A series of articles by Edward Newman.
Zoologist of 1873, Second Series – Vol. VIII.
Part 1. September issue pages 3861-3876.
Part 2. October issue pages 3701-3711
Part 3. November issue pages 3741-3759
Part 3. November issue pages 3741-3759
(Continued from S. S. p3711.)
Era III. — Commercial and Ambitious.
From the preceding pages it must, I think, be evident that nearly all the conclusions at which we arrived during the First and Second Eras require careful reconsideration. I cannot say that what has been termed the balance of nature - so much water, so much air, so many animals, so many plants - is altogether a mistake; but I do without hesitation say that we made too much a rule-of-three sum of the affair, and that the formula we were in the habit of laying down was framed under the idea that by the aid of experience we could define what laws ought to govern Nature, rather than leave Nature entirely unfettered, and humbly ask her to show us how she governs herself; for, as a sea-cave in full flower with anemones is far more beautiful than anything we can achieve by our own management, so are the concomitant conditions which have produced that result infinitely more subtle than any arrangements we bare in our power to devise. As for sea-weeds in a state of nature, I deny none of the properties which have been attributed to them, but I maintain that in our clumsy attempts to introduce sea-weeds into our fictitious seas, we frustrate rather than promote the object we have in view; and it is not a little curious that when Nature was actually sowing broadcast her Algæ and Confervæ in our aquariums we deliberately laid our unwise heads together for the express purpose of defeating her beneficent intentions. We wrote instructions how to get rid of the green growth that was such a nuisance in our otherwise successful aquariums: it is as though a man writing on breeding poultry were to recommend the destruction of all the chickens. Nature should be her own marine gardener. There should be a bottom and sides to an aquarium - this seems an absolute necessity, whether that aquarium be an ocean or a lank; and Nature, unassisted and uninvited, will clothe the bottom and sides with a drapery of vegetation wherever the light can penetrate. The seeds of seaweeds are ever floating in the water, and ever ready to find anchorage where they meet with a stable surface. So universal is this sporadical growth of aquatic vegetation, that I believe it impossible for a stone to be immersed in water under the influence of light, without attracting the seeds of aquatic plants, and these will assuredly vegetate on its surface; and it is also a most indubitable fact - a fact that loses none of its importance by frequent repetition - that this humble vegetation emits, in a powerful light, a series of ascending bubbles of oxygen.
But there is another necessity, a necessity which aquarians of the first and second eras, as we have seen, not merely refused to acknowledge, but took the utmost pains to condemn. I think it probable that every naturalist who trusts himself on the ocean, even for a dozen hours, and from the deck of a steamer snuffs the invigorating breeze as it passes over the agitated surface of the water, will after a while admit that some other principle is at work beside the maintenance of an exact balance between the breathings of sea-weeds and the breathings of sea anemones or fishes; and will perhaps also admit that motion is such a principle. It has been asserted by voyagers over and over again that the sea itself becomes foul during a long calm, and that its life-supporting powers seem absolutely to have departed; fishes and pelagic crabs die by myriads and float on the surface, and, together with dead sea-birds and detached seaweeds, constitute a putrid, foetid, fever-generating scum, more dreadful, more fatal to man, than when the great deep is in its wildest and stormiest moods. The introduction of sea-bang, sea-lettuce, sea-endive, sea-whistle, sloke, dulse or carrigeen will not remedy this. Whatever quantity of these life-restoratives be cast upon the waters, they will do harm rather than good; they will float on the surface, decay, and add to the seething and putrefying mass. A more powerful agent is required, and Nature kindly supplies it. A breeze springs up; a change comes o'er the spirit of the scene; motion sets in, and all is restored. We read that in a space of time incredibly short, the water resumes its life-sustaining power, and every trace of impurity has vanished as by a miracle. These narratives must, I think, convincingly establish to those who read them, the fact that there is no necessity for changing the water. When the life-sustaining power of the sea has been exhausted, Nature herself restores it, and the restoring element is motion. She has no power to change the water; the same sea must be used again and again; the same water must be encompassed by the same land. However clearly the theory of change in relative position may bare been established - however manifest it may be that the ocean now rolls over what was once dry land, and that what is now dry land was once covered by the sea - still there is nothing new, nothing added, nothing subtracted; the same materials remain, fluid and solid, and will remain for ever. Motion continually exposes a fresh surface to the atmosphere, and this contact of air and water, called aeration, is in continual operation.
"The great want felt," says Mr. Lloyd, "was constant motion like that of Nature, by which the water may be continually turned over and over, presenting successive and multitudinous surfaces to the surrounding atmosphere, and may by contact with it incessantly absorb large quantities of oxygen necessary for the sufficiently rapid decomposition of organic matter given off by the animals." - 'Handbook,’ p. 18.
