter of this part of the work I have described the
process necessary in preparing artificial water by means of the filter.
Now, whatever happens, set the filter to work, it will revive exhausted
stock by æration, destroy sulphuretted hydrogen by the contact of the
water with the charcoal, and remove all fragments of decayed weed,
flocculent threads given off by anemones, and restore the whole to
strength and purity. I repeat what I have already said more than once,
that the necessity for _changing_ the water is a proof of injudicious
management; every new supply is a witness of the aquarian's lack of
skill, as Mr. Lloyd wisely says, "properly managed, the water and other
contents of an Aquarium may be kept unchanged for periods indefinitely
prolonged." For the sake of aquarian science, I do implore the student
to surmount any and every difficulty, rather than own the weakness
implied by changing the water.

_Aeration_ is frequently referred to in works on the Aquarium. It is at
variance with the self-sustaining theory, and there is something wrong
where it is wanted. If the tank is stocked before the plants are well
established, or if overstocked with a crowd of animal life, or if
sulphuretted hydrogen be produced and make its presence manifest to the
nose, _then_ æration may be necessary. A cup or jug may be used to dip
water from the surface, and pour it back again from a height in a thin
stream. Or a filter may be placed over the tank and filled from the
surface, and the water allowed to drip back. But the most efficient
instrument is a common syringe. This is simply to be charged at the
surface, and discharged again with some force, so as to send a stream of
oxygenised water deep into the tank. The process should be repeated for
a quarter of an hour at least.

_Filter._--A bee glass or a common flower-pot may soon be made into a
filter. Thrust a piece of sponge into the hole in the bottom, and upon
it lay a stratum of washed sand and powdered charcoal. Pass the water
through it, and it will be purified, and saturated with oxygen at one
and the same time. With the river-tank, the simplest way of reviving
exhausted stock is wholly or partially to change the water; with marine
stock, such a change is not easy, and the filter comes more legitimately
into use. As already remarked, the necessity for æration marks error in
management, except when you have stock for which no proper receptacle is
at hand, or any such _special_ contingency.

_Decay of Plants._--The sea-weeds are apt to acquire a pale tint, which
is the first evidence of decay. This generally happens with the _first_
marine stock, when Ulva and Enteromorpha are used to season artificial
water. When the water gets ripe, the plants recover and make healthy
growth, but if many white fronds appear, lift out the blocks on which
the plants are fixed, trim away the decayed portions with a pair of
scissors, and then scrub the stones with a small brush in a little waste
sea-water, and replace them; they will soon recover. If red plants have
been hurriedly introduced, and decay manifests itself, remove them at
once, and waste no time in attempts at revival. Mr. Lloyd will supply a
new stock for a trifle, and it is better to begin _de novo_ than to
attempt to cure the incurable.

_Death of Anemones._--If you observe any of the anemones to shrink up
like button-covers, lift them out into a shallow vessel, and aerate them
liberally. When small beads of gas appear upon them, you may rest
assured that they have gone beyond the--

  "Bourne from whence no traveller returns;"

for the first outward proof of death is the formation of bubbles of
sulphuretted hydrogen upon their bodies, and they should be removed
before this spreads and devastates the tank.

_Removal of Objects._--For the removal of portions of decayed weed, and
other small noxious bodies, from the bottom, a glass tube of 1/4 or 1/2
inch diameter, open at both ends, will be found very useful. Place a
thumb or finger on the top of the tube, and thrust it down over the
object to be removed, then remove the finger, and the matter will rise
in it. Lift the tube up to the surface of the water, then place the
finger on again, and lift the whole away. The advantage of this plan is,
that no disturbance is occasioned. A pewter spoon bent to a right angle,
and attached to a stick is very useful for lifting up objects that are
too large for the dipping tube.

[Illustration (Dipping Tube)]

_Density of the Water._--Evaporation causes the pure water to escape
from the Aquarium, and hence there is a constant tendency to increase of
density--in fact, if left alone, the water in the tank soon gets too
salt. To prevent this, additions of pure spring or distilled water must
be made from time to time, and the amount regulated by a specific
gravity bubble, which it would be as well to leave at all times floating
in the tank. This instrument registers the density much more accurately
than the hydrometer, for it is more delicate in its determination of a
balance. I find it expedient to use two bubbles of different specific
gravities--one which just floats when the water is sufficiently fluid,
and another which just sinks when it is sufficiently saline. The
movement of either indicates at once the exact cause, and enables the
aquarian to regulate the density to perfection.

_Green Stain._--I have never been troubled with confervoid growths in
tanks filled with artificial water, though the same water has been in
use during periods of from a few months to two years. When it occurs,
the mollusks are the natural remedy, the sponge the artificial one. But
a strange affection--which I think is most common in spring--is the
sudden occurrence of a green turbidity, which destroys the translucence,
and for which neither sponge nor winkle can afford a remedy. It is not
a growth on the side of the vessel, but a green stain pervading the
water, as if a green colouring matter had been dissolved in it. Mr.
Gosse says, "it is vegetable in its origin, and arises from an infinite
number of the spores (or seeds) of green _Algæ_ dispersed through the
fluid, and held in suspension there." Mr. Gosse further says, "I know of
no cure for this," but he quotes Mr. Lloyd's experience as demonstrative
of its curability by placing the water "in a dark closet for two or
three weeks."

From the experience I have had in this matter, I have no hesitation in
saying that the _filter_ will be found an instantaneous remedy; the
water need not be drawn off at all, but kept filtering through charcoal
by frequent filling of the filter from the surface. In May last, a tank
of mine became suddenly opaque, though otherwise in excellent order. The
collection was valuable, and a disturbance of it would have been
attended with risk. I suspended an old flower-pot half filled with fresh
charcoal and sea-side grit above it, and set the filter to work. As fast
as the filter ran out, I filled it again from the tank, without
disturbing anything, and a change for the better was perceptible in an
hour. Two days after, the water was as bright as ever, and the stock in
the finest possible condition, owing to the brisk æration they had
gained by the experiment.

_Feeding._--Anemones generally do not require feeding, though the Daisy
and the Dianthus will greedily partake of small fragments of oyster and
minced mutton, and some other kinds will occasionally eat of the same
food; but I cannot recommend the beginner to feed Anemones, for, in a
well managed tank, Infusoria are sufficiently abundant to provide them
with all they require, and food not eaten soon decays, unless speedily
removed. Crabs and prawns positively require feeding, and Madrepores
_may_ be fed for amusement. Small fragments of the lean of raw meat
should be given, or the flesh of a cooked prawn, and twenty-four hours
afterwards, the undigested morsels should be removed.

[Illustration (Syphon Tube)]

_The Syphon_ is a simple affair enough. In using it, place the short end
below the surface of the water in the tank, and apply the mouth to the
longer end, and draw till the water flows; it will then continue to flow
as long as the short end is kept under water. If you object to promote
aquarian science by means of suction, first fill the syphon with water,
and apply a finger to each end, and so turn it over, and withdraw the
fingers when the short end is dipped beneath the surface of the water in
the tank. Mr. Lloyd sells a syphon expressly for the purpose, which the
aquarian should possess.

_Purchase of Specimens._--There are now many dealers in Aquarian stock,
but very few of them supply _marine_ stock in any variety. I have my
readers' interest only at heart when I suggest, that no one should
attempt to set up an Aquarium without first paying a visit to the
establishment of Mr. W. Alford Lloyd, of No. 20, Portland Road, Regent's
Park, where choice may be made from a stock consisting of _thousands_ of
specimens, supplied, as, the oyster shops say, "fresh every day." Mr.
Lloyd was a labourer in the field years before the Aquarium became
popular, and his experience, attained by patient study, is now at the
service of all who need advice or assistance in _any_ department of the

I have no interest in this matter beyond doing justice to my reader, and
beg to add that Mr. Hall, of City Road, has supplied me with marine
stock of high character, and that I can recommend him as an honest and
intelligent naturalist, though, on marine matters he will not attempt to
compete with Mr. Lloyd, for the latter has now the name, the trade, and
the organization, and since he keeps everything, so he can supply
everything of the commonest or rarest kind, in the highest condition.

