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History dude

Tropical Fish Craze In The 70's & 80's

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History dude

Not certain why but back in the 70's and early 80's lots of shops sprung up selling Tropical Fish. Tanks seem to appear in everybody's homes, not just the dentist surgery. Most people had a 24 X 12 x 12 tank, that didn't leak thanks to the introduction of Silicone Rubber sealants. The stuff that's now used to seal baths to the wall.

One reason why Sheffield people went mad for fish tanks could have been the Hole In The Road fish tank!

Shops selling them appeared all over Sheffield. One of my favourites was one called Aqua Marine Tropicals up Broad Street. But most people knew it has Gordon's, after the chap that ran it. Even if you didn't buy your fish from him, you went to him for advice or if you had sick fish!

I rather suspect many of us got into fish keeping from School biology lessons. At Hurlfield they had several large tanks to study fish. I suppose it was cheaper and more practical than keeping cows!

By the 80's a MASSIVE place was set up on West Bar, called the International Aquatic Centre. That had a room that got so hot it was like going to the tropics! After that the craze seems to have died. All that left is a few odd shops scattered around, and the odd Garden Centre that mostly stocks pond materials. The last vestiges of the Tropical Fish phase to hit Sheffield.

Back in 1978 if you mentioned a Neon Tetra or a Guppy to anyone in Sheffield chances are they would have known what you were talking about. Do the same today and they would think you were talking about aliens or some kind of computer game.

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DaveH

Not certain why but back in the 70's and early 80's lots of shops sprung up selling Tropical Fish. Tanks seem to appear in everybody's homes, not just the dentist surgery. Most people had a 24 X 12 x 12 tank, that didn't leak thanks to the introduction of Silicone Rubber sealants. The stuff that's now used to seal baths to the wall.

One reason why Sheffield people went mad for fish tanks could have been the Hole In The Road fish tank!

Shops selling them appeared all over Sheffield. One of my favourites was one called Aqua Marine Tropicals up Broad Street. But most people knew it has Gordon's, after the chap that ran it. Even if you didn't buy your fish from him, you went to him for advice or if you had sick fish!

I rather suspect many of us got into fish keeping from School biology lessons. At Hurlfield they had several large tanks to study fish. I suppose it was cheaper and more practical than keeping cows!

By the 80's a massive place was set up on West Bar, called the International Aquatic Centre. That had a room that got so hot it was like going to the tropics! After that the craze seems to have died. All that left is a few odd shops scattered around, and the odd Garden Centre that mostly stocks pond materials. The last vestiges of the Tropical Fish phase to hit Sheffield.

Back in 1978 if you mentioned a Neon Tetra or a Guppy to anyone in Sheffield chances are they would have known what you were talking about. Do the same today and they would think you were talking about aliens or some kind of computer game.

I didn't do tropical fish until the late 1990's when my young son took an interest.

I still have the tank, and maintain it, although today it doesn't contain tropical fish, - it is now a coldwater tank with goldfish, mainly because my son has grown up and left home and I want minimum maintenance and fuss.

I agree that fishkeeping has declined, but I still now specialist suppliers, - they are still around but fewer and further away, mainly NOT in Sheffield.

I also keep birds as pets, - these have also declined in popularity as pets, mainly since the "Bird Flu" scare of a few years ago.

Having said that, my son now keeps reptiles in a vivarium. This is quite popular at present even though they need a fair bit of equipment and looking after. Now in the 1970's and 80's I don't know anyone who was keeping lizards and dragons as pets in their homes.

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SteveHB

Anyone heard of, or remember 'Frank The Tank' he had a shop, think it was somewhere near Upwell Street ?

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lysander

I remember Frank and his poor Nurse Shark that started out gold fish size and ended up bigger than the biggest tank he could house. Fascinating but scruffy shop which my son and I, we were both keen aquarists, visited almost every Saturday morning!

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Bayleaf

Back in the days of 'the three day week' with its rota power cuts, I had a neighbour who had two very big tanks of tropical fish. His wife used to get annoyed with his 'obsession', but the last straw was having to fill hot water bottles and put them in the tanks when the power went off!

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