Twenty years before this the absolute necessity for motion and aeration was, I believe, first pointed out by Mr. E. W. H. Holdsworth, in his 'Handbook to the Fish House in the Gardens of the Zoological Society of London.' This excellent little pamphlet is not only useful as a companion to the aquarium, but is a philosophical exponent of the only principles and arrangements on which marine aquariums can be established so as to become permanently successful. Mr. Holdsworth has shown himself perfectly acquainted with his subject, and thoroughly competent to explain it to others. The 'Handbook' is now so exceedingly rare that I need make no apology for the rather long quotation given below.
"The main difficulties at present met with in the satisfactory maintenance of the aquarium are unquestionably due to our ordinary inability to imitate that most important condition of the sea - its continual motion. The advantages derived from that movement are incalculably great to its inhabitants; so much so as to mask, in a great measure, the principle of compensation on which plants and animals are largely dependent for the supply of the gases necessary for their respiration. In a small tank the presence of decaying animal or vegetable matter, even in inconsiderable quantities, is often sufficient to destroy the purity of the water, and so to cause the death of the animals in it; for the poisonous gas, carburetted hydrogen, arising from putrefaction, is there confined within a small space, and the stagnant condition of the water prevents its rapid combination with the oxygen, which, uniting with the hydrogen, produces water, and with the carbon results in carbonic acid. But, in the sea, any dead matter not consumed by crabs or other scavengers is distributed in every direction as fast as it becomes decomposed and assumes the gaseous form, and a supply of pure water immediately takes its place, so that the plants and animals in the neighbourhood are not exposed to any hurtful influence arising from it, as is the case when the decaying matter gives off its deleterious gases in the motionless water of the aquarium. In large establishments this movement of the water may be produced without much difficulty by the aid of gutta-percha pipes and a small reservoir or supply tank from which the water may flow into the aquarium and the waste be pumped back to continue the circulation; for it is not necessary that the water should be renewed. Any loss that may take place by evaporation should be made good by the addition of pure fresh water; but the great bulk of the seawater will last for years if it is kept well aerated; indeed, there it no reason for it ever being unfit for use. The salts held in solution retain their properties for an indefinite time, as far as is known; and as the pure water is all that is lost by evaporation, that alone requires replenishing in order to preserve the proper specific gravity or density of the whole. In small tanks the water may be temporarily agitated by the use of a convenient kind of force-pump, adopted by Mr. W. A. Lloyd; but unless there is a special supply tank placed on a higher level than the aquarium, so as to ensure a continuous stream, the movement of the water cannot be easily maintained. Prawns and fishes are also useful, to a certain extent, in causing a motion of the water, but they have too little power to produce anything like the continued washing of the sea which the Actiniae are accustomed to; for it will be remembered that these animals, being attached, are exposed to the recoil of the water from the resistance of the rock as well as to the influence of the tidal current; and this double motion of the water produces the wash which gives such a life-like appearance to everything growing within its reach. Animals subjected to this peculiar movement of the sea display a vigour almost unknown in the usually quiet waters of the aquarium. The Actiniae attach themselves firmly in sheltered crevices and expand their flower-like disks to the ever-changing water around them, every wave brings a fresh supply of food within their reach, and their bodies are kept clean by the motion of the water. Fishes, and other swimming animals, also seem to enjoy the continual struggle necessary to prevent their being carried away by the stream, and thus all their vital powers being called into action, everything presents the appearance of health and animation. Such are the results we must endeavour to produce in the aquarium, and we can only do so effectually by imitating, as far as possible, the means employed by Nature. In cases where it is inconvenient or difficult to establish a constant change of water, as in small tanks, great advantage may be derived by occasionally drawing off the water, and in this manner placing the animals in the condition to which they are accustomed when the tide is out. Of course this treatment is only applicable to those animals and plants naturally living between tide-marks; for, except in the case of some of the blennies, and a few other small fishes, this exposure to the atmosphere is unsuited to the habits of free-swimming animals. The appearance of the Actiniae, and other soft-bodied creatures, when left thus exposed, is often so unlike their condition, when immersed, as to give rise to the suspicion of their being in an unnatural state; but experience tells us that these animals thrive best when subjected to this periodical exposure, and they show renewed vigour on the subsequent rising of the artificial tide. A great advantage is also gained by returning the water in a small stream to its place in the tank; by this means the whole of it undergoes purification in its passage through the air, and becomes better fitted to support life. We need only take a glance at the rocks at low water to satisfy ourselves that periodical exposure to the atmosphere is almost one of the necessary conditions of life with many species of marine animals. Some of the sea anemones are found so high up in the range of tide that they must necessarily be out of the water for at least six hours of the twelve occupied by its ebb and flow; and if we go lower down and look under the large boulders, and into the dark crevices of the rocks, we shall find a multitude of creatures, and many of them of the most delicate structure, which, for an hour or two in every tide, are quite out of reach of the water. Marine animals can bear this exposure better than the inhabitants of fresh water; the salts held in solution in sea-water retain a moist atmosphere around the bodies of the various animals which have been bathed with it, and evaporation consequently does not lake place very rapidly, so that we need not fear imitating Nature even in what, at first sight, appears to be a hazardous proceeding." - 'Handbook to the Fish House,' p. 10.
