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Fish Talk: Aquariums Heal

When someone develops a health complication it can be a stressful time for that individual and their family. During this time, it's critical to keep stress as low as possible. Healing environments such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or any other medical treatment areas (including homes!) can increase the tranquility and healing of their patients by including an aquarium exhibit as part of the healing plan. Here are a few direct benefits:

  • Occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time. Patients lose track of time when their mind is occupied watching the movement and energy of an aquarium exhibit.

  • White coat syndrome a phenomenon where individuals experience stress and elevated blood pressure in a clinical and/or sterile environment. White coat syndrome is reduced when patient anxiety is lowered while focusing on the mesmerizing movement of a properly designed aquarium exhibit.

  • According to the Journal of Clinical Nursing Research, the average cost of a fall in an elderly care home is $23,723; one of our clients reports a reduction of falls by 40% since placing an aquarium in their day room!

  • A Purdue University study showed the present of an aquarium exhibit in the dining area of a dementia facility increases food consumption by 21%. Such an increase reduces the costly need for dietary supplements.


When building the Smilow Cancer Hospital at the Yale-New Haven facility, aquarium exhibits were included in all patient waiting rooms. While it may seem this inclusion was for decoration , aquarium exhibits are actually part of the hospital’s philosophy of patient-centered care. Watching fish is a proven stress-reliever. Abe Lopman, executive director of Smilow Cancer Hospital said “If it’s a choice between televisions or fish tanks, I vote for the fish every time.”

While aquarium exhibits are a natural and beneficial element to any space, these exhibits are a crucial element for healing environments!

Carpe Diem!

The Fish Guy

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