A sea turtle glides over your head. Tiny blue and yellow fish flash by. A big shark swims right at you. You are walking around on the bottom of the sea. Yet you are perfectly safe and dry. You are visiting an aquarium.
WHAT IS AN AQUARIUM?
An aquarium is a water-filled tank in which fish swim about. You can keep a small aquarium at home. You can visit a large aquarium in most cities. This kind of aquarium is a building with fish and other water animals in large tanks. A large aquarium may have otters, turtles, dolphins, and other sea animals. Most aquarium tanks also have plants.
VISITING AN AQUARIUM
Many of the newest aquariums are located next to an ocean, bay, or river. They have huge water tanks. Some tanks are big enough to hold sharks and other large fish. Some aquariums have a passageway at the bottom of a huge tank. The passageway is made of thick, clear plastic. When you walk through the tunnel, you see fish swimming on both sides of you and even above you. What a cool way to watch fish!
Sea life in an aquarium looks very real. Many tropical fish live on colorful coral reefs. The reefs are made of tiny animals called corals. A tropical fish tank may look just like a coral reef. The tropical fish feel right at home in this tank.
You can do many things at a big aquarium. You can watch and learn how sea animals live. You can learn about dangers they might face. You can learn about kinds of pollution that could harm sea animals. You can even watch dolphins put on shows at some aquariums.
Scientists work at many big aquariums. The scientists study fish. They want to know how to protect life in the sea.
CREATING A HOME AQUARIUM
Many people have small aquariums at home. A small aquarium can be a bowl. It can be a square tank. Some home aquariums are made of glass. Some are made of a strong plastic called Plexiglas. Some people keep freshwater fish in their aquariums. Some people keep saltwater fish.
Suppose you want to make a home aquarium. There are many things you have to pick out. What should your aquarium tank be made of? You can see fish better in a Plexiglas tank. But Plexiglas scratches more easily. Plexiglas also costs more than glass.
Which type of fish do you want to keep in your tank: freshwater fish or saltwater fish? Goldfish and tetras live in fresh water. Angelfish and butterfly fish live in salt water. Most people with aquariums have freshwater fish. Freshwater fish are easier to take care of. Freshwater fish cost less than saltwater fish.
Do you want to keep fish that live in cold water or fish that live in warm water? Tropical fish live in warm water. Tropical fish come in reds, yellows, blues, purples, and many other colors. Goldfish live in cold water. Goldfish are mostly golden red.
Pick out the kind of tank and fish you like best. You can decorate your tank with plants, colorful stones, and objects that the fish can swim through and hide under. Find out what to feed your fish and how to keep them healthy. Then have fun watching the fish in your home aquarium