Here we have the principle of the salt-water aquarium clearly explained; and I have, as in one or two previous instances, italicised a passage to which I wish particularly to invite attention. Nothing can be more truthful than the entire extract, and it is difficult to conceive anything more neatly expressed than the sentence I have printed in italics; Mr. Holdsworth's method of returning the water into the aquarium is perhaps somewhat superseded by the more energetic operation of the steam-engine, but the idea is the same, and is perfectly in accordance with present practice.
I believe it was during the year following the successful opening at Regent's Park, that the late Dr. Robert Ball introduced a novel mode of aeration at Dublin: this is spoken of as a method of keeping the sea-water in occasional motion by passing bubbles of air through it from a pair of bellows worked by visitors. “I cannot find at this moment any categorical description of the experiment, or any statement of its success or otherwise; but it is due to the memory of this enthusiastic and kind-hearted naturalist, with whom I had the honour to be personally acquainted, to preserve the record of an ingenious invention.
Again, two years subsequently, in 1856, the Baron Cloquet, whose ingenuity is well known to all the savants who took part in establishing the Jardin d'Acclimatalioa at Paris, revived the use of bellows for the purpose of aeration. His instrument had a gutta-percha pipe fitted to its nozzle, and at the extremity of this a leaden tube, which extended to the bottom of the aquarium; the aperture of the tube was covered with wire-gauze, which pulverized in the most complete manner the air forced through it by the bellows; the emission of the air at the bottom of the aquarium would doubtless partially effect the desired object, but not be so thoroughly as Mr. Lloyd's; for on his plan, presently to be described, the air comes in contact with the water, both in its rapid descent and its deliberate ascent, whereas in the baron's method it could only do this in its ascent.
Still subsequently, M. Milne-Edwards the younger, son of the great naturalist of that name, invented an apparatus for aerating an aquarium, the peculiar advantage of which was said to be that it required neither manual labour nor any attention; it is described as working "automatically," thus reminding one of that grand desideratum in mechanics, perpetual motion: its figure was that of our old hour-glass, consisting of two chambers connected by what may be called a narrow waist. The upper chamber was full of water, the lower full of air; the water descended by its own gravity from the upper chamber into the lower, expelling the air and driving it into the water of the aquarium, which thus became saturated with air: the operation of emptying the upper chamber took a long time on account of its large size and the smallness of the waist; but when once this was accomplished the entire apparatus swung and reversed itself, in which operation it closed one valve and opened another, and the chamber which now contained water being uppermost, the same result look place as before: without seeing the machine I am unable to understand this, so I feel my inability to explain it to others: we all know that under any circumstances the heavy or water-filled chamber would, like a modest gentleman, evince an invincible repugnance to take the uppermost place.
In 1859 Mr. George Hurwood, of Ipswich, contrived an arrangement whereby the pressure of a stream of fresh water, such as exists in the pipes of water-works in towns, or such as can be got from a high cistern already existing in a dwelling-house, may be employed to compress air, which compressed air in turn forces a current of sea-water into an aquarium. This arrangement was adopted by Mr. Lloyd in the Jardin d'Acclimatation, and was eminently successful: it has continued in operation for thirteen years.
The necessity of aeration and motion having been generally admitted, after their introduction in the Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park, other aquariums, more of less fully adopting the principle, were established in the Surrey Zoological Gardens in London, in the Zoological Gardens in Dublin, in Belfast, Galway, Edinburgh, Scarborough, Weymouth, Vienna, and the Crystal Palace; the last named, under the management of Mr. Bartlett, the present invaluable Superintendent of the Zoological Gardens: this was remarkable for the ugliness of its exterior and the extreme beauty and temporary success of its internal arrangement.
Others were established in America, and those at Boston and New York became somewhat celebrated - a result, at the latter city, probably due in great measure to the matchless advertising talent of Mr. Baruum. Mr. Lloyd, however, tells us that all these exhibited two faults: the stock of animals was invariably excessive in number, and the animals themselves excessive in size, faults which carried their own punishment, for from this very excess the creatures dwindled and died.
William Alford Lloyd, the projector of the Crystal Palace Aquarium, and now the Superintendent, and the author of the ‘Official Handbook,’ was born on the 8th of August, 1828, at No. 6, Bush Lane, Cannon-street, in the City of London, the site now occupied by the premises of Messrs. Barron, Squire and Co., wholesale druggists. He was a weak and sickly child, and at five years of age was sent into Wales for the invigoration of his body and improvement of his mind: he was put to a hedge-school at Llwynlleia, in Merionethshire: the spot thus honoured is equidistant from three villages rejoicing in names which I am totally unable to pronounce, and therefore gladly take refuge in letter-press: these villages are Bettwsygwerfilgoch, Cerrigydruidion and Llanfihangel - names a familiarity with which, Mr, Lloyd tells us in his pleasant autobiography, largely assisted his speedy acquisition of the German language in after years. Would that they had the same effect on me! Mr. Lloyd's "schooldays" might possibly have furnished matter for a narrative as interesting as those of Tom Brown, but he has only given us a very small instalment of such a narrative, and 1 believe even that would have been withheld had it not been for the accidental finding a crab, a circumstance that incidentally leads us to an introduction to his school and school-master in the year 1833.
