Price Points: Aquaria

Selection of aquaria | H is for Home

This week’s Price Points features a trio of aquaria.

We’ve both kept fish at various times in the past – both outdoors and indoors. A well kept aquarium is certainly not maintenance free, but we’d say that in most cases it’s relatively easy to keep healthy, happy and attractive fish in the home. They need enough space to move and explore, some natural features to add interest to the living environment, filtration systems & plants to keep water in optimum condition. They’re both fascinating and calming to watch.

We’ve chosen three aquaria that certainly fulfil the varying costs of the price points brief, ranging from £33 to over £700.

Once you have your aquarium correctly set up, you’ll just need to attend to the cleaning and feeding. A small price to pay for so much pleasure and visual interest.

And if you’re afraid that you may forget to feed the fish – the amazing, self-sufficient eco-sphere housing shrimp and algae could be the solution.

  1. Umbra Fish Hotel: £33, Red Candy

    Featuring asymmetrical glass windows and a decidedly cubist design, this cod condo has a contemporary style… The glass inner cube can be removed from the out ABS white shell for easy cleaning, and if you fishy friend gets lonely, then just stack another Fish Hotel on top! Dimensions: 19 x 19 x 20cm.

  2. Biorb aquarium 105: £330, Pets at Home

    The biological filtration in the Biorb 105 remains in the aquarium at all times, ensuring that filtration is not disturbed when maintenance is carried out. The Biorb offers multi-stage filtration, every cartridge contains mechanical filtration, chemical filtration and water optimisers to give your fish the ideal water conditions and keep maintenance lower for you. The high performance intelligent LED light is one of the most advanced lights in the aquarium market. The intelligent light replicates natural daylight, with a gradual sunrise and sunset which automatically fades into a blue moonlight after the day time cycle has completed. Approximate Dimensions: H62 x W60 x D60cm.

  3. Extra large Sphere EcoSphere: £729.09, Amazon

    This fascinating enclosed world contains 30-35 marine shrimp, algae and micro-organisms. Made from hand-blown glass, each EcoSphere is a completely enclosed, self-sustaining little world. The EcoSphere only needs indirect light and comfortable room temperature (between 60 & 80ºF / 15.5 & 26.6ºC). The EcoSphere works on the basis that a closed system recycles its nutrients and does not produce excess waste. The shrimp consume the algae and micro-organisms and they, in turn, break down the shrimp waste. External light, either artificial or natural, keeps the algae growing. There is no feeding or water changes required. Each EcoSphere comes with a replacement, recharge or upgrade policy. Dimensions 22.9 x 22.9 x 22.9cm.

shop aquaria

Umbra Fish Hotel
Umbra Fish Hotel
Biorb Aquarium 105, silver
Biorb Aquarium 105, silver
Extra Large Sphere EcoSphere
Extra Large Sphere EcoSphere
Umbra Fish Hotel
Umbra Fish Hotel
Biorb Aquarium 105, silver
Biorb Aquarium 105, silver
Extra Large Sphere EcoSphere
Extra Large Sphere EcoSphere
Umbra Fish Hotel
Umbra Fish Hotel
Biorb Aquarium 105, silver
Biorb Aquarium 105, silver
Extra Large Sphere EcoSphere
Extra Large Sphere EcoSphere

It’s a bit Fishy

Detail of yellow and mauve Aquarius fish plate | H is for Home

Last week, we featured a wonderful set of vintage bull plates – this week we have some equally fantastic fish plates!

Stacked set of vintage Aquarius fish plates | H is for Home

We bought five of the set in a single purchase and then managed to track down the missing plate in the following days.

Full set of vintage Aquarius fish plates | H is for Home

It’s now a fabulous and complete set of six.

Collection of vintage Aquarius fish plates | H is for Home

They’re highly stylised with beautiful detailing – dancing air bubbles, fluttering scales and swirling fins. We certainly haven’t seen anything similar in the local rivers or canals!

Back stamp on a vintage Aquarius fish plate | H is for Home

They’re from the Aquarius range produced by Washington Pottery in the 1960s. In 1970, Washington Pottery became English Ironstone Pottery Ltd. Three years later, it became English Ironstone Tableware Ltd, so you can trace the age of an item from its back stamp.

