I was just a kid in the sixties, but I remember a couple of ten gallons with steel frames and slate bottoms. Wish I still had them.
We lived out in the country, and kept mostly native fish that we caught ourselves. We fed them worms that we dug. We never could get the water to stay clear- no matter how often we drained it, scrubbed the rocks and gravel, etc. We had never heard of cycling.