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  • Writer's pictureStewart Kessel

Aquariums: Good for Physical & Mental Wellbeing

Fishkeeping Improves Your Mood and Reduces Anxiety and Stress

Did you know that keeping aquarium fish can help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as decrease anxiety and stress, and help improve your physical and mental wellbeing?

Girl gazing at a planted aquarium - good for physical and mental wellbeing

Being outdoors in nature has long been accepted to have a calming and soothing effect on our bodies. Similarly, with fishkeeping, anecdotal evidence has been there for years, one of the reasons why dental, doctor and hospital waiting rooms often house an aquarium to help relax patients. However, more recent scientific studies have gone even further to back up these beliefs.

A study completed by experts from the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University, and the University of Exeter assessed people's physical and mental responses to viewing aquariums and fish. Their studies showed that watching an aquarium improved people's mood, and according to the report's authors, the experiment showed "significant" reductions in participants' heart rates and blood pressure.

The experiment utilised a large, 500,000litre public aquarium and participants of the study viewed the aquarium for 10-minute periods while the scientists monitored their blood pressure, heart rate and mood.

Interestingly, the results showed that even viewing the aquarium when empty of fish had a positive effect. As the number and diversity of fish increased, the beneficial effects became more pronounced.

So, with the ever-increasing pressures from daily life, owning an aquarium is an excellent way to help you unwind and relax, reduce stress and anxiety, and ultimately help your mental and physical wellbeing.

Some organisations have taken the concept one stage further and offer Aquarium Therapy. Although, to the author's knowledge, it is not an officially recognised treatment, it could fall under the general banner of Animal-Assisted-Therapies (AAT), where animals are used to assist and complement a traditional health therapy.

Still not convinced. Well, maybe take a more detailed look at the study published in the Journal Environment and Behaviour, or better still, invest in an aquarium to bring a slice of nature into your home and discover the benefits yourself.

If you don't know where to start setting up your aquarium, then we recommend starting with the following step-by-step guides:

Author: Stewart Kessel CChem, MRSC

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