Detail from a purple & orange Aquarius fish plate | H is for Home

As with the bull plates, these colourful fish plates would look amazing displayed on a long shelf or mounted on a wall. Both types are listed in our web shop.

Charity Vintage: Washington Pottery Aquarius fish plates

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vintage Washington Pottery Aquarius fish plates for sale by & in support of Sense
(end 4 Dec, 2014 20:35:24 GMT)

Sense currently has listed two lots of these fabulous vintage Aquarius fish plates – this set of three pictured and another set of four. A couple of the plates are duplicates;  so, if you wanted to bid on both lots, of the seven plates you can make a set of four and have two spares.

The going rate for one of these plates is about £12 to £25. This set of three is currently £8 and the set of 4 is £6.99 – so bargains!

They’re a great way to glam up your Friday fish & chips and mushy peas – or should we say sole de Douvres et pomme frites avec purée de pois? 🙂

*Sense is a national charity supporting and campaigning for children and adults who are deafblind. They provide information, advice and services to deafblind people, their families and carers. Their eBay stores aim to maximise the profits from items donated to their charity.

Tuesday Huesday: Pescado

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illustration from Cartilla escolar de alimentación para niños de 7 a 10 años illustrated by F. Chaves Martinez

This image is one of almost 200 in Carme Sala’s gorgeous vintage illustration collection on Flickr. It’s from Cartilla escolar de alimentación para niños de 7 a 10 años (translated as School feeding primer for children 7 to 10 years old) first published in 1973. The illustrations were done by F. Martinez Chaves.

As well as collecting vintage children’s books, posters and other images, Carme is a graphic designer & illustrator in her own right and has a wonderful blog, La meva maleta, where she shares her inspirations.

Something Fishy!

Bill Charmatz fish illustration

Whether it be the physical landscape itself or the flora & fauna contained within it, artists and designers have been influenced by nature over the centuries.

Inspiration drawn from mountains, rivers, lakes, seas, clouds, trees, birds, fish, plants, flowers are all reflected in their work.

We thought it would be fun to take these broad themes and show their influence on the creative process. For no particular reason, we’re going to start with fish!

Poole Pottery Aegean plate Pottery plate decorated with three fish
vintage 1960s pottery plates
vintage pottery plate

We might feature stuff from any decade, but there will, no doubt, be a mid 20th century bias as we love this era and are always drawn to vintage pieces from the 50s, 60s & 70s.

Vintage green glass fish dish
Large 1950s green glass dish

Small green art glass fish sculpture Small blue art glass fish sculpture
1960s art glass sculptures

Stylised fish were a much-used design motif in this mid 20th century period – in art, design and everyday homewares.

vintage fish collage artwork
Collage entitled Fish Fossil Sea Bed by Andrew Rob, 1970

Pottery serving dish detail detail of Swedish pottery serving dish
1960s iron trivet | Swedish serving dish (Dukat)

vintage fish plate detail vintage fish plate detail
Aquarius series fish plates by Washington Pottery

vintage John Clappison Hornsea Pottery mug Small vintage pottery pin dish
John Clappison, Hornsea Pottery | Bernard Moss Pentewan Pottery

Trio of wall mountable pottery fish
Hornsea Pottery wall-mountable fish… who needs flying ducks? 🙂

Also, the artistic treatment given in cookbooks etc can be quite magical. Two of our undoubted favourites are Bill Charmatz and Charley Harper.

Bill Charmatz illustration of a fish stock pot Bill Charmatz illustration of fish in a fryer basket Bill Charmatz illustration of a cat and fish in a bowl
Bill Charmatz – from the Esquire Cook Book first published in Great Britain in 1956.

Charley Harper illustration of fish with a thermometer in its mouth
Charley Harper – from Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two first published in 1958.

Charley Harper illustration of a flat fish Charley Harper illustration of a fish with a tangled fishing line in its mouth

Finally, to show that nature can do a pretty good job herself, we picked up this fossil from a great little shop in Hastings. Preserved in green river shales, it’s 45 million years old (hopefully you won’t be waiting that long for the launch of our website!).

image of fossilised fish
Knightia alta, Eocene period. Origin: Wyoming