[Illustration (decorative swirl)]





_Distinctions between the Cabinet and the Aquarium._--The Aquarium has
not only spread abroad a love for Natural History, it has also increased
the facilities for the study of nature by removing the difficulties
which have hitherto attended the preservation, for any length of time,
of living specimens of aquatic life. The tank had scarcely taken its
place among the resources for pleasureable recreation, and scientific
study, when the field of culture extended itself, and every variety of
minute life found in the waters, came to have its share of attention for
the general profit and delight of the studious. The ordinary tank was
found insufficient for the wants of the aquarian, and wherever a large
vessel was to be seen stocked with fresh water fishes or marine objects,
a collection of small jars, phials, or show glasses, was pretty sure to
be found also. In an aquarium, we may group together many dissimilar
objects; but it must be evident to the most superficial observer, that
when immersed in a large body of water with other creatures, many
objects are ill-placed for examination, especially if we use the
microscope. Hence, where the study is pursued with any degree of ardour,
some special arrangements are necessary to enable us to keep in a
healthy state, and in a way that admits of close scrutiny at any moment,
such of the smaller aquatic objects as most commend themselves for
beauty or scientific interest. Many beginners, unable to resist the
temptation of a jar of beetles, or a collection of larva, and having no
other means of keeping them, have placed them in the tank to mingle with
the stock of finny creatures, and have thereby either lost the better
part of the collection or have been compelled to break up the stock and
begin anew. I have already suggested that a few species of water
beetles, and aquatic larva, may be safely preserved in an aquarium; but
an aquarium is by no means the best place for them, if we wish to study
their habits closely, or investigate their mechanism and economy by the
aid of lenses: all insects, many mollusks, larva, and other small
objects should be kept apart, and a collection of such objects is what
we mean by a Water Cabinet.

To the genuine student, there is really more for remunerative study in
such a collection than can be found in the Aquarium, though the tank,
whether river or marine, will always prove most attractive as an
ornament, and because it requires less care and study, will be pretty
sure to retain the greatest number of admirers. But the Aquarium and the
Cabinet are distinct things; they cannot be combined in the same vessel,
and, though a Water Cabinet is but another form, or rather a series of
separate and smaller aquaria, the uses and economies of each are in a
great measure distinct. It is possible to cultivate either without the
other, though we should generally expect to find them in company, the
Cabinet being a growth or extension of the Aquarium.

_Construction of a Cabinet._--Ingenuity, under the control of
circumstances, will devise many modes of preserving the smaller
specimens of aquatic life, and I shall here describe a plan which I
think will be found most generally useful, particularly as it may have a
very simple form, and be produced for a very trifling outlay; or may be
elaborated into a noble piece of furniture for the adornment of an
elegantly furnished room.

The frontispiece represents a series of shelves fitted into a carved
framework, the lower portion of which forms a table with drawers. My own
cabinet, which is a simple affair of stained deal, is made after the
model of the one here represented, but without ornament of any kind; and
if I describe its measurements, it may serve as a guide to any who may
desire to have one constructed of a similar pattern, though, as a matter
of course, the plan admits of endless modifications to suit the means of
the student, or the position in which such a cabinet is to be placed.

The table measures nineteen inches from back to front across the centre
drawer; and from back to front across the two side drawers, twelve
inches. On this is placed a row of seven-inch cylindrical glasses of
clear flint glass, and in the centre, behind the jars, stands a
twelve-inch bell glass aquarium, to be stocked with choice fishes or
superfluous cabinet specimens. The first shelf has a breadth of eight
inches to receive a row of six inch glasses; the second shelf a breadth
of five inches, and the jars upon it measure four inches in diameter.
The top shelf is only three-and-a-half inches wide, and the glasses on
it measure three inches across the top, and, two-and-a-half at the base;
the jars of this size, in my own collection, are of a tapering form,
half an inch narrower at the bottom than at the top, though I am not
aware whether such is the usual form of the small vessels. The entire
framework has a breadth of about thirty-two inches, and a height, from
the floor of the room to the level of the top shelf, of about sixty-six

The breadth and height of the window, in which the cabinet is to be
placed, must have the first consideration, with any one who may intend
to construct such a piece of furniture; the respective sizes of the
vessels must be an after consideration, because, unless the whole be so
adapted, as that it shall enjoy a full share of uninterrupted daylight,
very little progress can be effected, especially if the growth of the
more delicate forms of aquatic vegetation be attempted.

In the absence of a properly constructed set of shelves, a few plain
ones may be fitted up in a window. A single strip of deal, on brackets,
would afford room for a dozen jars, and in these by judicious grouping,
specimens of from fifty to a hundred kinds could be kept, whether for
observation by the naked eye, or the microscope.

_Glasses._--In common with many aquarians I used phials and
confectioners' show-glasses for a considerable length of time; but to
preserve the uniformity of the collection, I should recommend
cylindrical glasses of flint glass of the form represented in the
engraving. Chancing to unearth a number of such glasses, at the
warehouse of the Messrs. Phillips, of Bishopsgate Street, I have since
abolished the _olla podrida_ of acid bottles and phials, with which I
had previously been content, and now use no other kinds, and I think
their strength and clearness of colour must commend them to the student,
as the best that can be had for the purpose. The cost of them is a
shilling a pound, though common show-glasses may be had at ninepence a
pound. If there is much dust in the room where the cabinet stands, a
strip of green gauze might be stretched on light cane frames over each
row of glasses.

The jars are intended for the reception of separate or grouped species,
and the bell glass may be an ordinary aquarium or a receptacle for the
_omnium gatherum_ of general collecting. My jars are now (July, 1856,)
stocked with minute aquatic plants, beetles of several species, diving
spiders, water worms, and mites, larva of beetles and flies, tadpoles in
progress of transformation, mollusks of choice kinds, and spawn of all
kinds, removed from the tanks. The bell glass contains a miscellaneous
assemblage of duplicates of all kinds, such as water weeds for renewal
of tanks, tadpoles, leeches, whirlwigs, mollusks, crustacea, and
infusoria for the microscope. Species that do not agree, may be
introduced to the bell glass for the sake of teaching us the nature and
incidents of the strife maintained in the great world out of doors; the
battle may there have its way, and we may study destruction with as
much profit as we may the momentary creation by which the system of
nature is maintained in its completeness. In fact, the bell glass is a
reservoir into which we may dip for almost anything we want to fill up
vacancies in the jars, and in the proper tanks, and to which we may
consign the superfluities of a day's collecting; having first assorted,
and set apart such as are wanted for separate observation and study.



_Implements for Collecting._--Most of the ordinary productions of ponds
and brooks may be purchased of the dealers, especially beetles, larger
kinds of larvæ, water spiders, and tadpoles; but very little progress
can be made in the study of this branch of natural history, without
personal visits to the fishing grounds.

An hour spent in dragging a brook or pond, will do more towards stocking
a cabinet with wonders than a hundred purchases. To the pleasure of an
excursion is added the intellectual profit of learning the nature of the
haunts, and many of the habits of the creatures obtained; every haul of
the net will bring forth from the oozy bottom, an immense variety of the
most curious kinds of life.

[Illustration (Hand Net)]

_Nets_, for the purpose, are easily obtainable. At least, two kinds will
be necessary, namely, a small hand net attached to a short rod, or made
to slip on a common walking stick, and a larger one for a long rod, or
for hauling with a line. The small net should be of a fine mesh, and for
convenience of carriage, may be fitted on a jointed ring of brass, so as
to fold together. The large net need not be very fine in the mesh, but
it should be very strong, both in the texture and the fittings, and
should be lined inside with muslin so as to prevent the escape of the
smallest game. Every variety of pond and drag-nets may be obtained of
the dealers in fishing-tackle, at prices varying from one to five or six
shillings, and of a quality that may be depended on for serviceableness.
Some water-cord, a jointed rod or walking stick, and a few earthen jars,
or live bait cans, make up the stock of implements, the whole of which,
with the exception of rods, may be packed into a basket in which
suitable divisions are made, and transported easily. Living in the
neighbourhood of many prolific brooks and ponds, I have very little
experience in the carriage of specimens, and, indeed, seldom use more
than a single jar, and a single net at one time; but I should suggest to
those who have to travel a distance for the pleasure of beetle fishing,
to provide themselves with a basket or box, made after the fashion of
the baskets in which bottles are sent out by vintners, the divisions
being fitted with stone jars; and one division left the whole length of
the basket, for nets, scissors, a pair of forceps, and a few small
phials. Each vessel should have a lid of perforated zinc, to prevent
the escape of objects during transit; the jolting of a railway train or
coach might otherwise waste the contents. The stone jars used for the
purpose, should have a cord attached round the rim of each for
convenient handling at the brook side.

