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Study: The effects of interacting with fish in aquariums on human health and well-being

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I was doing a bit of research study research and I came across this one.  I wanted to share it for those interesting in checking it out.  Please feel free to check it out and post your own thoughts or experiences on the topic!



Nineteen studies were included. Two provided tentative evidence that keeping home aquaria is associated with relaxation. The remaining studies involved novel interactions with fish in home or public aquariums. Outcomes relating to anxiety, relaxation and/or physiological stress were commonly assessed; evidence was mixed with both positive and null findings. Preliminary support was found for effects on mood, pain, nutritional intake and body weight, but not loneliness. All studies had methodological issues and risk of bias was either high or unclear.

Review findings suggest that interacting with fish in aquariums has the potential to benefit human well-being, although research on this topic is currently limited. Future research should aim to address gaps in the evidence, such as whether and how the type of human-fish interaction can influence well-being outcomes. Researchers should also aim to address the methodological concerns highlighted in this review.


Here is another, related study as well. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0013916515597512

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Pets in general have claiming effects on humans. I don’t think fish are any more special than any other animal. In my experience, I have the same feeling observing my fish and observing my dads sheep and chickens. There are even more benefits to sheep and chickens, like eggs and meat.

I think that most important thing for us to stay mentally healthy is to stay physically active. Newton’s first law of motion. Object in motion wants to stay in motion, object at rest wants to stay at rest.

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Well, yes I think there is some methodology issues, but I'm not a scientist.  To me it appears as an experiment to prove the obvious.  All or most of us have an innate need to connect to nature, and a desire to bring it into our world.  For some of us it may be a: rock, picture a plastic plant, living houseplants or a ‘pet’.  We have a need to be needed and to give. On different levels, and to different degrees, we share mutual benefits with our furry and not so furry pets.

As to the experiment, It should have come as no surprise that an empty aquarium held little interest. Add plants and rocks and you add interest. We really like green. By adding fish, we add more color and movement. This results in more interest and people staying longer.  Even though the aquarium contents were not described, the experiment would have had more value if it had included a viewing of animals we consider dangerous. I think that is what they meant by a ‘confound of diversity’.

Why does this work for us? We need to get out of our ‘right’ brain on occasion. We need to set aside the required things and just let our minds wander.  I think we have a natural attraction to the water.  Its appeal varies by person. We find comfort in anything from an aquarium, to the falling raindrops, to the roar of the seashore.  With the exception of public spaces such as the dentist office, home aquaria and public aquariums usually have several things in common: mostly peaceful fish, dimmed lighting, and with the exception of screaming kids, they are quiet. Quiet darkened spaces give all of us a sense of security and calm. Prior to undergoing a recent medical procedure, I was surprised when the first thing the technician did was dim the lights.  I know it made it easier to view the monitors, but it also had a surprisingly calming effect on me.

One thing the study got right are the benefits derived by Alzhiemers and other patients from aquariums.  While we may never know exactly what benefit that some of them receive, it definitely gives them a respite from their other troubles. 


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