Aquarium tanks are the most popular aquarium forms which are used to maintain aquatic organisms either freshwater or saltwater. Thus, an aquarium is a facility that is a collection of aquatic organisms which are usually put on display or for study purposes. Overall an aquarium consists of aquarium fish and other aquarium decorations such as aquarium rocks when put on display. For research purposes, there are large aquarium designs that usually involve large aquatic organisms like sharks, etc.
History of Aquarium
Aquariums or some form of it, has existed since the time of ancient Sumerians about 4500 years ago. The ancient Romans used to keep the fish for food and entertainment. The breeding of ornamental fish spread from China to Japan. Proper aquarium-keeping became well-established when the relationship between oxygen, animals, and plants became clear in the 1800s. Most of the modern aquarium and modifications in aquarium design took place more after World War II. Today, public aquariums and commercial aquariums and aquarium fish tanks can be found in almost all the principal cities of the world. Other aquarium research facilities such as the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England, etc. are well-established as well.
A giant community aquarium fish tank with trained dolphins was featured in 1938 in the large marine aquarium of Marineland near St. Augustine Fla. Similar aquarium fish tanks are present in Seaquarium Miami. The speciality of these aquariums is that they have very large aquarium tanks with capacities of 1 million gallons each. There are many varieties of fish and all of them are kept together unlike other aquariums that are seen worldwide.
Aquarium Design and Architecture
One of the first aquarium designs were open-air tanks at a Roman fish market to keep the fish from decay and fatten them. An upgrade to a small aquarium as an aesthetic pleasure involved one of the most common aquarium fish - the goldfish, in France. During 1850 - 1880, many European cities had large public aquariums advertised and aquarium designs were constructed in a manner to create an illusion of entering into the underwater world. Recent trends of emphasizing the natural beauty of the aquatic life and environment along with the aquarium fish specimens have garnered more attention from the visiting public.
The construction of the aquarium takes intensive care as well. Be it any size aquarium design needs to use substances such as plastics and adhesives which are non-toxic to the aquatic animals. Either glass or polyethylene, polypropylene, acrylic plastics, and fluorocarbon, etc. can be used for the construction of an aquarium. Modern aquariums also cover the usage of fibreglass when properly prepared in a non-toxic manner. For sealing of the aquariums, the adhesives used include epoxy resins, silicone rubber, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and neoprene. There is abstinence on the utilization of metals for aquarium construction as they are highly corrosive. However, stainless steel having low toxicity can be used in freshwater aquarium fish tanks.
Technological advancements and an increasing interest in public interest in the underwater world as a tourist attraction have led to the constructions of underwater tunnels as well. The construction materials and the glass material used are to be advanced in such tunnels to withstand the pressure of the water as well as of the huge aquatic organisms like shark and whale. An example of such a tunnel aquarium design is shown below:
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Although huge facilities are being made to make aquariums, a small aquarium of a glass bowl can also be used at home for an aquarium enthusiast. The glass is necessary to provide some sunlight to the organism and also for maintaining an aquatic environment healthy.
To maintain the aquatic animals in an aquarium adequate food and water facilities and products are available that can be obtained from an aquarium shop. Such shops offer product requirements from small to large aquarium needs.
Most of the public aquariums usually consist of small aquariums which are smaller than some huge research facilities but larger than household small aquariums. There are large tanks containing millions of gallons of water housing large species such as sharks, beluga whales, etc. There are also specific aquariums like the Dolphinaria which is specifically for dolphins. With the increasing development of public aquaria, many aquatic, as well as semi-aquatic animals such as otters and penguins, have also begun to be displayed. Large public aquariums are being established and are known as marine parks and have begun to emerge all over the world.
The Virtual Aquarium
With the rise of web platforms and online technological advancements, underwater world viewership has also become a part of it. In a simple sense, a virtual aquarium is a computer program that utilizes 3D graphic technology for producing a small aquarium on a computer screen. Although the aquarium fish are swimming in real-time, the internal aquarium design remains static. In some of the programs, one can see water ripple formations and bubbles in the virtual aquarium. They are mostly used as screen savers on a computer, laptop, smartphone, tablets, etc.
There is an online market available for the sale of such aquariums with some of them selling even specialized aquatic species such as starfish, jellyfish, sea turtles, etc. Such a web aquarium shop also sells products related to the food habits of the fish and species that create an add-on to the special effects of the virtual aquarium. Other objects such as aquarium rocks, chests, giant clams which can be opened and closed allowing air bubbles or a bobbing diver, etc. can be bought from an online aquarium shop. Some of such graphical software allows graphical interaction of the people with the virtual aquarium fish which can be observed by either tapping or clicking on the fish or in a region around just like in a real aquarium.