Have you ever wondered why so many medical offices have aquariums in their waiting rooms? Sure, it’s calming and beautiful to look at, but what’s the real purpose? Aren’t those tanks awfully expensive if their purpose is just to look nice?
Doctors, dentists, optometrists, and other medical offices have known about the benefits of putting an aquarium in your office for a while now. Studies have shown that dental patients needed less pain medication during their procedure when they had previously watched fish in an aquarium in the waiting room.
With the potential to reduce stress, boost mood, and even increase pain tolerance, you should consider putting an aquarium in your office.
4 Reasons to Put an Aquarium in Your Office
1. Watching fish in aquarium measurably raises mood
An Exeter study found that people’s moods were measurably boosted after watching fish in an aquarium. Moods were also boosted after watching an empty, decorated aquarium for 5 minutes at a time, but less so than when fish were swimming in the large tank.
Having an aquarium in your office can be like your own private mood-boosting station. Every now and then, you’ll look up from your work and see little fish gracefully swimming around without a care in the world. It’s hard not to smile or feel deeply relaxed.
2. Your aquarium can fit on a filing cabinet
If you don’t have space to put a 10 gallon or larger tank in your office, you can still benefit from an aquarium by opting instead for a micro-aquarium like the Eclipse style pictured on the left. These have everything you’ll need for the aquarium stashed in the lid – the filter, light, bubbler – and a single cord running out the back.
You can find small tanks of various sizes, but aquarium experts recommend you go no smaller than 5 gallons to ensure your fish have plenty of room and enough water for their species size.
Fish recommended for small tanks like these:
- Bettas: One boldly colored male betta or a group of 2-3 female bettas
- Multies: Male multies rarely get bigger than 2″, females usually less than 1″
- Guppies: Male guppies are the most colorful of the two sexes. You can get several for just a few dollars.
3. Looking at an aquarium calms you by decreasing your heart rate
A study from the Environment and Behavior journal found that people who looked at aquariums – both with and without fish inside – experienced decreases in not only their blood pressure levels, but also their heart rate.
Throughout the study, the authors kept finding that people were ‘transfixed’ by the aquarium, although notably more so with fish in the tank.
“We knew exactly the number of species and the number of [fish] that people were looking at, and they were systematically altered over time – monitor people’s heart rate, blood pressure and various changes in mood over a 10-minute period while they watched the very large tank.”
“As you might expect, people felt a lot more relaxed and significantly happier after watching the tank with more fish and there were significant drops in heart rates and significantly lower blood pressure.” – Mathew White from the University of Exeter’s ECEHH
4. Watching fish swim reduces blood pressure
The relaxing, calming nature of watching marine life swim – something many of us never have a chance to see outside of aquariums – holds so many medical benefits. It reduces heart rate and blood pressure levels within just 5 minutes of viewing.
Researchers aren’t sure why these stress-relieving effects are so strong with aquariums – perhaps watching the fish swim in an aquarium simply takes our minds off stressful events and worries. That’s just one more reason to include an aquarium in your office.