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name for any supervised exhibit of aquatic animals and plants. Aquariums are known to have been constructed in ancient Rome, Egypt, and Asia. Goldfish have been bred in China for several hundred years and are still the most commonly kept fish in home aquariums, although small tropical fish, such as guppies, have become increasingly popular. Large public aquariums have been made possible by the development of exhibit tanks capable of holding over 100,000 gal (378,500 liters) of water. The first aquarium known to have been constructed with glass is in Regent's Park, London (1853).

The maintenance of an aquarium of any size requires the careful regulation of water flow, temperature, light, food, and oxygen, removal of injurious debris, and attention to the special requirements of the individual species kept. Green aquatic plants are often used in aquariums since, through the process of photosynthesis, they utilize waste carbon dioxide from the animals' respiration and in turn provide oxygen. An aquarium in which the dissolved gases are kept at the proper concentrations by the physiological activities of the plants and animals is called a balanced aquarium. Certain mollusks, such as snails and mussels, are useful as scavengers, as are some species of fish.

Large freshwater and saltwater aquariums are often maintained for research and breeding purposes by universities, marine stations, and wildlife commissions, e.g., those in Naples, Italy; Monaco; Plymouth, England; La Jolla, Calif.; and Woods Hole, Mass. There are also many aquariums throughout the world for public exhibition. Among those in the United States are the Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation (formerly the New York Aquarium) at Brooklyn, N.Y.; the Georgia Aquarium at Atlanta; the John G. Shedd Aquarium at Chicago; Marineland of Florida at Marineland, Fla.; the Monterey Bay Aquarium at Monterey, Calif.; the National Aquarium at Baltimore; the New England Aquarium at Boston, Mass.; the New Jersey State Aquarium at Camden; the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at La Jolla, Calif.; the South Carolina Aquarium at Charleston; the Steinhart Aquarium at San Francisco; the Tennessee Aquarium at Nashville; and the Waikiki Aquarium at Honolulu.


See B. Brunner, The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated History of the Aquarium (2011).



(1) A vessel for keeping and raising aquatic animals and plants. The design, shape, and dimensions of aquariums vary greatly according to their purpose and the conditions necessary for maintaining the various items. Aquariums are made either completely of glass or with a metal frame and glass walls; they are sometimes made of plexiglass. As a rule, aquariums are rectangular, of a standard type—that is, equal in height and width, and with a length 1.5 times as long. Sometimes the height is greater than the width; such an aquarium with a beveled front glass is called a “picture tank” and is usually hung on the wall.

An essential condition for keeping fish in an aquarium is water with a definite oxygen saturation and a required salt composition. Aquatic plants are placed in aquariums to saturate the water with oxygen. The aquarium should be illuminated 10–12 hours a day. In the light the plants absorb carbon dioxide given off by the fish and produce oxygen; at the same time, the plants assimilate organic and inorganic matter from the water. In such an aquarium, it is merely a matter of removing the accumulated deposits from the bottom, cleaning the glass, and adding settled water to replace the evaporated water.

In aquariums of scientific institutions and in transporting aquarium fish, the water is saturated with oxygen by an aerator and is cleaned by filtering it through sand and activated charcoal. It is best to use well-washed gray river sand (particles 2–4 mm in size) as a lining for the bottom of the aquarium.

Plants kept in aquariums include those that float on the surface of the water (such as floating liverwort, floating moss, and water lettuce), those that float under the water (such as elodea, water milfoil, and false loosestrife), and rooted plants (such as eel grass, arrowhead, Cape pond-weed, cryptocoryne, and plants of the genus Echinodorus).

The top of the aquarium is partially covered with glass. The presence of an aquarium in a room raises the humidity of the air, a fact which is particularly useful in homes with central heating.

(2) Special institutions in which examples of marine and freshwater fauna and flora are kept for study and display. They are found in many nations of the world. In the USSR large aquariums are found in the zoos of Moscow, Tallin, Tashkent, and Riga. Aquariums for marine animals are usually located on the seacoast. Such aquariums were first created in the second half of the 19th century (in 1871 in Sevastopol’; in 1872 in Naples). Some marine aquariums are called oceanariums.


Polkanov, F. M. Podvodnyi mir v komnate. Moscow, 1966.



1. a tank, bowl, or pool in which aquatic animals and plants are kept for pleasure, study, or exhibition
2. a building housing a collection of aquatic life, as for exhibition


Water in all forms is a very meaningful symbol. It may represent emotions, the unconscious, sexuality, and, at times, life itself. Before interpreting this symbol first consider the other details in the dream and the overall quality of the dream experience. The aquarium could represent a portion of your life or a “slice of life.” Aquariums are generally balanced and fully contained ecosystems. People enjoy aquariums because they find them soothing and relaxing. Thus, this dream’s message may be a call for contemplation and relaxation. It may represent life in a small setting as a compensation to the stress and, at times, overwhelming complexity of daily experiences.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kelly immediately pronounces it a little red patwa, the other cichlid the aquarists had found .
Bangkok aquarists have succeeded in producing great differences in color pattern in the featherfin Chitala ornata (Osteoglossi-formes, Notopteridae), but this has been achieved by selective breeding.
We have to jump in the tank and we have to force feed them," said David Robinson, an aquarist with Burj Al Arab said.
Each morning, aquarists check the temperature and condition of fish tanks and look for any medical problems with the animals.
We could hear them snapping at the barnacles and noticed we were losing hermit crabs and snails," says senior aquarist David Cripe.
Aquarists know that electricity and air travel paved the way for the keeping not only of many tropical fish, but salt water varieties.
Aquarists took a page from the horticulturists' book and began spraying the three-story-high tapestry of verdant vines with Miracle-Gro several times a week to replenish the nutrients lost to El Nino's inflows.
Sea Research conducts pioneering research that expands the knowledge base of aquarists and marine biologists, advances important deep-sea discoveries, and inspires new generations to care for the environment and pursue careers in science.
Your one-hour Feeding Experience includes: Priority admission into National SEA LIFE Birmingham on the day of the experience; time behind the scenes to meet one of the Centre's knowledgeable aquarists and learn more about Molokai; briefing to learn about feeding techniques and the turtle's vegetarian diet; see where the aquarists feed all the creatures in the Ocean Tunnel and carry out the turtle's feed; SEA LIFE goody bag with plush toy to take home.
Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is also home to a highly-experienced animal husbandry team of more than 20 marine biologists and aquarists.
Blue Planet Aquarium's Rebecca Collins said: "The Royal baby prediction was a bit of fun dreamed up by our team of aquarists.
Aquarists at the aquarium are making final preparations for the arrival of the pair, who will share their naturally-themed 650,000-litre outdoor pool with a colony of harbour seals.