Why I Keep Aquariums and Ponds

“I will never keep them and they deserved to be free in their environment”

This was what a relative who saw my aquariums told me. Fair enough. Then she never could and perhaps never will understand the idea behind keeping an aquarium and ponds. At least why I keep them.

It has been more than three decades since I started keeping aquariums and ponds. It really has been a long time. But what a journey all made memorable by the different people one met along the way. A number who have become friends. But I digress.

And why do I keep aquariums? One cannot walk a fish, even though it is a walking catfish. It does not cuddle up and recognize you. Although I have heard of aquarists, people like me who keep fish,who swear their fish knows them. I have this suspicion though this is because of the fish food and fishes do have personalities.

Fish keeping is an age old practice. In Ancient Rome, certain Plutocrats were derided as Piscinarii or fish crazy by their peers for keeping ornamental fish ponds in their villas. Egyptians kept mormoryids as religious animals. And in China and Japan the keeping of Goldfish started out as an accident led to the development of the art and science of keeping and breeding different strains of goldfishes and kois.

But what does an aquarium or pond give?

First, A well-kept aquarium and pond gives its owner a living painting of the aquatic world. It pleases one’s curiosity and aesthetically its dynamic visual impact pleases and soothes the mind. Studies like the one done by DeSchriver and Riddick (1990) bears this out.

Effects of Watching Aquariums on Elders’ Stress
Authors: DeSchriver, Mary M.; Riddick, Carol Cutler
Source: Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, Volume 4, Number 1, 1990 , pp. 44-48(5)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Journals (formerly Berg Journals)

Experimental group members watched a fish aquarium or a fish videotape, while control group members viewed a placebo videotape. Three eight-minute treatment sessions were held one week apart. Members of all three groups perceived their treatments as relaxing. Aquarium observers tended to experience a decrease in pulse rate and muscle tension and an increase in skin temperature. Theoretical and practical implications of the results and ideas for further research are discussed.


Second, A well-kept aquarium and pond gives its owner a living natural museum. It is a delicate microcosm that teaches its owner how ecology, the study of consequences, works. It also showcases how the different aquatic world works. The different biotopes from the, reefs of the sea, to the tea-colored world of the Amazon river, to the rift lakes of Tangayika and Malawi, to brooks and rice paddies of Thailand. One learns about lilies that are night bloomers and day bloomers. Or how a pond can attract dragonflies and other things.

Water and the different water world occupies majority of our planet. The wonders and things one learns from it exceed by leaps and bounds the kinds of Damsel fishes in the coral reefs or the cichlids in Lake Malawi and Lake Tangayika.

Third, A well-kept aquarium and pond teaches one responsibility. In order for an aquarium and pond to be successful it has to be properly maintained. Meaning the fish and other organisms must be in balance with its environment. It is a closed system and it is important that the right number of species must be maintained, the appropriate type of flora and fauna must be maintained, and the water conditions should be ideal. All of this is dependent on its aquarist. A well-kept aquarium and pond is a sign of a responsible aquarist.

Responsibilities of an Aquarist

A well-kept Aquarium and pond is a balanced ecosystem. It is a microcosm. It is a well msintained environment where the flora and fauna thrive and flourish. Note it is an environment where fishes, plants and invertebrates thrive abd flourish.

As an Aquarist in order to do this one must:

Study and learn about the fishes, plants and invertebrates and their specific environs or biotope.

Study and learn about how to maintain water quality. What tools, methods and principles one needs in order to manage the water quality of the aquarium and pond.

Study and learn about the limitations of a particular pond and aquarium. What is its carrying capacity? Can a particular environment be recreated so that its occupant can flourish and thrive.

The Aquarist must come to realize and accept that the only well maintained aquarium and pond should exist. And if one decides to become an aquarist this is his or her responsibility.

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