Sometimes sitting in front of an aquarium full of gentle fish is enough to let all your cares drift away. The soft swish of fins, their beautiful colors, and the tranquility of aquarium life can give anyone a relaxed sense of peace.
The phrase "aquarium therapy" was coined around the 1990s to highlight how beneficial owning an aquarium can be in reducing stress — even the CDC acknowledges that owning fish can help calm you. If you're looking to de-stress your life, check out these five ways owning an aquarium can help bring peace and calm to your world.
1. Aquariums Are Relaxing and Calming
The soft sound of moving water in an aquarium can be very soothing. It's so relaxing that it's often used in relaxation music and apps. But water alone isn't enough to produce the relaxing, calming effects we love from aquariums. Researchers compared how calming an empty aquarium filled with water is compared to an aquarium with fish. They determined that having more fish (or even any fish at all) increases the calming effect on our bodies.
Some people believe this is due to the back-and-forth, soft swimming movement of fish, lulling you into a sense of peace similar to hypnosis. Others think it's the connection to nature that soothes you.
2. Fish Can Improve Your Mood
Caring for fish doesn't just relax you, but it can also improve your mood. There's something special about watching brightly colored fish swimming in your tank, knowing you've made a difference in their well-being. Caring for any pet — fish or mammal — can help ease loneliness. And even though you can't physically cuddle your fish, studies have shown that watching fish can lift your mood.
3. Aquariums May Help Reduce Blood Pressure and Heart Rates
Aquariums have tangible effects on our physiology, including lowering blood pressure. While an empty aquarium with just plants can help improve your blood pressure, you're more likely to see results with an aquarium full of fish. It may even help reduce your heart rate in just a few minutes.
4. Fish May Help Reduce Anxiety and Muscle Tension
Keeping fish can help calm you when you experience a case of the jitters. This calming effect is why you often see aquariums in dentists' and doctors' offices — to help patients relax before their appointments.
This is perhaps partly due to aquarium therapy's ability to help decrease muscle tension, which can bring a greater sense of well-being. And all this relaxation might even help you sleep better.
5. Watching Fish Encourages You to Slow Down
Aquariums are quiet and slow. To really understand and connect with your fish, you have to sit quietly and observe them. But the experience can be even more fulfilling if you go beyond observation and interact with your fish. Try playing gentle games with your fish, watching them closely when you feed them, and giving them treats. Use this time to practice your photography skills with your smartphone and take fun photos of your fish.
Aquarium life provides a sharp contrast to the fast pace of the world, with expectations and demands always pressing in. Aquariums — like yoga or meditation — allow you to still your thoughts.
Aquariums Are a Beneficial Investment
Aquariums are a worthwhile investment that benefits the entire family: from your youngest child to your grandparents. The soothing water and gentle fish can relax your muscles, lower your heart rate, and give you an overall sense of well-being. If you find yourself more stressed than usual, consider adding an aquarium to your living room. It may bring the soothing calmness you need.
If you're new to aquarium caretaking, our ultimate fishkeeping guide can keep things simple while starting this new journey. And a beautiful starter kit is an easy way to get going.