Newts and tadpoles are to be found in almost any pond in early spring, and village urchins are only too glad to earn a few pence by collecting them. A few small Japanese sunfish, though more expensive, make delightful inmates for an aquarium. Big fat fish, measuring two or three inches long, cost from is. 6d. to 3s. each, according to size. Water-spiders and water-beetles may be had for twopence each, but should be kept in a glass jar by themselves, provided with a piece of water weed.
Newts and tadpoles may be introduced with advantage, and are very interesting to watch; but if newts are included, the aquarium must be provided with a cover, or they are extremely apt to leave the water and take a stroll about the room.
The feeding of the fish is an important matter. The best plan is to feed them every day, or at least three times a week, giving only a very small quantity of food at a time.
For goldfish,, roach, and dace, give vermicelli, and an occasional dead fly will be appreciated. Breadcrumbs and biscuits are to be strictly avoided.
Tortoises, eels and newts like small worms, and eels also welcome tiny minnows. All discarded food should be removed from the tank a couple of hours after feeding-time - a pair of long modern forceps will be found very useful for the purpose.
The squirt is filled with water from the aquarium, which is afterwards squirted back into it from a height of a couple of feet, or the watering-can is filled in the same way and the water returned through the rose from a considerable height. Failing either of these methods, the water may be stirred briskly with a short piece of cane.
In order to keep the surface of the water free from dust, a lid should be provided, arranged in such a way that while access is provided to the outside air it prevents any of the inmates from jumping out of the water or otherwise taking their walks abroad.
If dust settles on the water in spite of all precautions, it can easily be removed with the help of a sheet of blotting-paper laid for a moment on the surface. When the blotting-paper is removed the dust will move away with it. It is very important to keep the water of an aquarium as clean as possible.
Photo, Rita Martin