This is a fairly thorough history of how angelfish were first discovered by The Western Nations and how this beautiful fish became a symbol and benchmark for what was possible in the Aquarium Hobby when using science, education and technological innovations in conjunction with word of mouth experience and published aquarist club newsletters and later magazines.

The Pterophyllum scalare, is the first spawned and most commonly owned pet angelfish and was first bred in Germany in 1905, and later in the United Stated of America in 1917. At the time, a tank of these fish could easily cost more than the newly invented automobile! a Ford Model T or Model A would cost around $800 to $900 new and a single angel fish of the same time period could fetch 75 dollars each!

Early hobbyists in Paris, Munich, Berlin, London and the USA often spent several thousand dollars on ornate aquariums and collecting rare species that frequently died in transport. In fact it was not unusual to see many fish keepers preserving more fish in jars than keeping live fish thriving in tanks, during these early days.

By the 1920s and Early 1930s thanks to the work of hobbyists like Wilhelm Eimeke of Germany, William Paullin (Philadelphia), Franklin Barrett (New York City and later Chicago), Julius Riewe (Chicago), dr. Mulertt (Cincinnati Ohio and inventor of the “German Shipping Can” in use from 1881-1937). The west coast’s first tropical fish breeder and seller Frank Locke of San Francisco and countless others around the USA, these fish became a very sought after item, and were seen as a gold standard of Skill and Beauty by any fish enthusiast of the day.

by 1924 The Aquatic World Magazine of Baltimore, Aquarium World, and “The Home Aquarium Bulletin ” were advertising electric radiators, pumps, filters, heaters and aeration technology, as well as the skill and expertise needed to keep difficult and fragile freshwater tropical fish.

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