Hugo Mulertt

As Hugo and his horse crossed Sailor’s Creek, he must have felt like he was living in a nightmare. The winter would not surrender to the April sun and the enemy would not cease firing. He was so very far from anything that remotely resembled home. That place, “home,” he had left behind in Leipsic, Germany. The journey was set, the ocean was crossed only to find a country in war with its self. Like many immigrants Hogo Mulertt’s citizenship was determined by his willingness to serve in the union army. But his heart, his heart was somewhere other than the civil war. I imagine he often returned to the old Castle moat and the little fishes he found as a boy in his dreams. Even as an old man he told of “catching all sorts of swimming and creeping things” in that pond, in that place, at that time.

The Aquarium Magazine

Hugo would survive the “Civil War” and ten years later he could be found in Cincinnati where he advertised himself as an “Aquarist and Florist” he specialized in “Native and foreign ornamental fish.” Some call Mulertt the father of the aquarium. Yet the aquarium came centuries before, and he certainly was not the first to play in a pond, but what he did do is organize the hobby. He edited the first real hobby magazine “The Aquarium,” wrote several books on the topic, and introduced many first to his aquarium readers. He imported the first kept cichlid, goldfish, Sagittaria natans, and was the only American man to breed a new strain of goldfish. You may have heard of it, the “Comet.” “The first of this type (comet goldfish) I produced by a lucky crossing, and this occurred in the summer of 1881 when a long-tailed comet was illuminating the heavens. I named it “Comet,” the large tail and it’s elongated structure being the prominent feature in its appearance.” …. Mulertt

Comet Goldfish

Later in life he moved to Brooklyn New York and took a position at the Packer institute where he taught natural science. In the main building of the school as you walked up the stairs you were greeted by a large beautiful aquarium maintained by you know who. Through this blog you will read his name often, because he was connected with the early aquarium. Still he was just another little child, that played in a lost pond, and caught a life long love.

Sagittaria natans

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