"I smuggled the crab into the school-room," says Mr. Lloyd, "in order to get the schoolmaster, Humphrey, the learned man of the place, to tell me all about it. He was a little thin old man, with a yellow, shrunken face, yellow teeth, and yellow finger-nails, was dressed in a black velvet coat, waistcoat, and knee-breeches, with black stockings and huge shoes. He knew no English; and at intervals throughout the day smoked very coarse tobacco from a short black pipe in the school-room, which was also the dissenting chapel of the place. There were no writing-desks or tables of any kind, but the scholars knelt on the rubble-floor, and used as desks the deal forms on which the congregation sat on Sundays. Humphrey's scholastic fees were all paid in kind: some of the lads brought corn, or oatmeal, or flour, or wool, or bacon, and I remember once trying to carry on my head my payment, a big square lump of coal but it was too heavy, and another boy kindly let me carry his payment of a lump of butler, and he, being stronger, conveyed my coal. Cheese was a luxury known only to the rich: money was seldom seen in the form of coin, and farthings never. I did not take my crab to school as a matter of payment, nor yet for play or idle curiosity, but really and truly to learn something about it from the only person whom I thought could give me help, and his reply was, 'Ah, William Bach! only learned men in London can give information on such things,' and he smoked his pipe vigorously, and gave me permission to put the crab away during school-time in the chapel pulpit, to be out of the reach of the boys."
In 1837 Mr. Lloyd returned to London, and visited the Zoological Gardens, which proved a constant source of amusement and interest to him whenever he obtained a holiday: this continued for many years, during which his reading and learning, equally sources of instruction and amusement, seemed incessant and most miscellaneous.
In 1838 he obtained the exalted post of errand boy at Messrs. Ponlifex and Wood, engineers, of Shoe Lane, and stayed in this place for three years. Unlike any other errand boys whom I have known, his constant study was to acquire a knowledge of the various mechanical contrivances and combinations which he saw around him. We next find him apprenticed to Messrs. Remnant and Edmonds, the bookbinders, in Lorell's Court: but he was far less assiduous in gaining a knowledge of that branch of trade. He was out of his time in 1847, and then, and before, seems to have found opportunity for a most extensive and varied course of reading, and just such reading - deeply instructive reading - as a lad usually pronounces to be "slow" and "dry"; however, he now had reading to his heart's content. The first book he ever bought with his own money was, in 1840, ‘Craik's ' Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties., "No written or spoken words," says Mr. Lloyd, "can express the avidity with which I read Craik's book over and over again, or can tell the encouragement I gained from it." At the same time he met with a memoir of John Hunter, and was absorbed in admiration of the great anatomist
"By my reading I was constantly, as it were, brought into contact with him, and learned how he kept at Brompton many living animals in a small menagerie, observing their habits and forms when alive, and dissecting their bodies when dead, and doing so amidst many difficulties. Reaumur and Hüber were two other naturalists of whom I read with mentally wondering eyes."
But at this time Mr. Lloyd got involved in figures, and the works of Thomas Simpson and James Ferguson, mathematicians, engrossed a principal share of his lime, and, stranger still, Augustus de Morgan's 'Elements of Arithmetic'; thus his attention was diverted for a time from facts to figures; from truths to the expression of truths.
In 1851 he obtained a place in Old Street, at Mr. W. Brown's second-hand book shop, and here, of course, he had an opportunity of indulging his taste for books, and of making his store of knowledge still more extensive: from the 'Penny Magazine,' that great source of miscellaneous knowledge, he learned a little of everything.
The 18th of November, 1852, was a public holiday, the funeral of the Duke of Wellington: this memorable day Mr. Lloyd spent in the Zoological Gardens, and here he met with an incident that gave an aquarian tendency to the whole course of his future life.
"On arriving there, near the side entrance, was a building I had never seen before, and which had risen since my last visit - a conservatory-looking glass erection of not large dimensions, standing on a low wall. The door was fastened, and I could see no one inside, and on my asking of a passing attendant what the place was for, he said it was a 'Fish House,' though some people called it an 'Aquarium,' and that it was destined to contain fish and other such things, even sea-fishes and lobsters, and that it was intended to be opened in the following spring. He added his disbelief in its success and an expression of his sense of the impropriety of its introduction into a zoological garden. * * * * I went back to the 'fish house,' and passed round to its rear, and there to my great astonishment, I saw through the glass side of the tank containing perfectly clear water, and wonder of wonders, a living pike! I wish I could write what I then felt; I wish I could now feel as I then felt, but such freshness of wonder comes to one not more than half-a-dozen times in a life. I could not get away from the place - it was at the extreme north-east corner of the building, and the tank has been for years converted into a marine one - but I went to it again, and remained there till it began to grow dusk, and it was time to get home. * * * * * During the last eighteen years in London and Hamburg I have never been without a pet jack in an aquarium."
