Extract from A Popular Guide to the Gardens of The Zoological Society of London.
20th Edition. Philip Lutley Sclater, M.A., Ph.D., F.R.S. 1867.

This Building was erected in 1852 for the purpose of exhibiting Fishes and the lower aquatic animals in a living state. The success which attended this experiment, then first publicly attempted on a large scale, has assisted in promoting the popular study of these most interesting creatures in a very remarkable manner, not only in this country but on the Continent.

On entering the house the visitor will perceive a row of slate and glass tanks on either side, carefully screened off with shades so as to allow the light only so pass into them from above. The row in front are filled with salt-water, and contain salt-water fishes – such as the Pipe fishes, and various kinds of Gobies and Stickle-backs, and a large series of marine invertebrate animals of every description. On each side of the to the right and left are fresh-water tanks, containing specimens of many of the common fresh-water fishes of this country. Amongst these will be found the Pike, Perch, Dace, Roach, Tench, and Trout, which may be all inspected to advantage in the clear water, and their habits studied without the slightest difficulty. At the north end of the house is a series of shallow gravel-bottomed tanks fitted up for fish-hatching – in which ova of various species of the Salmon-family are hatched every spring, so as to give an idea of the method pursued in this newly-invented branch of economy. Some fine Trout bred in the house several years since are placed in the lowest pool. The opposite end of the house has been converted into a small Aviary for King-fishers and other aquatic birds: amongst which will be observed specimens of the Little Grebe or Dabchick, the Common Sand-piper, the Knot, and Turstone. There is also amongst them a beautiful Australian species the Grallina – the survivor of a pair transmitted to the Society by Dr. F. Mueller some years ago.

In the tanks in the centre of the house will be found some curious Crustaceans – such as the King-crab (Limulus); also specimens of a very extraordinary aquatic Salamander found in the lakes of Central Mexico – the Siredon mexicanum, or Axolotl – which in tis ordinary state possesses naked external gills.

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