Aquariums, not just easy-to-care-for pets
Aquarium health benefits might not be the first consideration when you decide to set up a new tank. We often consider setting up a tank to add beauty or character to a room. Restaurants, hotels, and other public areas utilize these self-contained environments to beautify and entertain. And they do indeed add a dimension to the room that no wall hanging or statue can imitate.
However, these mini-worlds provide so much more than most of us realize. Even a simple display of common guppies or goldfish provides a sense of tranquility and calmness. Add a few natural plants to create more serene landscape.
Most of us enjoy watching fish slowly navigate their aquarium world, however we don’t realize the health benefits these little water-dwelling animals. But the medical profession knows their value. In many doctor and dentist offices, as well as hospitals, aquariums ease nervous patients and entertain guests.
Aquarium health benefits for all
An aquarium, even a small sized one with a few fish, has been shown in studies to have physiological and psychological benefits. While many studies focus on young and middle-aged adults, others concentrate on the benefits for children and the elderly.
In all age groups, studies show a pronounced reduction in blood pressure, anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Children with hyperactivity disorders show a remarkable calming effect when viewing an aquarium. Moreover, this affect is not diluted over time. A home aquarium continues to benefit children, as does one in the classroom.
More recent studies reveal the positive effect on our senior citizens. While all benefit, those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia show several benefits. A 1999 study at Purdue University found that aquarium viewing was associated with better appetite and eating habits, less stress, lower blood pressure, and more satisfaction. The study concluded that senior citizens would see substantial benefits from having an aquarium in their home or facility. Moreover, it cited the benefits to the facility. Patients with these benefits might require less medication, less supplementation, and overall be happier with a higher quality of life.
What type of aquarium is needed?
Aquarium health benefits don’t require a 300 gallon salt tank. The studies show that freshwater or saltwater fish with a nicely decorated tank provide equal results. Interestingly, a tank with no fish was not as beneficial.
What size and type of tank can you afford and maintain? First time aquarium keepers might choose to begin with a freshwater tank. Although a little more challenging, saltwater tanks offer choices not available with freshwater tanks. With either type, choose the largest tank your space and finances easily allow and populate it with few fish to begin. It’s important to note that these mental and physical health benefits come from a well-kept tank. A dirty tank with sick fish may cause less than desirable effects.
While fish-keeping might seem easy, even experienced aquarists find building a strong relationship with their local pet store to be invaluable. Trustworthy pet stores offer knowledge and consultation before and after you purchase. Many offer set-up and maintenance services, as well. Those that don’t will guide you through the process.
Aquariums offer health benefits that often compensate for their cost and maintenance time. An aquarium in your home may be just what the doctor ordered!
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