This seems to have been Mr. Lloyd's first introduction to freshwater captives. I will now introduce both him and my readers to the denizens of the sea: he says that although now (1873) in the Crystal Palace, with all possible means and appliances at his command, he can look back on a time, twenty years ago, when his pence and halfpence had to be laid out with rigid economy, and I am thus introduced to one of the most interesting passages in his life - the search for sea anemones in the streets of London! He had already set up small aquariums in wide-mouthed glass bottles filled with artificial sea-water, but these miniature establishments were without living inhabitants: his modus operandi for supplying this want is thus described:-
"I used to sally forth at dead of night, where heaps of oyster-shells were thrown by day from street oyster-stalls, in Smithfield and St. John's Street, and bring them home. The oysters devoured in such poor neighbourhoods are not the genteel little smooth 'natives' eaten at luncheon-bars, but big, rough commoners with bold foliations on the upper shell, and deeply ribbed on the lower one: and in and below these hiding-places I could find many little sea anemones of several species, some hopelessly smashed, but others quite perfect, having been protected by the strong projections of the oyster-shell and unharmed by rain or other fresh water. The species I found thus were Actinoloba Dianthua, Sagartia viduata, S. Troglodytes, S. Bellis, S. elegans, and, but very seldom. Actinia Mesembryanthemum. All these I used to pick off the shells with never-wearying patience and care, and drop them into the fictitious seawater and transfer them to my bottle, to which they adhered and made themselves happy. I used to feed them with little morsels of oyster-flesh which I found adhering to the inside of the shells, and when the water would become offensive from the effects of the food, because the quantity of fluid was too small to hold enough oxygen in solution to decompose the dead animal matter fast enough, I poured the water from the little bottles into a great earthenware foot-pan covered with a sheet of glass to keep out dust, and standing in a dark comer of the room The foot-pan was so very large in comparison with ray small bottles that the emptying of them periodically into the pan did not interfere with the water in the latter, so that from it I immediately refilled the bottles, one at a time on successive days. The water in the foot-pan on the floor thus effectually counteracted all tendency at going wrong in the bottles on the window-sill above."
Two years after this, namely, in 1854, Mr. Lloyd sent me two short papers for the 'Zoologist,' which show that his love for sea things continued in all its force. These exhibit beyond all question the deep, and I may almost say, the devout attention, with which he studied Nature at this period: his "Note on the Habits of Limnea stagnalis" (Zool. 4248) is a master-piece of descriptive writing. Of course I was anxious to know such a man, and in March, 1855, I found him located at 164, St. John Street Road, in company with poverty and sea anemones, sacrificing all worldly considerations for a love of Science. Other papers soon followed, intituled severally "Occurrence of Edwardsia vestita in Britain" (Zool.5I8O) and "Note on a Sea Cucumber in Confinement" (Zool. 5181). These exhibit in an especial degree three great qualifications of a naturalist - 1st, the knowledge which leads to the instant selection of what is peculiarly worthy of observation; 2ndly, the faculty of observing systematically, or in the words of De la Beche, the knowledge "how to observe"; and 3rdly, the power of defining the observations: these qualities Mr. Lloyd possessed and possesses in an eminent degree. I have never forgotten, and hope never to forget, that first visit to the great aquarian and the appearance of his little aquariums; glass bottles or cylindrical vessels, some on the table, some on the window-sill, some in the dark, some in the light, - all contributing to his already large stock of knowledge, all revealing secrets previously hidden.
In 1856 he removed to Portland Road, and embarked in business; as a matter of course, the aquarium business, - and almost also as a matter of course, unsuccessfully; he was not cut out for business on his own account; he had no skill in buying and selling; but his reputation as an aquarian was established, and in 1859 he was summoned to Paris, and undertook the management of the aquarium in the Jardin d'Acclimatation.
In 1862 I find Mr. Lloyd again in London, exhibiting an aquarium, worked by compressed air, at the International of 1862, and accompanying the exhibition by the publication of a very clear and compendious account of the principle and construction of aquariums in general and of the Exhibition aquarium in particular.
While thus occupied he was visited by Dr. H. A. Meyer, who was desirous of establishing an aquarium at Hamburg, and this finally led to an arrangement with Baron Merck for Mr. Lloyd's removal to that city and the construction of an aquarium in the Zoological Gardens there, under his sole superintendence: this was opened in the spring of 1864, and soon became eminently popular as well as successful in a pecuniary point of view; the names of the late Dr. Meyer, Professor Mobius, Chief-Justice Schwartz, and the late Baron Ernst von Merck must always be associated with that of Mr. Lloyd in this admirably managed establishment. The sea-water is circulated partly by a water-pressure engine set in motion by the town water-works, which drive a pair of water-pumps (instead of compressing air as was done in Paris), and partly by a steam engine which drives two other pumps.
