Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Community Forum > Aquaria Off-Topic
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 08-02-2011, 11:49 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Patterson333's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 314
Fishkeeping in 1960s Cuba

Hi all! So when I first got into fishkeeping about three years ago, my father took a pretty intense interest in it. When I asked him why, he told me about how he used to keep fish when he was growing up in Cuba.

However, before I go any further, allow me first to say: I do not, in any way, shape, or form, endorse keeping fish in these conditions nowadays. Please keep in mind that this was a very different culture and during a period in time in which fishkeeping was nowhere near as common as it is today.

That said, I still think it's a story worth telling because it's a nice little insight into a piece of fishkeeping history.

Alright, so back to the story. My father told me that the only fish that were available to them at first were guppies, and that they were sold by a man who had been keeping and breeding them for a long time. Now here's the only problem they had. This was post-revolutionary Cuba, and it was impossible for a Cuban to buy a fish tank. So they kept the fish either in large empty barrels, or in small glass vases. The problem was that you couldn't really see them in the barrels, and they didn't last very long at all in the vases.

However, culturally, Cubans have always had a remarkable ability to make do with what they got, and that's exactly what they did. What my father and his friends ended up doing was getting themselves some old dead batteries off of boats. From his description of the batteries, they seemed to have been about the size of a 20 gallon tank. They would clean the batteries out with seawater (soap had become a bit of a luxury), and they would cut a really large square hole in one side of the battery. They would then get pieces of glass (my dad said he didn't remember where they would manage to find them), and have them cut to the right size to cover the hole they had cut. They would glue that glass in place over the hole, and use these "batteries with windows" as their fish tanks. They would replace half the water with fresh tap water a few times a week (the water in Cuba wasn't chlorinated). As far as food goes, my father says they used to feed the fish leftover banana peels, and also some bits of coconut every once in a while.

Remember that part where I said I don't endorse keeping fish like this? Well, in case it isn't immediately obvious to you, keeping fish in emptied out batteries and feeding them banana peels probably isn't very healthy for the fish. That said, my dad's story serves as a testament to the hardiness of guppies and other livebearers. He told me that they would have many deaths, but that the population was kept more or less stable as they would also breed prolifically. In fact they had enough fry that they were able to sell them to others.

My father left Cuba in 1970, and he and my grandparents were only allowed to take the clothes on their backs with them. Needless to say, the fish stayed behind; he had entrusted them to a good friend of his. My father has since lost contact with him, but he doesn't doubt that there are still people in Cuba today, keeping fish in whatever they have available to them, and he tells me he wonders sometimes if maybe his colony of guppies is still around somewhere on the island.

Sorry for the long read! If you made it all the way through, I hope you found it interesting!
__________________

__________________
Patterson333 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2011, 11:56 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Fultonham, Ohio
Posts: 575
A fascinating look at Cuban culture. Thanks so much for taking the time to relay the story. I enjoyed it very much.
__________________

__________________
Maya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 12:52 AM   #3
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
WhiteWolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 22
Interesting, thank you for sharing.
__________________
WhiteWolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 01:49 AM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
hippy guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Lexvegas Kentucky
Posts: 1,227
That was a cool story! Deff. A. Nice read, thanks
__________________
Bada Bing, Bada Betta
hippy guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 02:22 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
GoldieLocks1's Avatar

POTM Champion
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: England
Posts: 305
That's a cool story, thanks for sharing it.
__________________
"Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast"
- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 2.3
GoldieLocks1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 02:46 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
rdnelson99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Atlanta GA
Posts: 1,861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patterson333 View Post
Hi all! So when I first got into fishkeeping about three years ago, my father took a pretty intense interest in it. When I asked him why, he told me about how he used to keep fish when he was growing up in Cuba.

However, before I go any further, allow me first to say: I do not, in any way, shape, or form, endorse keeping fish in these conditions nowadays. Please keep in mind that this was a very different culture and during a period in time in which fishkeeping was nowhere near as common as it is today.

That said, I still think it's a story worth telling because it's a nice little insight into a piece of fishkeeping history.

Alright, so back to the story. My father told me that the only fish that were available to them at first were guppies, and that they were sold by a man who had been keeping and breeding them for a long time. Now here's the only problem they had. This was post-revolutionary Cuba, and it was impossible for a Cuban to buy a fish tank. So they kept the fish either in large empty barrels, or in small glass vases. The problem was that you couldn't really see them in the barrels, and they didn't last very long at all in the vases.

However, culturally, Cubans have always had a remarkable ability to make do with what they got, and that's exactly what they did. What my father and his friends ended up doing was getting themselves some old dead batteries off of boats. From his description of the batteries, they seemed to have been about the size of a 20 gallon tank. They would clean the batteries out with seawater (soap had become a bit of a luxury), and they would cut a really large square hole in one side of the battery. They would then get pieces of glass (my dad said he didn't remember where they would manage to find them), and have them cut to the right size to cover the hole they had cut. They would glue that glass in place over the hole, and use these "batteries with windows" as their fish tanks. They would replace half the water with fresh tap water a few times a week (the water in Cuba wasn't chlorinated). As far as food goes, my father says they used to feed the fish leftover banana peels, and also some bits of coconut every once in a while.

