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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 ?
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.
Children are offered the opportunity to gain a fascinating glimpse of behind-the-scenes action as an Aquarist, and discover the marvels of the marine world.
Aquarist programs teach students to about the total care of a aquatic animal collections at public aquariums, aquaculture ventures, research facilities or ornamental fish businesses.
They aren't eager to eat us, the aquarist notes, and when sharks do attack a human, it's usually ``a case of mistaken identity.
In addition to routine aquarist tasks, marine mammal aquarists spend most of their time training seals, dolphins, sea otters, and other mammals to respond to commands.
Before aquarists place rocks into a display tank, they subject the rocks to a rigorous cleaning process called curing.
The world in pictures with Daily Post Head of Images Hadyn Iball | INDIA: Hindu women collect water from the Pushkar lake to pour on idols of Lord Shiva, on occasion of Mahashivratri festival in Pushkar | FRANCE: Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shewell arrive for Stella McCartney's Fallwinter 2016-2017 ready to wear collection presented in Paris | UK: Aquarist, Ruth Chamberlain looks at Mauve Stinger jellyfish at Sea Life London Aquarium, in central London, as they are the first of the toxic jellyfish to go on display in the UK.
Head aquarist Joe Lavery said: "It's amazing a lobster as pale as Theodore could survive so long as he has.
Aquarist Krystal Huff said one of the turtles, Izzy rescued by Ecobarge Clean Seas volunteers after she was washed up on a Whitsundays beach had suffered a series of traumatic experiences before entering into care in August last year.
Terry McKeone, senior aquarist at Tynemouth's "Bluereef Aquarium, said: "Mackerel are quite a 'dim' fish and they hang around in large shoals.
I've caught peacocks in Panama's Gatun Lake, where they were accidentally introduced by an aquarist in 1958.
A 270-degree walk-through tunnel experience, Glass Bottom Boat Rides, Cage Snorkeling Experience, The Ocean School Programme, feeding presentations and the Aquarist Programme are some of the activities that add to the interactive experience for visitors.