"The great pecuniary success of the Hamburg Aquarium caused other aquariums to be erected in various ports of the Continent, namely, in
Hanover and at Boulogne-sur-Mer, in 1866; in the Boulevard Montmartre in Paris, in 1867; in the Reserved Park of the Paris International Exhibition, in the same year, in two places; twice at Havre in 1867 and 1869; in the Zoological Gardens at Brassels, in 1868; in the Flora Gardens at Boulogne, in 1869; and in Berlin, in 1869."-' Official Handbook,' p. 30.
I do not mention these dozen aquariums as under Mr. Lloyd's superintendence, but as called into existence by his successful management at Hamburg and elsewhere. In 1870 be returned to London, at the summons of the "Crystal Palace Aquarium Company," and there he is located at present, and I trust bids fair to become a fixture. And here it is indispensable that I mention that since the Crystal Palace Aquarium was opened two others (at Copenhagen and Brighton) have been completed; five more (at Vienna, Manchester, Southport, San Francisco and Naples) have been commenced; and still three others (at Frankfort, Birkenhead and Rothesay') are partially erected.
We will now enter the Crystal Palace Aquarium, Guide-book in hand, or rather ‘Zoologist’ in hand, for I am indebted to the courtesy of the Crystal Palace Company for the use of their stereo-type plan of the aquarium, which explains the details. I fear I have been a long time in reaching this point, but I hope I have spent that time pleasantly and advantageously; and thus between fear and hope, the two great ingredients of human life, I also enter a restricted passage, which is not without its dangers:
"Contrà, jussa monent Heleni, Scyllam atque Charybdim
Intra utramque viam, leti discrimine parvo,
Ni teneant cursus."
Æneid, book iii line 684.
The prosy style is my Scylla, the florid my Charybdis; I will try to steer between them.
The plan of the aquarium is shown by the plate: in round numbers, it is 400 feet long and 70 feet broad. It is only one story high, and this ground-plan exhibits everything that requires explanation, except a reservoir, which is under ground, and contains 100,000 gallons of sea-water, kept in the dark. On the subject of keeping a very large proportion of the water in the dark a great deal has been said by Mr. E. Edwards, formerly of Menai and now of Chester, Mr. Warington, of London, and Mr. Lloyd. Various contrivances have been tried for keeping a portion of the water of aquariums thus in the dark, on the plea that but little light can penetrate the ocean, a fact strongly supported by the fact that the deep-sea animals are frequently without eyes, or at least without eyes that we are accustomed to consider as such, thus showing that vision is neither required nor possessed at great depths below the surface; on this subject I cannot forbear to quote Mr. Warington.
"When the rays of light strike the glassy surface of the water, the greater part of them are reflected, and those which penetrate are refracted and twisted in various directions by currents of the water; and when the depths are considerable it would be few rays that would penetrate to the bottom; but let the surface become ruffled by the passing wind, and it is little light that can be transmitted; and when the same disturbing cause lashes into waves and foam, not a ray can pass, and all below must be dark as night." - Zool. 5702.
The great bulk of water in the ocean being then in its “dark un-fathomed caves,” the plan of keeping it dark in an aquarium is obviously little more than a direct obedience to the teachings of Nature, and there is little necessity for explaining the principles which require, or the circumstances which accompany, profound darkness. Sea-water constantly exposed to light is apt to become opaque and of a greenish brown colour — a very serious evil in a public aquarium. The darkened tank extends under the floor of the aquarium from end to end (i.e. beneath G, G, F, &c., in the plan) and also under the compartments marked 9 and 10. It is no part of Mr. Lloyd's design to change or renew this vast bulk of water, but it will become necessary to add from time to time a portion of distilled fresh water to compensate for the waste which must inevitably result from evaporation, leakage of pipes, or breakage of glass, this last being a calamity to which all such establishments are unfortunately subject.
Keeping the plan still in band, the compartments or pigeon-holes, representing tanks, are numbered 39 to 60, 1 to 18A, 38 to 28, and 27 to 19, are also filled with water, and contain altogether no less than 20,000 gallons, in which the living objects of the aquarium constantly reside, and all of which are lighted from above, nineteen of them having in addition one side (that fronting the area, G G) of plate-glass, by which means additional light can penetrate the water and illuminate the objects living therein. Thus the entire quantity of water is 120,000 gallons, of which five-sixths is in the dark and one-sixth in the light. This large quantity of water is kept in constant circulation; a steam engine of three-horse power (M) and one of Forbes' patent vulcanite pumps (N) work day and night to raise water from the dark reservoir (G G F) and discharge it into the light reservoirs 9 and 10, at the rate of from 5000 to 7000 gallons per hour.
