They don't make them like that any more!

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Say hello to the originals in the nano range of aquaria. Modern manufacturers may think that they created the market for small, ornate lifestyle aquariums, but they've missed that boat by many decades.

These little gems were discovered at Interpet’s 60th birthday party, brought along and owned by company founder Dr. Neville Carrington. Two tanks caught our eyes, one dating from the 1950’s — still intact, and in admirable condition — and another from the late thirties.

Filtration in that white-based tank doesn’t exist, aside what you choose to put in it, and it takes a novel approach to heating and lighting. After all, back then the submersible heaterstat didn’t exist!

Instead, illumination and warmth are taken care of by a low wattage bulb that sits underneath the tank. Look hard and you’ll spot a clear panel on the base, with the bulb still in place!

It might not be to everyone’s tastes, but this is a piece of kit that I would kill to get my hands on. A modern filter, a hanging light, some carbon dioxide, and a few weeks of intense aquascaping and growing, and it’ll turn everyone’s head — and not just the two gentlemen angling at the edges!

And what about what looks like a hulking lump of rust next to it? Think again, that’s an original angle iron aquarium dated from around 1938. This one even pre-dates the emergence of lamps as heaters and relies on the older method that fishkeepers resorted to – heating the base.

Ingeniously, the bottom of that tank is a sheet of slate. It’s heavy, but it holds heat, and it holds it for a long time. Go back to the thirties, and fishkeepers would heat the bases of such tanks with paraffin lamps, getting them up to the right temperature in a burst of flame, and then letting the slate do the job of dissipating that warmth into the water.

Who says fishkeeping hasn’t become easier?