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Aquarium Therapy: How Fish Tanks Can Reduce Your Stress

aquarium therapy

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Have you ever wondered why fish tanks or aquariums are nearly always present in doctor offices and hospital waiting rooms? It turns out that there is a scientific reason why they are incorporated into the layout of such spaces.

It all comes back to the well-being of patients themselves. With their fish, coral, rocks and aquatic greenery, aquariums give off a calm and tranquil ambience that’s been proven to provide a bit of stress and anxiety relief.

It’s called aquarium therapy, and it refers to the use of aquariums to provide therapeutic benefits. If you could use some de-stressing, consider setting up an aquarium in your home and let the soothing sights and sounds do their thing.

The Stress-Relief Benefits of Aquariums

It’s no secret that we live in a demanding, fast-paced society. Sometimes we need a break from the daily grind and the stress it can cause. Aquarium therapy can help.

A recent study found that aquariums can lower a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. For the study, experts from the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter assessed people’s physical and mental responses to a fish tank exhibit containing different levels of fish (empty, partially stocked and fully stocked). Researchers found that watching the exhibit generally decreased blood pressure and heart rate. Drops in heart rate were significantly greater in the two conditions containing fish.

Reconnecting With Nature

In a world growing more and more distracted by smartphones, laptops, tablets, social media newsfeeds and the ever-streaming binge-watched television shows, unplugging from technology can be a challenge. Watching fish in tanks gives us a break from the technology that constantly bombards us, and it helps us reconnect with nature.

Numerous studies suggest getting close to nature can help you feel more relaxed and improve your mood. Aquariums help bring the outdoors in. From the fish swimming back and forth to the sound of the bubbling water—a fish tank takes you on a trip to the great outdoors without ever having to leave your living room.

Using Aquariums to Promote Sleep

If you’re not getting enough sleep or having difficulty falling asleep, you might want to consider giving aquarium therapy a try. The water sounds produced by aquariums provide a soothing environment that can help some people relax and fall asleep.

 “Fish tanks not only lower anxiety and stress, but they can also help with sleep,” says Chris Brantner, certified sleep science coach at SleepZoo.com. “Studies dating back to the ’80s show that watching fish in an aquarium can lower blood pressure similar to other types of relaxation therapy and meditation.”

He further explains, “Why? It seems that watching fish, and listening to the trickling water, causes the production of serotonin, which stimulates the brain to increase endorphins. The result? Positive feelings. Such stress reduction translates well to sleep.”

Fish tanks are a great way to provide natural sounds that create a tranquil atmosphere to help people fall asleep. There are a variety of fish supplies and aquarium supplies that enable fish keepers to provide their fish with a stimulating living environment while also promoting stress and anxiety relief.

“We’re learning more and more about how important it is to set calming bedtime routines and creating a relaxing sleep environment in our bedrooms,” Brantner says. “An aquarium is perfect for both. The trickling sound of the water naturally does what we try to emulate with sound machines. And watching the fish swim around is a perfect meditative precursor to sleep.”

To help create soothing water sounds and add relaxing lighting to your home, you can add fish aquarium supplies like the Current USA Orbit Marine IC LED Reef Aquarium Lighting System and the Current USA eFlux Wave Pump to your tank.

Creating an Oasis With Fish in Tanks

It’s clear that watching and listening to aquariums provide many benefits. So, why not create your own pet fish oasis?

Personalize your tank with various fish species, plants and other aquarium supplies that create the calming, natural environment you want. Colored pebbles give your tank a pop of fun, and adding a scenic background to your tank can bring an ocean vibe into your home. Think of it as an investment in your physical and mental well-being!



Leah McCormack is a New England native and dog lover. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City with her bachelor’s degree and started her animal care business, Winni Pups. Her published articles and features can be found in The Boston Globe, The EveryGirl, The Improper Bostonian, Mane Addicts, WGSN and Chewy!