This engine and pump are necessarily in duplicate, because if either should break down through any unforeseen casualty, the motion of the water would be arrested and the lives of the prisoners jeopardized; indeed, so dependent are these on this sea-like movement of the water, that the stoppage of a pump for a single hour has produced visible effects on their health and spirits. These pumps and engines necessitate the employment of three engine-men, and these relieve each other every eight hours, so that one is always on duly. The exigencies of the animals also necessitate the employment of three other attendants, and I can bear my willing testimony to the great intelligence and unvarying civility of those now employed.
The pumped-up water flows, as I have said, into tanks 9 and 10, half into each; the stream pumped into lank 10 passes to the right, - an aperture having been purposely left in each party wall, as these divisions might be called, - into No. 11, thence into No. 12, and so on until it reaches No. 18 a; here it passes beneath the corridor or pathway (J J J), called the "Attendant's Gallery " in the "Key to Plan," and flows into tank 60; thence it turns to the left, through an earthenware pipe, into tank 59, and so on through tanks 58, 57, 56, 55, 54, 53, 52, 51 and 50, into tank 49, where it falls through a cylinder into the dark tank below. A second stream, also pumped up from below, falls into tank 9, and thence passes to the left into tank 8, and thence into tanks 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, whence it crosses under the corridor (J) into tank 39, and then turning to the right through tanks 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48, finally plunges into the cylinder in tank 49, and there, uniting with the stream I have traced from the right hand, returns to the great abyss below, thence again to be pumped up, when its turn shall arrive, into tanks 9 and 10, and pursue the same course as before. The arrows in the plan show the direction which the stream is continually taking. The animals in the tanks numbered 1 to 18A are intended to be viewed laterally from the saloon (G G F). 1 have already explained that the sides of these tanks facing the saloon are of plate-glass, and therefore the animals can be seen as perfectly as if you were in the sea in a transparent diving-bell: the other row of tanks 39 to 60, is intended for reserves, not open to public inspection: this reserve is very necessary, as casualties by death must of necessity occur now and then: all these forty tanks are on the left or west side of the saloon which is entirely devoted to the public. On the east of the saloon are two apartments (H and I) containing respectively nine and eleven tanks; the whole of these tanks, numbered 19 to 38 inclusive, are very shallow, open at the top, and of a convenient height for viewing the animals vertically, or dorsally, for that is a better term, since we look down on their backs. The water is here circulated much in the manner I have described in those on the west side of the saloon, but the stream is smaller and less rapid: it passes under the floor of the saloon in both instances, into apartment H by means of an invisible pipe B2, and into apartment I by means of an invisible pipe C2. The flow of the water after being pumped into tanks 9 and 10 is caused simply by gravitation, there being a fall of from three to six inches from tank to lank; thus in tanks 9 and 10 the water stands at a height of six feet, while in tanks 1 and 18A it is only three feet. Yet this constant flow Mr. Lloyd considers still insufficient for the supply of oxygen to all the inmates; he has therefore arranged a number of small pipes, one for each tank, with a nipple nearly touching the surface of the water, and through each of these water is forced in a small but powerful stream: in its short passage between the nipple and the surface of the water each of these streams entangles and incorporates a great quantity of air, so that myriads of bubbles of air are driven with great force, but in a state of subdivision so fine as to resemble steam or falling sand, almost or quite to the bottom of each tank, whence they return and re-ascend to the surface with a gentle and deliberate movement strangely contrasting with the violence of the descent. This forcing in of the air corresponds as nearly as possible with what takes place in the ocean when lashed into foam by the violence of the winds; the waves tumbling tumultuously one over another entangle and carry with them by their proverbial violence a vast quantity of air, which, after being dashed downwards, again rises to the surface, having discharged its office of communicating purity to the water and life supporting breath to its inhabitants.
It appears from a paragraph at page 9 of Mr. Lloyd's 'Hand-book,' that he places more reliance on the effects of vegetation than his admirable arrangements for aeration and circulation, just described and explained, would have led us to suppose; nevertheless "if all the necessary vegetation of the Crystal Palace Aquarium could be gathered together, it would, when deprived of water, probably not weigh one ounce": these are Mr. Lloyd's own words; but the passage to which I desire to invite attention is the
"Towards the close of the [last] century, namely in 1790, the late Sir John Graham Dalyell began to keep living marine animals for observation, in his house in Edinburgh; and continued this practice till his death, about 1850; but he changed the seawater two or three times a week, though some of the animals lived for eight or ten years; and one sea anemone (Actinia Mesembryanthemum), taken by him from the sea in August, I828, is still alive and well. But Sir John knew nothing of employing plants to evolve oxygen, and therefore to preserve a balance of life with unchanged water, though Dr. Joseph Priestley (1733 - 1804), the discoverer of oxygen gas, and the first observer of the fact that that gas is emitted by plants under the influence of light, and therefore the earliest enunciator of the main principle on which the maintenance of aquariums depends, had published this discovery and observations. Ingenhousz also had shown that plants evolved this gas. Therefore if Dalyell knew this, he did not apply the principle." - ' Handbook,' p. 9.