_Pond fishing._--Every variety of stream or stagnant pond may be fished
to advantage; but the specimens obtained from clear running brooks will,
in general, differ greatly in character from those which the drag net
brings from a dark still pool. Ponds which have formed in gravel pits,
are generally well stocked with newts, mollusks, and tadpoles; but for
the varieties of the beetle family, old ponds in meadows, and which are
the resorts of cattle, are the best; ditches and rank brooks are the
usual haunts of caddis worms, diving spiders, polypes, and the more
beautiful varieties of water bugs; but every locality has its special
attractions only to be learnt by experience.

Supposing that you have made a halt beside a pleasantly shaded brook,
with hedge sparrows, robins, and black-caps warbling about you. You
prepare by selecting a suitable spot free from brushwood, and where the
edge of the water may be reached without danger. The first thing to be
done is, to fill a few jars with clear water, and to throw into each a
few strips of any common water-weed, of which callitriche is always the
best, and most generally attainable. If the water is very foul it will
be better to travel a little distance for a supply, because the
specimens are wanted as cleanly as possible, and if thrown into clean
water when caught, their own motions will tend to cleanse them, and fit
them for the glass jars at home. The shore should be fished first, and
the operation should be conducted with as much quiet as possible; any
disturbance will be sure to drive away many of the livelier creatures.
Take a small net attached to a walking stick or short rod, and thrust it
out from you as far as possible over the water; then quickly dip and
draw it towards you, and land it at your feet at some little distance
from the edge of the water. Sort out the contents of the haul into
separate jars, though, as you cannot have as many jars as the kinds
which the net will bring up, a little judicious grouping will be
necessary. Spawn of all kinds may be placed together in the same jar
with mollusks, tadpoles, caddis worms, and colymbetes; most beetles must
be kept by themselves, on account of their voracity, as must also the
several kinds of carnivorous larvæ, such as those of the _Dytiscus_, and
the dragon fly, and water worms of the genus _Nais_.

When the sides have been well fished, the deeper water may be operated
on by means of the drag-net, and the produce disposed of in the same

On arriving home, sort over the jars _seriatim_, and dispose of the
specimens according to the capacity and arrangement of your cabinet. The
glass jars should be each furnished with a few tufts of some growing
weeds, and with clear water. Some of the specimens will require to be
washed to remove offensive matter, and some few will need a bottom of
small pebbles, and a jar nearly filled with healthy vegetation.
_Anacharis_, _Myriophyllum_, _Nitella_, _Chara_, _Riccia_, and choice
_Confervoids_, are the best for the cabinet, on account of the limited
space in which they must be kept, and the elegance they impart to the
collection. In the larger jars it would be well to keep some tufts of
vallisneria in order to propagate it to supply vacancies in the tanks.
When the stock has been housed in the cabinet, whatever is left may be
transferred to the bell glass for further examination. It would be
better not to wash or disturb the refuse weed and sediment of the
collecting jars, but to throw the whole into the vase. After a few hours
it will settle down, and a lens will assist in the detection of whatever
curiosities may swarm out of the refuse weed. Objects for the compound
microscope may in this way be obtained and preserved in plenty.



I have already indicated some of the varieties best suited for the
cabinet, but will here briefly enumerate those which form the leading
features of attraction, leaving the development of the collection to the
perseverance of the student. The great division of _Coleoptera_ will
furnish by far the largest number of showy species, all of them
interesting and lively creatures, many of them possessed of great
beauty. The ravenous _Dytiscus marginalis_ and _dimidiatus_, with their
strong hooked claws, and brightly bronzed elytra; and the pretty,
docile, and harmless _Colymbetes_, with its shining silver breast-plate,
and jet black limbs and elytra, must take the first place among the
beetles for beauty of form and colour. The large, harmless _Hydrous
piceus_, the lively _Notanecta_, _Gyrinus_, and _Nepa_, are essential to
the collection.

Among the larva, those of the Caddis fly should be kept in abundance, on
account of the amusement afforded by their strange habits and their
remarkable metamorphosis. Larva of the Dytiscus, known as the Water
Tiger, of the Dragon fly, the gnat, the May fly, and of the two-winged
fly, _Stratiomys Chamæleon_, the pretty blood-worm, which is the larva
of the _Chironomus plumosus_, a very pretty gnat, with feathered
antennæ; and the telescope-tailed grubs of _Helophilus pendulus_, which,
in its larva form, is one of the most curious examples in the cabinet,
and, in its imago, is frequently mistaken for the honey-bee.

The drag-net will also bring out many curious water-mites, than which
there can be no more interesting subjects for the microscope, or
prettier objects for ordinary observation. While writing this, I have
before me several specimens of the beautiful mites, _Hydrachna
geographica_ and _abstergens_ (Müller), in a jar of _Nitella_; they are
ever in action, treading the water as if it were air, with a kind of
motion that cannot be termed swimming, but rather a walking or dancing,
maintained with the greatest ease at any level, or at the bottom of the
vessel. Another, and much more showy one, is the bright carmine-coloured
mite _Limnochares holosericea_ (Latreille), of which I find an abundance
in a neighbouring brook. Its pretty, spidery motions, and vivid
colouring, render a jar, containing a dozen specimens, very attractive
to the eye of a student of nature.


The Diving Spiders are amusing, and should be kept in plenty in large
jars, well stocked with healthy weed; and the curious Raft Spider may
also be preserved in a shallow vessel, closely covered with gauze.
Aquatic Spiders are most abundant in clear brooks and ditches near
rivers; the small tributaries of the Lea, and the dykes that abound in
the marshes at Tottenham, supply me with specimens whenever I seek them.

Among the water-worms most easily obtained, the hair-like _Gordius
aquaticus_ (Linnæus), and the curiously-formed _Nais_, may be
recommended as curious and interesting. The latter requires a bottom of
sand in which to burrow, and should be covered with only a few inches of
water. When it takes to its new home, it plunges its body into the sand
or mud, and extends its telescope-tail upwards to the surface for air,
adapting its length to the depth of the water.

The generation and development of reptilia and mollusca may be better
studied by the use of jars for the specimens, than by their immersion in
the aquarium. Tadpoles, the larva of newts, and the spawn of mollusks,
may be preserved in the cabinet for purposes of study, much better than
in the tank; each species being separate in a bright and portable
vessel, every minute change can be observed, and a lens applied at any
time, or the specimens removed for close inspection without difficulty.
I find it a good practice to remove any spawn, which may be deposited on
the large vessels, to the small jars on my shelves. There the little
_Lymnea_ and _Planorbis_ are developed in hundreds, without molestation;
and if increase of Paludina vivipara be required, a jar is at once
converted into a breeding tank by throwing a couple into it, with a
bunch of _Callitriche_, and any vegetable waste from the tanks. In the
aquarium, the young mollusks are devoured almost as soon as they are
born; and the pleasing spectacle of their increase, coming forth from
the gelatinous mass in hundreds, like minute beads of gold, is lost
without the aid of the cabinet in which to rear them. The young of most
species of univalve mollusks are vagrant in their habits, and the jars
in which spawn is hatched should be closely covered with perforated card
or gauze, fitting closely by means of India rubber rings.

Since it is unnecessary in this work to give a classified history of the
several creatures that may be kept in water-cabinets, I shall devote the
remainder of the space at my command to notices of a few of the most
attractive and best known species, and to a few hints on the general
management of the cabinet.



