I found this aquarium and stand at an antique store in Cincinnati back in Nov. It was complete except for the four eagle finials that were originally on each top corner of the tank and the four plant holders that were originally on each corner of the stand. Even so, aquariums from the Victorian era are exceedingly rare. This is a cast iron tank made by the C.F. Klepper Co. of Covington, Kentucky with a patent date of 2/21/1882. So it never made it far from where it was originally made around 130 years ago. It was most likely originally black and was repainted green at some point in its life. It also sustained damage to one of the aquarium corners, the top iron rectangle, and a couple spots on the base. I don't know if it was knocked over, thrown, who knows. It was welded back together with what looks like bronze so it was most likely repaired long ago. The bottom of the aquarium had some kind of black material which was supposed to keep the bottom from rusting out but it had failed at some point since there was rust on the bottom. Normally I would have siliconed a piece of glass on the bottom like what is done with slate bottomed tanks but this bottom extends a couple of inches below the bottom of the glass sides apparently to hide the substrate. I liked this idea so decided to try a different approach. I had the bottom sandblasted down to the bare metal and did a little research on the net and found an epoxy product that is fish safe. I applied several layers of this to seal the metal from contact with water. I also repainted the tank as it had several rusted areas. I removed the glass which was single thickness and dismantled the tank. I ordered some stainless steel threaded rods, ss lock nuts, and ss cap nuts. The tank would have originally had these but they probably rusted away long ago. The corners had the remnants of the original sealant which had turned to petrified black rock. I chiseled this all out and had them sandblasted as well. The tank is now ready for glass and some eagle finials I just ordered.
This is the photo the antique store had of it:
Here's the before photos:
Here's the after:
Here's the underside showing the makers mark and patent date:
Wow, what an interesting find! What are your future plans for it?
I'm going to make it into a planted tank with fish, etc. just like any other tank. I'd like to get some black angelfish because I can't keep them in my other tank since they'll eat any fish that will fit in their mouth and I have endlers as well as other small fish.
Thanks, by the way I love your fish. I'm going to see what you have when the weather is better this spring and place another order. My first order from you had zero casualties and everything looked good and was healthy.