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Antique vintage metal frame tanks

Casual aquatics

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On 9/1/2022 at 8:16 AM, Pepere said:

My first tank in the very early 1970s when I was a child was a slate bottomed 10 gallon Metacraft tank.

It was very likely a Birthday gift shortly after Mister Rogers brought a fish tank into his TV house.

It was a kit tank that included a filter, a metal lamp holder with 2 long incandescent bulbs that you had to limit use to 2 hours a day to not overheat the tank, a turquoise air pump, a box filter, a thermometer, a heater that my father did not want to pay the electricity to run, so goldfish it was….., a net, and pretty gaudy white pink and blue gravel, a lighthouse air bubbler, and three plastic plants, ph test kit, ph up and ph down, a canister of fish food, aquarium salt,  And an instruction book I still have with very dubious information in it.  Complete kits were a whole lot more complete back then.

after setting up the tank and giving it the three days that the book said to wait, we went to Zayres to buy the fish.  A goldfish tank that makes Petcos goldfish tank look sparsely stocked.  10 goldfish for $1.00.  The clerk helping us didnt want to be bothered with counting them so he took a net that would make Aquarium Co op proud and scooped up a bunch and put them in a plastic bag.


We got home and I think I remember there were over 30, and within days we started fishing out dead goldfish… It bothered me to no end…

We then went to a new local fish store that had just opened and the owner diagnosed the problem as being overpopulated.  He declined to rehome the excess fish and advised that goldfish could be frozen and they would revive when thawed, so we should take out the excess and freeze them and take them out for replacements…

This created a whole lot of new stress months later when we took out a batch and they failed to revive after being thawed out for a few days….

In such a time of such miserable advice I marvel that I stayed with keeping and maintaining fish for 15 years until college.  

The first time I ever heard about Ammonia, Nitrite, nitrate, cycling etc was when my son was 5 and we pulled out my old kit and restarted a tank. The original tank had already been replaced by then with a modern one due to a water leak I could not get to stop, and the light hood had been replaced with a fluorescent hood.

I would like to have an old metal framed slate bottom tank.  I have fond memories.

I have thought of getting some stainless steel strips bent on a brake and polished up and siliconing them in place to replicate the look.







This was an amazing read my friend so interesting. It’s crazy the advice that was given back in those days! But im glad there was even a hobby because we wouldn’t be where we are in the hobby now days. I have five head first into research looking up videos and such joint groups on fb everything. I met a guy that has a new old stock complete kit from the 70’s it’s mind blowing. Well thanks for this knowledge I plan to restore my to a mirror finish and get it running. Not sure what fish to keep in them or how I should scape it but we will see and it will be fun doing it!

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On 9/1/2022 at 1:56 PM, Casual aquatics said:

Shocked how ? 

Stray potential from the electrics, lights,pumps,power heads, filters.  

I dont know if grounding a tank frame is enough. Talk to an electrician. 

These tanks were manufactured when filtration was predominantly airstone  driven. We didnt have all the electric gizmos we have today.

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On 9/1/2022 at 11:56 AM, Casual aquatics said:

Shocked how ? 

Because the heaters were clip on back heaters and very poorly sealed at the top.  Plus the lights weren’t grounded and notorious for giving you a little tingle if your hands were damp.  Metal shroud resting on a metal tank frame, you’d sometimes feel a little tingle if you rested your wet arm on the frame during maintenance.  If you got more than a tiny tingle, you usually needed to replace your heater.  😳

I never saw a sealed, in-tank pump until the early 80’s which was about the same time submersible heaters came along, too.  I finally bought a grounding cord to run from my tank to a wall plug - only the ground wire was connected, the other parts of the plug were dummy connectors as stabilizers to keep it plugged in. Then pumps and lights got better and ground wires weren’t really needed since the appliances that draw enough come with their own.

Salties still sometimes use grounding wires since saltwater transfers electricity so much better, static can supposedly build up from water running through tubing, often lots more cords running into tanks with wavemakers and such.  Often more pumps running in salt tank systems and anywhere water flows, electricity can flow, and it doesn’t care about gravity.

On 9/1/2022 at 1:56 PM, Pepere said:

I also have a titanium ground probe installed in every tank.

Probably still very smart, but I have 24 tanks.

Edited by Odd Duck
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