The great class of insects comprises many remarkable and diverse forms,
among the 560,000 species which Dr. Imhoff estimates to be now known to
naturalists. Yet, various as they are, it is by no means impossible to
define what are the distinctive features by which this class is
separated from those which approach it in conformation and habits. A
true insect has the body divided into three parts--the head, the thorax,
and the abdomen. It has never more than six legs, and these are attached
to the thorax. The segments of the body seldom exceed thirteen in
number, one of which forms the head, three the thorax, and the remaining
nine the abdomen. The possession of one or two pairs of wings gives
them their prominent characteristic to the eye, but it is the successive
metamorphoses that arrests universal attention, and calls forth the
admiration and wonder of mankind. In the progress of an insect from the
minute egg to its completed form, we see the most remarkable series of
developments which animal life ever displays in all its endless
procession of forms--the egg, the worm, the chrysalis, the fly--a
strange unfolding, for the first time accurately observed by Swammerdam,
who detected, under the wrinkled skin of the disgusting worm, the
complete outline of the lovely butterfly.

This metempsychosis may be studied in its several strange details by the
aid of the Water-Cabinet. The first condition of the newly-hatched egg
is that known as the grub, or caterpillar--scientifically called the
_larva_. The larva generally bears no earthly resemblance to the
_imago_, or perfect insect, into which it is to be hereafter developed,
but leads a life of sensual enjoyment--it eats, eats! it is gluttony
concentrated in type and act. It changes its skin several times, slips
one coat off and acquires a new; growing, and eating, and changing
garments, till, like man himself, it seeks a temporary tomb, from which
it is to soar to the skies like a soul liberated. This second form is
popularly known as the chrysalis, or aurelia, scientifically called the
_pupa_. In this form the insect remains in a state of complete or
partial torpidity for a few days, weeks, or months, according to the
particular species.

The day of its deliverance arrives, its bonds burst, and it comes forth
"a thing of beauty" to sport in sunbeams, and, for but a brief season,
lead a life of joy--

  "Fluttering round the jasmine stems,
   Like winged flowers or flying gems."

But beauty of the high poetic kind is not the inheritance of every
member of the class insecta; and the water-cabinet presents us with many
that have but analogical resemblances to the typical structure of the
moth or the fly, though the naturalist finds beauty in a beetle, and
points of profound interest in a maggot or grub.

Since larva are distributed through at least three elements, being,
according to the species, inhabitants of earth, air, and water, the
breathing apparatus arrests our attention, as constituting a distinct
feature in the anatomy of the insect. A caterpillar may be regarded as
all stomach, and the cravings of this immense digesting tube easily
account for the voracity of larva of all kinds. In the larger animals,
the food is elaborated into blood, and brought to the lungs to be
oxygenated by means of contact with the air, but the insect does not
breathe at the mouth, but at the other end, or by means of tubes
arranged along the sides of the body. In a caterpillar there are usually
eighteen of these tubes, the orifices of which may be seen in action.
These tubes all run into two larger lateral tubes, or wind-pipes,
arranged one on each side of the body; and from these lateral tubes
innumerable smaller ones diverge, and convey air to the vessels in which
the digested food is contained, and thus supply it with oxygen.
Swammerdam was the first who successfully anatomised this class of
animals, and to him we are indebted for the microscopic anatomy of
grubs, and a revelation of their inner economy generally.

The Dragon Fly, _Libellulidæ_ (Leach), a well-known summer beauty--the
mere mention of which is always sufficient to set one's heart beating
for rustic coolness, and the hushed music of the beechen shades--is, in
its larva form, an interesting object for the cabinet. Between the larva
and the imago of this insect, the difference is striking indeed; as a
lady, not addicted to scientific studies, once characterised the
larva--using Pope's lines--as,

  "A monster of such hideous mien,
   That to be hated needs but to be seen."

But the gauze-winged and gaily-coloured fly merits all the praise
bestowed upon it by the French, who call them _Demoiselles_, so light,
fairy-like, and visionary are its form and movements. Scientific writers
have applied many descriptive names to it, such as _Calepteryx_ (pretty
wing), _Puella_ (girl), _Sponsa_ (bride), and _Virgo_ (virgin). The
larva of the dragon fly exhibits, in a very striking manner, the mode of
respiration in aquatic insects. It is not an active creature; for though
it has six legs, it seldom uses these except in the capture of prey; its
locomotion is chiefly performed by the tail in the action of breathing.
When thrown into a jar with some fragments of weed and a few light
chips, these will be seen to be drawn towards the tail of the creature,
by the current occasioned by the absorption of water; and then again
driven off, with considerable force, as the water is again ejected. The
quantity drawn into the body by this hydrostatic action must be
considerable, since the dimensions of the larva regularly change with
the breathing action, the body becoming collapsed when the stream is
ejected, and again swelled out with the suction that follows. If it be
thrown into water, tinged with cochineal, and then quickly removed again
into clear water, the coloured stream will be seen to be projected
several inches, and with force sufficient to propel the creature forward
by a series of successive jerks.

Besides the act of breathing, then, this anal pump has locomotive uses;
and it also aids the creature in obtaining food by drawing minute
creatures towards it in a manner similar to those animals which are
furnished with cilia.

But the microscope reveals a still more curious fact, in the anatomy of
this larva, which has been most faithfully described by Kirby and
Spence. The under lip, when closed, entirely conceals the mouth, and it
not only retains, but actually seizes, the animal's prey, by means of a
very singular pair of jaws with which it is furnished. Conceive your
under lip (to have recourse, like Reaumur, on another occasion, to such
a comparison) to be horny instead of fleshy, and to be elongated
perpendicularly downward, so as to wrap over your chin, and extend to
its bottom---that this elongation is there expanded into a triangular
convex plate, attached to it by a joint, so as to bend upwards again and
fold over the face as high as the nose, concealing not only the chin and
the first mentioned elongations, but the mouth and part of the cheeks.
Conceive, moreover, that to the end of this last-mentioned plate are
fixed two other convex ones, so broad as to cover the whole nose and
temples--that these can open at pleasure, transversely, like a pair of
jaws, so as to expose the nose and mouth, and that their inner edges,
where they meet, are cut into numerous sharp teeth, or spines, or armed
with one or more long sharp claws--you will have as accurate an idea, as
my powers of description can give, of the strange formation of the under
lip in the larva of _Libellulina_, which conceals the mouth and face,
precisely as I have supposed a similar construction of lip would do
yours. You will probably admit that your own visage would present an
appearance not very engaging, while concealed by such a mask; but it
would strike still more awe into the spectators, were they to see you
first open the two upper jaw plates, which would project from the
temples like the blinders of a horse; and next, having, by means of the
joint of your chin, let down the whole apparatus and uncovered your
face, employ them in seizing any food that presented itself, and
conveying it to your mouth. Yet this procedure is that adopted by the
larvæ of the dragon-fly, provided with this strange organ. While it is
at rest, it applies close to and covers the face. When the insects would
make use of it, they unfold it like an arm, catch the prey at which they
aim, by means of the mandibuliform plates, and then partly refold it, so
as to hold the prey to the mouth, in a convenient position for the
operation of the two pairs of jaws with which they are provided. The
form of this masked jaw is represented, but not very clearly, in
Rennies' "Insect Transformations," p. 164.


1. The Fly just emerging. 2. The Fly nearly free, and forming an arch.
3. The Fly liberated, and with its body bent, to hasten the drying of
the wings.]

When its season of larva life is over, it retires to the bottom of the
vessel to repose, and becomes a pupa. When the crumpled form of the
gaudy fly begins to expand within, and to knock at the door of its
sepulchre, the pupa quits the watery element for ever, and betakes
itself to the dry land, or to the slip of cork placed in the jar for its
use. There, the apparently painful process of its unfolding takes place,
and the fly slowly emerges. The envelope bursts asunder, and the head of
the lovely, but bloodthirsty damsel, emerges to the light. Next appear
the legs, not in action, but gathered up to the breast, as if in spasm,
and, for a time, the effort is suspended, and the helpless, half-formed
beauty hangs back her head, as if languid with the exhaustion of pain.
Once more she pants for freedom, sighing to sun herself in the blue
ether, and another struggle is made. This time she clutches at the pupa
case with a convulsive grasp, and drags forth the whole of her delicate
body from the grave, and there remains motionless, still clinging to it,
as if contemplating the baseness of her origin--for beauty is ever the
offspring of the dust. She is free at last--but, ah! how helpless. Her
wings are damp, and closely folded, and would not yield to the wish for
flight, even were she already possessed of the power to stir them into
action. She is on the threshold of a new world--a creature born of the
dust, just escaped from the dust; and now as we watch her wings dry and
expand, away she goes--a thing of light and loveliness soaring
heavenward. Like the mortal ark, out of which the spirit of man escapes,
we may, without losing sight of the disparity of the subjects, speak of
the chrysalis of the dragon fly as--

  "A worn-out fetter, which the soul
   Has broken, and thrown away."

