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Aquariums are vivariums in which water-dwelling animals and plants are kept. They have at least one transparent side in which to observe fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals and aquatic plants. Aquariums come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials. They are usually constructed of glass or high-strength plastic and are sometimes referred to as simply “fish tanks,” or “fish bowls.” Aquarium keeping is a very popular hobby, with approximately 60 million aquarists worldwide. In the United States, aquarium keeping is the second most popular hobby after stamp collecting and fish are the third most popular pet, after dogs and cats. The number of fish kept in aquariums varies by country, but in a 2005/2006 APPMA National Pet Owners Survey report, Americans own approximately 139 million freshwater fish and 9.6 million saltwater fish. There are also a wide range of frogs, salamanders and newts kept in aquariums. They include:

Aquatic Frogs:

African Dwarf Frog
African Clawed Frog
Indonesian Floating Frog
Albino Clawed Frog


Paddle-tail Newt
Fire Bellied Newt
Spotted Paddle-Tail Newt

Axolotl Salamanders

An aquarium can range in size from a small glass bowl to a huge public aquaria such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. They can house everything from a couple of small goldfish to an entire ecosystem such as a kelp forest. Large public aquariums are usually comprised of several smaller aquariums. The largest tanks hold millions of gallons of water and can house large species like sharks or beluga whales. Dolphinariums are aquariums made specifically to house dolphins, while other semi-aquatic animals, including otters and penguins may also be kept in public aquariums.


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