Updated date:

The Healing Power of Pet Fish

I'm an animal lover who firmly believes in the many health benefits of having pets!



Water Life

What if you are a person who needs health benefits but cannot get a dog or a cat due to allergies or something else? Is getting a pet fish going to be of any benefit? The answer is yes. People are attracted to water. It is in our nature. Any civilization that thrived did so around a body of water as they needed it for their survival. Water is considered a sacred thing in many different religions as well as a necessity for human life. So, how is sitting around an aquarium and watching aquatic life beneficial to our life? This article explains how having a goldfish or an aquarium is beneficial to the health of people.


Good For Mental Health

The aquarium provides a distraction from everyday life, things that are causing stress, and/or chronic illness. The inhabitants of the aquarium relax and soothe people by calming the mind and lessening anxieties. Building and maintaining an aquarium can be done as a stress management project. Focusing on the vibrant and different colors of tropical fish can elevate one's mood while focusing on something that is a distraction from the business of everyday life at the same time. This is why having an aquarium or being around one is often good for people's mental health.


What an Aquarium Helps With

  • Helps with insomnia.
  • Decreases high blood pressure.
  • Alleviates anxiety and/or stress.
  • Helps kids with behavioral problems and/or psychological problems.
  • Helps people suffering from dementia.
  • Helps the chronically ill.
  • Helps babies who cry due to suffering from colic or separation anxiety.

The Effects on the Heart

The effects of an aquarium on patients who were about to go through a medical procedure were analyzed by Purdue University in 2004. The people who were around an aquarium had a 12% reduction in anxiety before the procedure. In the year of 1985, there was a study done on dental patients. They figured out that an aquarium increased relaxation due to effects on the patients' blood pressure and heart rate. Studies have proven that even staring at an aquarium reduces muscle tension and pulse rate. A similar study was done by the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter that revealed people who gaze at swimming fish have lowered blood pressure and a reduced heart rate. When these people stared at an empty tank with rocks and seaweed in it, their heart rate went down by seven percent. This was thought to be greatly beneficial for senior citizens with high blood pressure.


Alzheimer's and Fish

In the year 2009, Purdue University did a study that showed that elderly people who were exposed to an aquarium consumed 17.2 % more food than those who did not, had weight gain, and required fewer nutritional supplements. They also had a noticeable decrease in disruptive behaviors like physical aggression, wandering, pacing, yelling, and required less medication. Also, the patients with Alzheimer's displayed better short term memory. It was noted in a study that was done called Marine Biota and Psychological Well Being that patients in doctor's offices required less pain medication after watching fish in an aquarium. Deborah Cracknell, a marine biologist, said, "Fish tanks...are often associated with attempts at calming patients in doctors' offices and dental waiting rooms."


Fish Are Good for Kids

Having an aquarium in the home is good for children because not only does it decrease their anxieties and calm them, it helps them learn about biology, chemistry, responsibility, and inspires creativity and thinking in children. It is a pet that they have limited responsibility in caring for and can still watch and observe the behavior of the fish. Children can learn about different fish species, how they breathe underwater, how to take care of an aquarium, and in more advanced aquariums, they can even learn trade skills like plumbing and carpentry. Their imagination and creativity are engaged when they have to build the playground of the fish and set up different components of the aquarium. When kids complete tasks and they achieve their goals, their self confidence grows. If kids are able to recognize a need in the world of fish and fill it, it is a valuable social skill to apply to people.


Fish in Feng Shui

In Feng Shui (the Chinese way of trying to harmonize everything in the environment by arranging furniture, etc, and that is closely related to Taoism), fish tanks are commonly used with the belief that they enhance money and luck. Many Asian restaurants have a fish tank near the entrance. It is also believed to counter negative energy. They believe a fish tank should have nine goldfish, eight of them being red or gold and one black. If the black one dies, it is believed that it absorbed all the negative energy in the atmosphere. Different cultures have historically put a lot of emphasis on keeping fish as pets.


In conclusion, having a pet fish or an aquarium has many different benefits to the overall health and well being of the owner. It is good for people of all ages. Marine life and water have are an attraction to people for various different reasons. It enhances one's mood as well as being a learning tool and a great hobby for some, especially those who are too busy to care for a dog or a cat. Pet fish can be a wonderful thing.




Margarita Cisne on July 28, 2020:

It might be relaxing for you but not for the fish! I couldn't possibly relax looking at them and thinking how they got there. They're uprooted from their natural habitat to be placed in a small bowl to spend the rest of their lives going in circles. Sad sad, too unethical!

Gary John weir on June 25, 2020:

What size of tank do indeed for three fish hay are fan tails getting big

blob on April 11, 2019:

Sheesh I don't know? Perhaps, an AQUARIUM or a suitable sized TANK. Not a bowl.

Ezria Copper (author) on August 22, 2017:

So what should they be put in?

Random person from the internet on August 22, 2017:

i really hate it when people put fish in bowls its very unhealthy for them