However, I have a widely different object in introducing this notice of Sir John's aquariums and their success. Mr. Lloyd, who never leaves a stone unturned if there be a chance of finding a particle of information beneath it, obtained access to Sir John's quartos, [‘Rare and Remarkable Animals of Scotland.’ By Sir John Graham Dalyell, bart. 2 Vols. 4to. 1847-8. ‘The Powers of the Creator displayed in the Creation.’ Same author. 3Vols. 4to, 1851-8.] with a view of ascertaining his practice, his experience, and his views, at a period when this now engrossing subject was almost totally ignored; but in doing so he found explanations that required explaining. Miss Dalyell, a sister of the Baronet, was then still living in Edinburgh, and, although at the advanced age of nearly a hundred years, was in full possession of her faculties and her memory: he therefore conceived the idea of framing a series of questions on those points which appeared obscure, and of respectfully soliciting information. It was indeed a bold step, but a successful one. To these questions Miss Dalyell most obligingly sent the following categorical replies, which cannot fail to be read with the deepest interest. My sincere thanks are due to Mr. Lloyd for having, unsolicited and unreservedly, placed these letters in my hands for the express purpose of illustrating this notice of his 'Handbook.' Miss Dalyell's replies evince a wonderful retention of faculties to extreme old age, but also prove what an observant and intelligent interest she must have taken, during very many years, in her brother's scientific pursuits.
Miss E. Dalyell to Mr. W. A. Lloyd.
8, St. Colme Street,
3 Jannary, 1860.
Sir, - In answer to your enquiries regarding the way Sir John Graham Dalyell kept his marine animals, I will certainly give you all the information I possibly can, by in the first place telling you the vessels containing them were all made of the very finest, clearest glass, wide at the top, just the same width as at the bottom: they were invariably round, and all sizes, some short, some long, some wider, some not so wide.
I cannot remember ever seeing more than one fine specimen in one glass; no marine plant whatever was in the water where the animals dwelt. Sir John fed them himself; what he gave them I do not exactly know, but raw mussel I know was one thing: he kept many of his subjects eight and ten years alive. He was most particular in giving them sea-water always out of the sea, when it was flowing: he changed the water every morning, often twice a day, if be perceived the smallest fragment amongst it, wiping and washing the glasses very clean. He got sea-water always twice a week, and sometimes three times; it was carried in an earthenware jar holding about three or four gallons of water: a person was specially employed for the purpose.
Sir John's subjects were always kept on a shelf under the window of his study; it was situated in the north out-look; whether they were put there for any purpose I don't know, but I think it was just to put them anywhere out of the way; sometimes he had a fire in his study and sometimes none. He understood nothing of Marine Botany; his chief aim was water fresh from the sea, when it was flowing and full of animalculæ, and particularly clean vessels. If I can give you any more information upon the subject I will be happy to do it
I remain your obͭ. Servͭ.
Miss E. Dalyell to Mr. W. A. Lloyd.8, St Colme Street,
Sir, - Your letter of the 18th of January reached me, but it being a difficult task for me to perform furnishing you with dates, I am sorry to say I am unable to perform it further than to mention, the first aquatic subject I found was dated in the year 1790, and as a curiosity I desired it to be engraved upon one of the copper-plates. It is the river worm which forms into a little fly. As you have the work, you will observe a little fly and beside it a black little worm; the worm ought to have been of the most brilliant scarlet colour. I know as to the Hydra tuba. Sir John was busily engaged about experimenting upon it in the years 1800 and 1808. This is all the information I can give you. I know very well once every subject was dated, but where these dates are now I cannot tell.
I am, Sir,
Your obͭ- Servͭ.
Here then I conclude my observations on aquariums and arrangements for their maintenance. I have in reserve sundry notes as to their inhabitants, which are perhaps rather more in my way. I confess to feeling a greater interest in living beings than in the mechanical arrangements for their benefit. Still I shall do my best to explain should explanation be required at my hands, and shall only be too happy to receive questions that I can answer.
I should also like to add that although I have mentioned only one 'Handbook,' it is because I knew of only one when I commenced this notice. Since then I have received a second, the 'Official Guide Book to the Brighton Aquarium,' by W. Saville Kent, F.L.S., F.Z.S. It is a pleasant and readable account of that magnificent building, and I hope to return to it again and again. In the mean time I would impress on the compilers of these books the value of simplicity. They themselves luxuriate, aye revel, in technicalities and what is called the language of Science; but they must not on this account hope to inspire the general public with the same refined taste. Visitors to these aquariums are for the most part, like myself, "out for a holiday." On such occasions we do not absolutely abjure the idea of receiving instruction from books, but neither are we disposed to expend much labour in the pursuit of knowledge.
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