The first aquarist society was founded in New York City in 1893 and was quickly followed by many others. These groups shared the common passion for fishkeeping and worked diligently to refine known practices and grow to learn new methods to excel at maintaining the thriving underwater environments for education and exploration.
With the invention of the combination of electricity and running water, the first mechanical aquarium that relied on equipment (most notably an air pump) was created around 1908. After World War I, electricity enabled tanks to develop lighting, aeration, filtration and other practices that providing sustaining solutions to keeping healthy fish.
Another notable point in the history of fishkeeping is the introduction of importing fish. Previously hobbyists were limited to local native species or ones that could travel short distances but when the use of plastic and airfreight were combined, the development of worldwide importing/exporting gained massive popularity causing an explosion of interest for the field of fish. With new species being introduced into tanks, many new discoveries about what different species can be housed together began to take place. It was an incredibly exciting time to be able to observe so many new created environments!
Today, aquarium keeping is one of the most popular hobbies with an estimated over nine million U.S. households owning aquariums. Americans have been noted to own approximately 139 million freshwater fish and 9.5 million saltwater fish. The staggering numbers attest to the staying power and popularity that humans have with aquatic creatures that continues to develop and grow over time. As the field continues to evolve with technological advancements, fish breeding, and new scientific discoveries, fishkeeping continues to provide exciting insights into a world that is larger and far more mysterious than our own.