Why Keep Aquatic Organisms?
In the past, it seemed that most people kept aquariums as the result of a long-seated and intense interest in fish and other animals. The difficulties inherent in keeping all but the hardiest of creatures discouraged those with but a passing curiosity.
Today, a wealth of information and technical advances have greatly simplified life for those desiring an aquarium of their own. More and more, people are drawn to the hobby because of the sheer beauty of the animals that can be brought into their homes. Most, if not all, such people soon develop a deeper interest in their charges, and a sincere concern for their well-being.
However you might come to aquarium keeping, and whether you decide to focus on freshwater or marine animals, or both, you will gain an insight into a world that is largely beyond the reach of humans. Even with the most common of animals in the most basic of settings, you will be privy to the secret lives of a host of fascinating organisms. The thrill of your first breeding success or the observation of a previously unknown facet of animal behavior is one that will further encourage and excite you as you pursue your interest in marine creatures.
More and more we are seeing the destructive effects of human activities on wild animals and the environmental systems that support them. Every bit of information that we can glean about a creature's behavior will contribute, in a very real way, to its future survival in the wild.
Many of the details of the lives of the world's fish and aquatic invertebrates are virtually unknown. The aquarist who takes the time to properly maintain such creatures has an excellent chance of contributing to a greater understanding of their natural histories. Most aquatic animals (and other animals) will exhibit their full range of behaviors only under ideal captive conditions. It therefore behooves those with a deep interest in such things to learn as much as they can about their charges and to duplicate, as closely as is possible, their natural environments.
Aquarium keeping readily stimulates deeper interests in a host of related subjects. You, and those with whom you share your passion, will want to learn more and more about the animals that you keep, how they live, what prospects they have for continued survival and what must be done to protect them. For young children, especially those largely isolated from nature, an aquarium can be a call to new worlds and new interests. Many elderly people find such a hobby quite stimulating mentally, and the sense of being responsible for the well-being of other creatures can become an important factor in their lives.