[Illustration: DRAGON FLIES.

  _a._ Virgin Dragon Fly--_Calepteryx Virgo_.
  _b._ Green Dragon Fly--_Æshna varia_.]

THE GNAT--_Culex pipiens_ (LINNÆUS)

In the operation of dragging, many curious larva are brought out, and
the mud should be searched carefully for them before washing the net for
another cast. The larva of the gnat is one of the most interesting of
these, and during summer may be obtained in hundreds if a little of the
brook water be dipped to fill the jar with, and a few light weeds thrown
in to supply oxygen. These larva are the produce of eggs deposited in a
curious manner.

The gnats repair to the water soon after day-break, and commence an
operation of a truly naval kind, such as would have delighted the savage
heart of Peter the Great, could he have witnessed it in the midst of his
dreams of achieving naval power. In fact, the mother gnats construct
rafts of eggs, and each egg is added as a separate timber of the vessel,
till a boat-like structure is produced. The skill as well as the
necessity of the construction is well tested by the fact that each
separate egg would of itself sink to the bottom, whereas being protruded
one by one into the angle formed by the hind legs which serve as stocks
for the future vessel, and successively glued to each other by the fluid
which exudes with them, they gradually assume, under her guidance, a
neat boat-like form of about three hundred minute pyramidal eggs.

"The most violent agitation," says Kirby, "cannot sink it, and what is
more extraordinary, and a property still a disideratum in our
life-boats, though hollow it never becomes filled with water, even
though exposed."

The grubs at last come forth, and lead a very merry sort of life under
the shadow of the sedges. Placed in the jars they appear at first sight
like newly hatched fry of fishes, but we soon detect the segments of
their pellucid bodies, and, as might be expected in water larva, they
breathe at the wrong end, and hence most of their merry movements are
performed between the surface and the bottom; every time they descend
they carry with them a minute bubble from the surface. Under a good lens
the pretty creature changes its form considerably, and comes out in the
pantomime style, with huge horns, goggle eyes, and starched frills of
shaggy hair; but then the tail becomes the object of attraction, and we
watch the breathing action of the curious funnel which breaks away at an
angle from the last segment of the body.


Swammerdam first observed that the breathing tube and tail are both
anointed with oil, and that if the larva is handled roughly the oil is
removed, and the grub "can no longer suspend itself on the surface of
the water. I have, on these occasions, observed it put its tail in its
mouth, and afterwards draw it back, as a water fowl will draw its
feathers through its bill to prepare them for resisting water." I have
now (July, 1856) some thousands of the larva of this and other species
of gnats, and they are the most lively creatures in my collection. The
flies come off in large numbers, and escape through the open window; or,
if the window be closed, they swarm on the glass, and keep up a musical
humming, closely resembling that of a swarm of bees at a distance.

[Illustration: LARVA OF STRATIOMYS.]

A more elegant example of this kind of breathing apparatus is seen in
the grub of the two-winged fly, _Stratiomys Chamæleon_. The funnel tail
spreads into a beautiful star of thirty distinct rays, and with this
structure, the creature suspends itself to the surface of the water, as
if it were a ceiling, and as it moves to and fro its changes of position
may be noted by the shifting of the dimple on the surface.

In the little gnat, _Corethra plumicornis_ (Meigen) we have some further
examples of the peculiar conformation of the larva, to enable it to
respire in the water; but the larva is so transparent that it requires
an expert microscopist, and an effective instrument to work out the
details as represented by Reaumur and Dr. Goring. The larva of this
species is plentiful in our brooks, and worthy of close scrutiny by the
aid of the microscope. Just now the gnats are abundant in meadows near
streams, and to them we are indebted for that soft humming which has
been appropriately termed the "music of the wild," and on which good old
Gilbert White exhausted his ingenuity to find an explanation. The social
communities of these ephemeral creatures are strictly music parties, and
whenever we suffer them to assemble about our heads, when rambling in
the hedgerows, we are entertained by their fairy-like performances.
_Expertum est._

The Case Fly _Phryganea grandis_.--There are several species in the
family of _Phryganea_, which is the only tribe in the order
_Trichoptera_, but such strong resemblances exist between the several
members of the family that some entomological experience is necessary to
enable the student to distinguish them. In an aquarium, the caddis worms
are very amusing, and since they thrive there, they are very suitable
additions to the happy family. We see them busy at the bottom, adding
fragments of weed, pebbles, minute shells, even if the snails within
them are alive, and any small debris that their fingers can seize hold
of. Last season I had amongst a large number of cads, one that had his
case nearly destroyed by accidentally falling from the table. I removed
from him what remained of his case, and threw him into a jar with a
soldier plant and a few _Lymnea_. He set to work to repair his
tabernacle, and the _Lymnea_ helped him, for they nibbled a plant of
_Stratoides_ into shreds. These shreds the cad gathered, and every day
he added a fresh piece, so that, in about ten days, he appeared in a
suit of green, his clothes bulged out to an enormous size, and
everywhere studded with points and corners, the most comical sight that
could be imagined. Since he could find nothing of a small neat pattern,
he took what he could, and became a perfect Jack in the green, nearly an
inch and a half in length, and thicker than a carpenter's lead pencil.


The movements of these creatures are as comical as their specimens of
tailoring. We see them mounting a stem or leaf with great gravity, when
suddenly up goes the tail, the legs hold tight, and the case turns
completely over, as if on the first of May, Jack-in-the-green were to
dance on his head. When the creature is hidden, and the case sways to
and fro like a buoy attached by too short a rope, the sight is very
curious. This case-maker is the larva from a fly which bears
resemblances to the two families which stand on either side of it--the
_Lepidoptera_, or true butterflies, and the _Neuroptera_, of which the
dragon flies and other membranaceous winged insects are members. As soon
as he enters the world, he begins to show his skill in tailoring, and by
means of silken threads and gluten constructs his case of bits of stick,
straw, dead leaves, or shells, in fact, whatever he can get, and as long
as he retains the worm-like form the case is his castle, and he can defy
the world. The case outside is generally a rough affair, but if you draw
out the cad you will see that inside it is perfectly cylindrical,
smooth, and polished, and around the doorway, through which the larva
makes acquaintance with the world, it is neatly finished with a very
circular rim. When you have removed a cad, if you throw him into a tank
you will learn in an instant what is the use of his case, for his soft
nakedness is no sooner exposed, than the minnows finish him, and find
the flavour excellent. But to see a cad in his proper uniform molested
is a very rare sight indeed. He passes his larva life innocently, and is
an amusing fellow; when he feels the numbness of death creeping over
him, the cad draws in his six legs, and sets to work inside to weave a
winding-sheet and to shut the shutters, for he knows that his time is
come, and there is no one to do such melancholy offices for him. All
alone in his solitary cell, the hermit works day and night, and hourly
his fingers grow more feeble. We look and find the shutters closed, and
by this time the larva has changed into a pupa.


The mode in which the worm closes its cell is curious enough. Over its
entrance it weaves a grating of silk, which hardens in water and remains
insoluble. It may be seen very plainly by the naked eye, but under a
good lens increases in interest. The grating is placed a little inside
the margin of the opening, and fits exactly within it, and its object is
to protect the pupa from invasion, and at the same time, to admit water
for respiration. De Geer describes one of these gratings in which the
pierced holes were disposed in concentric circles, as represented in the
engraving. This, however, is not, as far as I am aware, the usual form
of the grating, many that I have examined were formed in regular rays
from a centre like the spokes of a wheel.

