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Aquariums: The New Medicine

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You enter the waiting room of your doctor’s office and you know she’s not going to be happy about your blood pressure or weight gain. Your palms start to sweat as you try to think of excuses for your lack of exercise and bad eating habits. As your pulse quickens, you look over to the corner and you see a lovely aquarium filled with beautiful fish swimming carelessly past rocks and artificial reef; eating and swimming in a slow hypnotic underwater shimmy. You feel your pulse slow and your nerves calm. You’re going to see your doctor and it’s going to be ok.

Aquariums are a staple in doctors and dentists offices because of their calming effect. Simply watching fish swim and move through water can lower blood pressure and relieve stress. In fact, researchers found that watching an aquarium full of fish, whether in real life or on TV, significantly lowered blood pressure and stress. Further research showed how a simple fish tank helped Alzheimer’s patients. Once an aquarium was set up in a dining room, patients who suffered from Alzheimer’s were found to eat more, need fewer supplements and exhibit less physical aggression. Watching fish in a fish tank has also been shown to help calm down hyperactive children as well.

You can have this same calming influence in your own home. Aquariums come in all shapes, sizes, and prices making them very accessible. Added to the calming benefits are the perks of owning a fish. Fish are a popular first pet for children, generally easy to care for and don’t have the bad habits that other mammal pets have (in other words, you won’t see them going through the trash or “marking” their territory).

When setting up a new aquarium, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need and know what type of food your fish prefer. It is easy to buy live pods and phytoplankton from online dealers to make sure you have the best food for your finned friends (and while you’re at it, become a step closer to setting up a sustainable aquarium that requires less worry about food sources for your fish).

The benefits of aquariums are many and should not be overlooked. Maybe soon, when you leave your next doctor’s appointment, your prescription will be for a new aquarium, a few aquarium supplies, and some captive bred underwater friends.


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