A Note On Parlour Oceans Philosophy

It needs to be stated clearly that while the focus of Parlour Oceans is on creatively building your own inexpensive aquaria, this should NOT EVER be done at the expense of what’s right for the organisms in your care. Always, always do the right thing and do not cut corners if it means you’re ignoring the health and safety of your charges. That said…

What’s a Parlour Ocean?

Parlour oceans is a term original Victorian aquarists used to describe early aquariums, before we actually had the word “aquarium.” While the Romans and Chinese had kept fish in antiquity, it wasn’t until the 1800’s that glass was abundant, inexpensive and able to be fashioned into what we would describe as a “fish tank.” And back then, it was fashionable to the point of being a fad or a trend. Everyone had a “parlor ocean,” and they even relied primarily on biological filtration (because there weren’t any tiny electric motors to run filtration) so they even resembled many modern day marine aquariums!

Speaking of modern aquaria, nowadays, fish tanks are considered common. Most households have at least dabbled at some point in keeping a freshwater fish. But marine aquaria are considered difficult, expensive and for wealthy people. I’m here to tell you, that if Victorians could do it, so can you. I want people to realize that all aquaria, be it saltwater, fresh, brackish or anything else do not require huge cash reserves, and can often be cheap to make, operate and maintain with a little ingenuity, know-how and persistence! The ability to bring a tiny slice of an alien world into your home should not belong to only the highest bidders, and this blog’s purpose is to help those that would like to learn how to accomplish that without breaking the bank. So let’s get started!

Who’s Writing Parlour Oceans?

This blog is written by artist and long-time aquarist and herpetology enthusiast Ethan Kocak, known mostly for the webcomic Black Mudpuppy. Ethan has kept aquaria, terraria and everything in-between for 25 years. The goal for Parlour Oceans as a blog is to eventually feature articles by a number of other individuals about a variety of topics related to the hobby of keeping mini-ecosystems in glass boxes.

Brian Spears has been keeping and breeding fish for over 30 years. He has 10 years pet retail and pet retail management experience, including working with a wide variety of fish species and aquarium hardware. Brian earned his degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology from Oregon State, and has spent a year working with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences fish research lab. He is currently a stay-at-home dad of four children, three of them under the age of three! He spends his little free time keeping up with the state of the aquarium hobby, as well as recent updates in the science of fisheries and ichthyology. Brian can be found tweeting at @Captain_Spears. He also maintains a small natural history blog, describing natural features in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. It can be found at http://www.thetrianglenatureally.blogspot.com.


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