But the escape of the pupa, when about to undergo its last
metamorphosis, is as interesting as the fact of its closing the shutters
to announce its own death. It is provided with a pair of hooked
mandibles, with which to gnaw through the grating, and no sooner have
these accomplished their purpose than they fall off, and the pupa takes
its last shape of a four winged fly, as represented in the cut.



The beetle tribe are distinguished from other insects by the possession
of _elytra_, or wing-cases; which wing-cases are, with regard to the
typical structure of an insect, to be regarded as really the first pair
of wings hardened into a horn-like consistence to protect the others.
The wing-cases are of little or no use in flight, this action being
accomplished by means of the second pair, or the true wings, which are
generally of large size, and when not in use are neatly folded up
beneath the elytra. The division of the body into three parts--head,
thorax, and abdomen--is very plain to the eye; but the segments, of
which the several parts are composed, are frequently so consolidated
that it is difficult to detect or count them. For instance, the thorax,
theoretically, consists of three segments; but, practically, the first
of these is usually so largely developed as to appear to constitute the
thorax in itself. The (theoretical) nine segments of the abdomen are, in
like manner, reduced to six or seven, in consequence of the last two or
three being consolidated into one.

The order is an immense one, as to its range and variety, and hence
there are in it many curious exceptions to the general conformation of a
beetle. Some are utterly incapable of flight, owing to the
non-possession of elytra, or wings; some have elytra only; and in some
the elytra meet and unite along the suture; so that, if the insect had
wings underneath, it would be impossible for it to use them.

The specimens of coleoptera, kept in the water-cabinet, are among the
most interesting of the whole collection, whether in the larva or imago
form; and to this order we are indebted for a large number of aquatic
species, that may be kept in jars, and some few that may be introduced
without danger to the tank.

Dytiscus Marginalis is one of the handsomest of water-beetles, and its
habits are amusing and instructive. It possesses an insatiable appetite,
and great muscular power, as we soon discover when removing it from one
jar to another, for if it succeeds in planting its claws firmly on the
edge of the vessel, it is difficult to move it. It belongs to the large
tribe of _aquatic carnivora_, ranged in the section _Pentamera_, in
which the tarsi of all the feet are five-jointed, the fourth being of
ordinary size.


The _Dytiscus_ is a true water-beetle, being aquatic in both its larva
and perfect forms. The larva, known as the water-tiger, is found in
plenty in the muddy ditches round London, and is a strong, stubborn,
ugly, and ravenous worm, with a tail formed for respiration, and curved
mandibles to tear its prey to pieces. It is very active, and may be kept
without difficulty; but nothing else should be placed in the same jar,
unless intended as food for this savage. A small fish thrown is eagerly
clutched, and held firm by the claws; and the larva then plunges its
mandibles into it, and is soon buried head-deep in the mangled body of
its prey. I have generally fed them on beef, but they prefer small fish,
or larva of the dragon-fly, and do not go through their metamorphosis
well without such food.

The imago is a handsome creature, with strong hooked claws, furnished
with amber hairs, which, under a lens, resemble very closely the claws
of a crab. The elytra are beautifully tinted with rich green and bronze,
and the divisions of the head and thorax separated from the abdomen by
sharp, whitish lines. Small fishes make the best diet for this beetle;
but as this food fouls the water, it is best to keep them in clear jars,
with a few pebbles and weeds, and once a week remove them to another
vessel, to be fed. This plan preserves the brightness of the beetle jar,
and prevents the annoyance of effluvia.

Hydrous Piceus.--This is the largest of our native aquatic beetles, and,
with the exception of the stag-beetle, it exceeds in bulk any other
species of indigenous Coleoptera. It is common in the brooks and ponds
in southern counties, but becomes rare as we travel northwards. In the
larva state this is a rapacious and bloodthirsty insect, and of so
destructive a character as to deserve its French name of _ver-assassin_.
In that early condition it resembles a large soft worm, of a somewhat
conical form, provided with six feet, and having its large scaly head
armed with two formidable jaws. The head moves with such freedom in all
directions, that it can readily seize small shell-fish and other
mollusca floating on the surface, without altering the horizontal
position of the body maintained in swimming; and it is even bent
backwards, and devours its prey more conveniently by using the back as a
kind of support. These larvæ swim with facility, and have two fleshy
appendages at the tail, by means of which they suspend themselves at the
surface with their heads downwards, when they have occasion to respire
(_Cuvier_). The beetle differs greatly in habit from the grub; it is by
no means carnivorous, but quite harmless, docile, playful, and tameable.
It is a noble creature for the cabinet, and may even be kept in the
Aquarium safely. In its complete form it is as interesting for its
gentleness as it is in the larva state for its rapacity and
destructiveness. The female spins an elegant and waterproof cocoon for
the reception of its eggs, and when they are deposited she watches them
with a maternal solicitude not frequently exhibited by creatures of this

[Illustration: HYDROUS PICEUS.]

The hydrous piceus is here represented of the natural size; the ground
colour is black, with a shade of bronze, and the margins of the elytra
are tinged with green and purple. Each wing case is marked with dotted
lines, the breast is dingy yellow, and the antennæ and organs of the
mouth dull red. The legs are black, and the hairs which fringe the tarsi
reddish brown.

[Illustration: COLYMBETES.]

Colymbetes, of several species, may be obtained in plenty from clear
brooks in every part of the country. These are elegantly-formed and
lively beetles; their elytra, legs, thorax, head, and breast of the same
jet-black hue, and highly burnished, though, when immersed, the breast
and abdomen glisten with an intensely metallic silvery lustre, owing to
the film of atmospheric air which the beetle obtains from the surface,
and which adheres to the hairy covering of the abdomen. This silvery
species is here represented in its natural size. They are comparatively
harmless, though I have just witnessed the demise of one that was
attacked and eaten by his pretty kindred, the wing-cases and head only
remaining to testify of his former individuality. This is a delicate
beetle, that requires very pure water and a neat arrangement of aquatic
plants, to give full effect to its beauty as a cabinet specimen, and,
when carefully preserved, a jar of them forms a conspicuous and
attractive object. I have several specimens of a smaller species in a
very fine jar of confervoids; they are incessantly in motion, threading
their way through the interstices of the delicate vegetation in a
business-like way, that seems to say, "I'm on an important errand--have
not a moment to lose, and, above all things, I must take care of the
bubble of air that sticks to my tail."

Gyrinus Natator.--This is a member of an interesting and pretty family.
_Gyrinus_ takes its name from the tendency most of the beetles of the
tribe have to _move in circles_, and this particular species exemplifies
the habit of the tribe in a very striking manner. It is a very sociable
beetle, always found in company with others of its kindred, forming
little communities, which pass their time in whirling and spinning upon
the surface of still pools, like congregations of dancing dervishes.
They are as shy as they are nimble, and it requires some dexterity to
net them, for they dive and scatter on the approach of a footstep; but
if the observer remains quiet a few minutes by the water's edge, or on a
plank or bridge above the pool, they soon resume their gambols under his
eye, and in the sunshine appear like minute buttons of burnished metal
rapidly revolving or darting to and fro upon the surface, and for a
length of time, that proves them to be by no means subject to giddiness.

[Illustration: GYRINUS NATATOR.]