Remember that part where I said I don't endorse keeping fish like this? Well, in case it isn't immediately obvious to you, keeping fish in emptied out batteries and feeding them banana peels probably isn't very healthy for the fish. That said, my dad's story serves as a testament to the hardiness of guppies and other livebearers. He told me that they would have many deaths, but that the population was kept more or less stable as they would also breed prolifically. In fact they had enough fry that they were able to sell them to others.

My father left Cuba in 1970, and he and my grandparents were only allowed to take the clothes on their backs with them. Needless to say, the fish stayed behind; he had entrusted them to a good friend of his. My father has since lost contact with him, but he doesn't doubt that there are still people in Cuba today, keeping fish in whatever they have available to them, and he tells me he wonders sometimes if maybe his colony of guppies is still around somewhere on the island.

Sorry for the long read! If you made it all the way through, I hope you found it interesting!
Very interesting story.
__________________
Since my tank is a birthday present to my wife, everything I spend going forward is just an extension of my love for her right?
rdnelson99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 02:59 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patterson333 View Post
Hi all! So when I first got into fishkeeping about three years ago, my father took a pretty intense interest in it. When I asked him why, he told me about how he used to keep fish when he was growing up in Cuba.

However, before I go any further, allow me first to say: I do not, in any way, shape, or form, endorse keeping fish in these conditions nowadays. Please keep in mind that this was a very different culture and during a period in time in which fishkeeping was nowhere near as common as it is today.

That said, I still think it's a story worth telling because it's a nice little insight into a piece of fishkeeping history.

Alright, so back to the story. My father told me that the only fish that were available to them at first were guppies, and that they were sold by a man who had been keeping and breeding them for a long time. Now here's the only problem they had. This was post-revolutionary Cuba, and it was impossible for a Cuban to buy a fish tank. So they kept the fish either in large empty barrels, or in small glass vases. The problem was that you couldn't really see them in the barrels, and they didn't last very long at all in the vases.

However, culturally, Cubans have always had a remarkable ability to make do with what they got, and that's exactly what they did. What my father and his friends ended up doing was getting themselves some old dead batteries off of boats. From his description of the batteries, they seemed to have been about the size of a 20 gallon tank. They would clean the batteries out with seawater (soap had become a bit of a luxury), and they would cut a really large square hole in one side of the battery. They would then get pieces of glass (my dad said he didn't remember where they would manage to find them), and have them cut to the right size to cover the hole they had cut. They would glue that glass in place over the hole, and use these "batteries with windows" as their fish tanks. They would replace half the water with fresh tap water a few times a week (the water in Cuba wasn't chlorinated). As far as food goes, my father says they used to feed the fish leftover banana peels, and also some bits of coconut every once in a while.

Remember that part where I said I don't endorse keeping fish like this? Well, in case it isn't immediately obvious to you, keeping fish in emptied out batteries and feeding them banana peels probably isn't very healthy for the fish. That said, my dad's story serves as a testament to the hardiness of guppies and other livebearers. He told me that they would have many deaths, but that the population was kept more or less stable as they would also breed prolifically. In fact they had enough fry that they were able to sell them to others.

My father left Cuba in 1970, and he and my grandparents were only allowed to take the clothes on their backs with them. Needless to say, the fish stayed behind; he had entrusted them to a good friend of his. My father has since lost contact with him, but he doesn't doubt that there are still people in Cuba today, keeping fish in whatever they have available to them, and he tells me he wonders sometimes if maybe his colony of guppies is still around somewhere on the island.

Sorry for the long read! If you made it all the way through, I hope you found it interesting!
cool story,neat to see how fish were kept back then
__________________
nearly a year of complete inactivity and still over 4 posts per day. dedication, eh?
alLexX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 04:01 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
skiweeangel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,235
thanks for sharing! a great read
__________________
skiweeangel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 04:21 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Near St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 335
You have to admit, it makes you look at the DIY projects you might be putting off and think "Ya know...Maybe that isn't so challenging." heh. Ideal, no... creative solution, yes.
__________________
ShadoeFox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 04:24 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
HAVAMAL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: St Charles MO
Posts: 272
That's amazing!
Thanks for sharing!
__________________

__________________
I DON'T KEEP FISH I KEEP WATER THE FISH TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES!
HAVAMAL is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fishkeeping myths that just refuse to die roundar Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 6 09-01-2011 04:33 PM
Hc cuba problem Atxpunx Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks 7 08-17-2011 10:57 PM
Fishkeeping ethics jetajockey Aquaria Off-Topic 75 08-11-2011 10:08 PM







» Photo Contest Winners








Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.