The _species of Gyrinus_ are not numerous in Britain, not more than
eight being known to naturalists; but the paucity of species is
compensated by the profuseness of the individuals, and of these
_natator_ is the most abundant. When placed under a lens, this beetle
bears the form represented in the next page. The colour is blue-black,
with a resplendent metallic lustre, in which shades of copper, silver,
and bronze occur, as we view it at various angles to the rays of light.
The thorax is marked with three transverse lines on each side, of which
the anterior one is punctured, and runs parallel with the margin. The
elytra are turned in at the sides, and the surface of each is marked
with eleven striæ or longitudinal lines, composed of minute punctures.
The terminal segment of the abdomen, together with the legs, are of a

[Illustration (Gyrinus)]

If we inquire by what means it is enabled to perform its elegant
performances on the water, and which very closely resemble those of a
skilful skater on the ice, we find that its structure is eminently
fitted for such peculiar movements. In the first place, the antennæ are
short and thick; if they protruded forward to a great length, as in
_Longicornes_, they would seriously impede the freedom of action, which
is the life and joy of this nimble fellow. They are clavate, and consist
of seven closely-jointed rings, each antenna being attached by a slender
peduncle to the upper and internal edge of a large radical joint
furnished with an auricle at its outer side, which, like the lid of a
box, shuts in the antennæ when unemployed, and protects them from the
water (_Kirby_). The anterior legs are long, and formed for walking or
to act as instruments of prehension; the four hinder ones are very
short, and ciliated externally, bearing a strong resemblance to the
paddle of an oar. "The head is sunk in the thorax as far as the eyes,
and the latter are divided by a process from the anterior part of the
head, in such a manner that there appear to be two eyes above and two
below--a mode of structure admirably adapted to the wants of the insect,
which requires at the same time to observe objects both in the air and
water." The hinder legs are capable of a free oar-like action, which
render this _gyrinus_ the most expert of swimmers, and the circular
movements are accomplished by the more rapid action of the oars on one
side than on the other. So equipped, the whirlwig leads a merry life; he
skates away from morning to night, never in fear of being drowned, and
seemingly never tired.



In the Cuvierian arrangement the land and water bugs stand between the
true beetles and butterflies, and in those members of the order which
possess wings, the chief characteristic is, that the anterior pair fold
nearly horizontally, partly lapping over each other, and are of a
leathery texture at the base. The majority of the members of the order
are inhabitants of tropical climates, and some of them display colours
equal to those of the true beetles. Not a few have the power of emitting
powerful odours, in some cases of an agreeable nature, and in
others--as the common bed bug--of a most disgusting nature. The order
readily separates itself into two great divisions--namely, the
_Geocorisa_, or Land Bugs, and the _Hydrocorisa_, or Water Bugs. Both
divisions supply a few specimens for the Water Cabinet, but the most
important are those belonging to the second class.

Among the first class in this order the most interesting is _Hydrometra
stagnorum_, or the Water-measurer, which may be seen treading the
surface of still brooks and rank pools in summer-time, in company with
swarms of tipulidan gnats (_Chironomi_), whirlwigs, and two other
aquatic bugs, the _Gerris locustris_ and the _Velia currens_ of
Latreille. The Hydrometra is a lively creature, a body so slender as to
be little more than a black line half an inch in length, from which the
long and angularly-jointed legs proceed in regular pairs. Under the
microscope the divisions of the body are very plainly and prettily
marked, and the terminal processes of the legs are made after the model
of those water-shoes with which a certain clever Norwegian lately
undertook to walk on water with nearly as much ease as on land. Whether
the mechanician ever succeeded in this enterprise is not on record, but
it is on record in the Book of Nature that this, and many other
similarly-formed creatures, have found on the aqueous element a safe
flooring for their feet ever since the first hour of creation, ere He
who equipped them, had sent his Son to walk upon the waves.

_Notanecta_ and _Nepa_ are of the same order, but are true water-bugs,
formed for diving and sub-aqueous life. The _Notanecta_, or Boat-fly,
is a rapacious creature, that spends much of its time lying in wait for
prey, but which exhibits immense activity when it captures its booty,
darting down with it, and holding it firmly by the forelegs, which are
formed as claws. It is ingeniously adapted for the predaceous aquatic
life it leads; the general form is well adapted for propulsion through
water, and the hinder legs have an oar-like form, and are fringed with
bristles along the edge, by which their striking surface is much
increased. The boat-fly is an artistic swimmer; it varies its motions
considerably, and delights in swimming on its back, a feat in which it
is aided by its eyes being so placed as to enable it to see both above
and below, and thus gain early intelligence of danger, or of the
approach of its prey. Owing to their liveliness and voracity, they
afford much interest when domesticated, and should be treated as
directed for _Dytiscus_.

The Water Scorpion is a good representative of the _Nepidæ_, and has the
distinguishing features of its tribe very strongly marked. The Water
Scorpion is a very common inhabitant of our brooks, and its singular
form quickly arrests the eye of the sportsman when turning over the
contents of the drag-net. _N. neptunia_ and _N. cinerea_ are, perhaps,
the most common; and either of these is an admirable object for the
microscope. The water-scorpion is the victim of the parasitic water-mite
(_Hydrachna abstergens_), which inserts its egg in the body of the Nepa,
and thus compels it to support the young of its worst enemy, a task
which it performs at the cost of its life. I have several times
introduced the _Hydrachna_ into my jars of Nepa, but have never yet
witnessed the parasitic deposit of the eggs. In confinement, the Nepa is
the least hardy of any creature in the collection, if the sun strikes
the jar it perishes, and it will not live long unless it has means of
occasionally leaving the water--hence a broad jar should be used for it,
and a small piece of pumice stone should be floated in it, to form an
island on which the insects may take refuge.

[Illustration (Water Scorpion)]



The Frog.--The _Ranidæ_ or true frogs, and the _Bufoidæ_ or toad tribe,
contribute, whether in the larva or perfect form, some very lively,
entertaining, and instructive specimens. I am sorry that my space is so
limited as to prevent the insertion here of such full notices as this
subject deserves, and must content myself by assuring the reader that
but little progress can be made in the study of Zoology without a
patient study of the history of the frog.

During the spring and summer the brooks abound with what boys call
"loggerheads," or tadpoles; these are the larva of the frog. They may be
caught easily, and preserved in jars of growing weed, for observation of
their development. I have now (August 18th,) several specimens of
_Bufoidæ_, in which even the first stage of metamorphosis has not
commenced, though, since June, some hundreds of toads and frogs have
attained completeness in my vessels, many of which are now inmates of
the garden, some of them exceedingly tame.

[Illustration (tadpoles)]

In the egg state we find abundance, during April, in every pond and
brook, adhering in gelatinous masses to the under leaves of aquatic
plants. The eggs gradually acquire a dark tint, and at last the young
"tads" emerge, and begin their quiet existence in this first rudimental
form. In this state they are very lively in their motions, the eyes are
very distinctly visible, and the mouth is placed, as it were, on the
breast. They are not wholly herbivorous; for though they nibble the
fronds of _Riccia_ and threads of _Conferva_, they do not scruple to eat
their dead kindred, and half a dozen may be seen engaged upon the
carcase of a defunct brother. In this stage the gills form a fine
microscopic object. As the "tad" increases in bulk, the hinder part of
the body swells, and at last the budding of the hind legs may be
distinctly seen. These at last acquire some degree of completeness, and
then the other pair of legs sprout in a similar manner, and the tail
begins to shrink rapidly as the general bulk of the reptile increases.
The gills now rapidly disappear, and the body grows at the expense of
the tail, and before the latter appendage is completely extinguished,
the juvenile _Ranus_ takes his first dose of atmospheric air, by
mounting a leaf of frog-bit or a slice of cork. He now leads an
amphibious life, and at last quits the water altogether, climbs up the
glass side of the tank or jar, and escapes, unless confined by a glass
lid or gauze. But he is now a true frog, delicately mottled, agile in
his movements, very clever in jumping and swimming--his tadpole tail
entirely absorbed, and his whole system metamorphosed. If he interested
us before, he is still more interesting now, for in the structure and
economy of his frame Nature reveals phenomena typical of animal life in
all its orders and gradations. Hence the frog is the victim of the
philosopher; he suffers spasm under the galvanic wire, blindness under
the glare of the microscope lamp, tetanus through being dosed with
strychnine, and innumerable other agonies in which operators detect
analogies that throw a light on the fundamentals of animal life, and
that even aid in the explanation of the subtle organism of man himself.

[Illustration (frog)]

Management of the Cabinet.--The instructions already given for the
management of Aquaria will be found to embrace most of the points
involved in the management of beetle and larva jars, for these are but
Aquaria on a smaller scale. The chief matter is to separate the species
as much as possible, so that the carnivorous kinds shall not destroy the
harmless ones; and on this plan the study of each kind is greatly
facilitated. Since the jars afford the best means for the culture of
choice aquatic specimens of the various kinds of _Riccia_, _Conferva_,
_Nitella_, _Lemna_, and other minute water-weeds may be used for
maintaining the necessary balance in each, and if some of the vessels
are filled with brook-water only, the student will come into possession
of many beautiful specimens of both animal and vegetable life, the
search for the names and histories of which will be even more profitable
than the contemplation of their beauty. The first specimen I ever
possessed of the beautiful confervoid _Hydrodictyon utriculatum_ was
obtained in this way--the water, after depositing a green sediment, gave
birth to a rich net-work of vegetation, in which this conferva was
conspicuous. Several of the jars which I prize the most are those which
have been simply filled at the brook side, and left for the minute germs
of animal and vegetable life to develope in their own way, and it is not
long before a rich growth takes place, that affords abundant material
for observation with the microscope. _Feeding_ is necessary only in the
case of carnivorous larva and beetles, and for these small fish is
undoubtedly the best; the herbivorous creatures supply themselves. As a
general rule the water in the jars should never be changed; it is by
leaving things to themselves that the best display is to be obtained,
especially if _chara_ and other low forms of vegetation are preserved.

_Nitella_ is almost too delicate for the tank, but an admirable plant
for growth in jars in which cabinet specimens of larvæ are kept. I
rarely place it in the aquarium, considering it too choice a thing, its
delicate structure rendering it barely perceptible amidst the more
luxuriant growths with which it gets entwined. Still, it does well
there, but cannot be studied unless a bunch is placed in a glass jar for
separate culture. It consists only of joints and threads of a pale, but
pleasing, green, grows rapidly, and gives out abundance of the vital
phlogiston, about which aquarians are compelled to say so much.

[Illustration (Pocket Lens)]

_The microscope_ at once increases a hundred fold the pleasure of
instruction which the cabinet is capable of affording us. For the
minuter forms of animal life, and for observing the circulation in the
frog, or in vallisneria, &c., a good compound microscope is necessary.
But for ordinary purposes, I should recommend a Coddington lens, or the
pocket Aquarian lenses, sold by Mr. Cox, of 100, Newgate Street. They
are made of three powers, fitting into a case, and may be used
separately, or combined according to circumstances. The one here figured
costs 7s. 6d., but a cheap common lens, fitted with frame and handle,
may be had of Mr. Cox for from half-a-crown to five shillings.

The present work does not afford me space to discuss the educational and
ornamental uses of the aquarium, and I have confined myself to its mere
elements, dealing with those in a way that I think will be most useful
to beginners. The aquarium has uses of a higher character than such as
may suggest themselves by the perusal of these few pages, and is capable
of extension so as to combine with it the most attractive features of
the wardian case, and, to some extent, a vivarium for a selection of
amphibious and true land animals. These matters are pretty fully
discussed in my work on _Rustic Adornments_, to which I have already
called the reader's attention, and to its pages I once more refer for
more extended information on this and other subjects of a kindred

[Illustration (decoration)]

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Or Practical Instructions on the Formation, Stocking, and Management in
all Seasons, of Collections of Fresh-water and Marine Life.


Author of "Rustic Adornments for Homes of Taste," etc., etc.



  Chapter I.--What Is an Aquarium? The Name and Object--Philosophy of the

  Chapter II.--Proper Kinds of Vessels. Rectangular Tanks--Construction of
  Tanks--Warington's Stope-back Tank--Bell Glasses and Vases--Stands for

  Chapter III.--Fitting-up--Rockwork. The Bottom--Mould--Planting--
  The Water--Aspect.

  Chapter IV.--Plants for the Aquarium. How to stock a Tank quickly--
  Selection of Plants--Water Soldier--Starwort--Vallisneria--Anacharis--
  Myriophyllum--Potamogeton--Nuphar Lutea--Pipewort--Utricularia--
  Isopelis--Subularia--Ranunculus--Hydrocaris--Alisma--Lemna, etc.

  Chapter V.--Fishes for the Aquarium. Cyprinus Carpio, Gibelio,
  Carassius, Auratus, Brama, Leucisus, Rutilus, Alburnus, Phoxinus,
  Gobio, Tinca, Barbus, Barbatula, Cephalus--Percidæ--Gasterosteus.

  Chapter VI.--Reptiles, Mollusks, and Insects.

  Chapter VII.--Selection of Stock.

  Chapter VIII.--General Management. Feeding--Confervæ--Use of Mollusks--
  Objections to Mollusks--Use of Confervoid Growths--Periodical Cleansing--
  Exhaustion of Oxygen--Temperature--Dead Specimens--Disease of Fishes.


  Chapter I.--The Vessel. Points in which the Marine differs from the
  River Tank--Stained Glass.

  Chapter II.--Fitting-up. The Bottom--Rocks, Arches, and Caves--
  The Water--Artificial Sea Water--Marine Salts--Management of Artificial
  Water--Caution to the Uninitiated--Filtering.

  Chapter III.--Collecting Specimens.

  Chapter IV.--The Plants.

  Chapter V.--The Animals. Fishes--Mollusks--Annelides--Zoophytes--Actinia
  Mesembryanthemum--Anguicoma, Bellis, Gemmacea, Crassicornis, Parasitica,
  Dianthus, etc.

  Chapter VI.--What Is Anemone?

  Chapter VII.--General Management. Grouping of Objects--Sulphuretted
  Hydrogen--Preservation of the Water--Aeration--Filter--Decay of
  Plants--Death of Anemones--Removal of Objects--Density of the
  Water--Green Stain--Feeding--The Syphon--Purchase of Specimens.


  Chapter I.--Construction of Cabinets. Distinctions between the Cabinet
  and the Aquarium--Construction of a Cabinet--Glasses.

  Chapter II.--Collecting and Arranging Specimens. Implements for
  Collecting--Nets, Jars, and Phials--Pond Fishing.

  Chapter III.--The Stock.

  Chapter IV.--Larva. The Dragon Fly--The Gnat--The Case Fly.


Published by Authority of the Commissioners of National Education in


  FIRST BOOK OF LESSONS. 18mo, wrapper.
  SECOND BOOK OF LESSONS. 18mo, cloth.
  SEQUEL TO SECOND BOOK. No. 1, 18mo, cloth.
  SEQUEL TO SECOND BOOK. No. 2, 18mo, cloth.
  THIRD BOOK OF LESSONS. 12mo, cloth.
  FOURTH BOOK OF LESSONS. 12mo, cloth.
  FIFTH BOOK OF LESSONS. 12mo, cloth.
  DITTO         DITTO                Vol. 2. 12mo, cloth.
  EPITOME OF GEOGRAPHY. 12mo, cloth.
  ENGLISH GRAMMAR. 18mo, cloth.
  KEY TO DITTO. 18mo, wrapper.
  KEY TO DITTO. 18mo, cloth.
  KEY TO DITTO. 12mo, cloth.
  KEY TO DITTO. 12mo, cloth.
  ELEMENTS OF GEOMETRY. 12mo, cloth.
  APPENDIX TO DITTO. 12mo, cloth.
  DITTO          DITTO              No. 2, 12mo, cloth.
  DITTO          DITTO              No. 2, 12mo, cloth,
  SACRED POETRY. 18mo, wrapper.
  FARM ACCOUNT BOOK, 4to, half-bound.
  TREATISE ON NEEDLEWORK. Small 4to, half-bound.
  DITTO          DITTO     Mounted on 30 Pasteboards.
  DITTO          DITTO     Mounted on 17 Pasteboards.


                                       Ft. In.    Ft. In.
  World                                 6  8   by  3  6
  Europe                                5  8   "   4  4
  Asia                                  5  8   "   4  4
  Africa                                4  4   "   5  8
  America                               4  4   "   5  8
  England                               4  4   "   5  8
  Scotland                              5  4   "   5  8
  Ireland                               4  4   "   5  8
  Australia                             5  8   "   4  4
  Pacific Ocean                         5  8   "   4  4
  United States                         5  8   "   4  4
  Ancient World                         5  8   "   4  4
  Palestine                             4  4   "   5  8
  British Isles                         7  4   "   8  0
  Geological Map of the British Isles   4  4   "   5  8


_Twenty Years Agents to the Board of Education. Lists of Prices
forwarded on application._

Thomas Harrild, Printer, 11, Salisbury-sq., Fleet-st., and Silver-st.,
Falcon-sq., London.

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