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Cited Literature

Medical Facts

  1. Bean, E., 1994, "Hang Gliding While Watching Tropical Fish," Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine, Jun.

"...the study published in Anthrozoos also found that even viewing a videotape of an aquarium by 27 elderly patients yielded positive if not more beneficial results than watching a live aquarium.

"...(watching fish swim) can reduce stress, provide entertainment and an outlet for creative and visual stimulation.

"...(tropical fish) watching was just as effective as hypnosis on relaxation levels."

  1. DeShriver, M. and Carol Riddick, 1990, "Effects of Watching Aquariums on Elder's Stress," Anthrozoos, v4, i1, Sum, pp.44-48

"First the relaxation theory presents no perspective on whether objects are more or less relaxing to view if they are animate.

"Second, it may be more practical for some individuals to use a fish video than to care for a live aquarium.

"In particular, the results of this study indicated that watching a video of live fish had greater impact on elderly person's physiological stress than did watching a live aquarium or a placebo video (of television lines and static with supposed subliminal relaxation messages.)

"Watching a fish video is similar to a favorite pastime pursued by many elderly -namely watching television."

  1. Frumkin, H., 2001, "Beyond Toxicity: Human Health and the Natural Environment" American Journal of Preventative Medicine, v20, i3, pp.234-240

"The most relaxed patients were those who looked at (tropical fish), irrespective of whether they had been hypnotized first."

  1. Lieber, A., 2001, "Does Having An Aquarium Decrease Stress,"

"Watching fish swim to and fro lowers the stress of waiting to be examined.

"...brightly colored fish curtailed disruptive behaviors of Alzheimer patients. The fish were also credited with improving the eating habits. Other studies also showed that fish calmed children diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder."

  1. Rana-Mukkavilli, G., 2001, "Age of Aquarium: A Soothing Sign for Older Patients," Consultant, Apr. 15, v4, i5, p.657

"The soothing combination of movement and color helps pacify agitated patients and also provides visual stimulation."

  1. Rice, B., 1981, "Age of Aquari-Om," Psycology Today, May, v5, p.14

"For the few subjects who suffered from high blood pressure before the experiment began, fish watching proved even more effective than for the others (subjects)."

  1. "Study: Aquariums May Pacify Alzheimer's Patients," Purdue News, Aug., 1999,

"Casting about for ways to soothe Alzheimer's patients, Purdue University researchers found that displaying tanks of brightly colored fish may curtail disruptive behaviors and improve eating habits of people with the disease.

"...patients who were exposed to the fish appeared to be more relaxed and alert and ate up to 21 percent more food than before....

"The study also showed a decrease in the number of instances and the duration of behaviors such as wandering, pacing, yelling and physical aggression."

  1. Ulrich, R., 1999, "How Design Impacts Wellness," Health Care Forum Journal, Sep./Oct.

"...for stressed individuals, restorative influences of viewing natural scenes or elements involve a broad shift in feeling toward a more positive state...."

  1. Westen, R., 2002, "Chills and Thrills: 20 Smart (and Scientific) Ways to Bring Sunny Smiles on Wintry Days—Guaranteed!" Parents Magazine, Feb., pp.103-105

"5. Go fish. To put your eyes and mind at ease, nothing beats watching fish swim. It improves moods, calms nerves, and lowers pulse rate and muscle tension, according to several studies."

Ecological Facts

  1. "Charting a New Course for Coral Reef Conservation" Coral Reef Task Force (Nov. 3, 1999),

"The United States currently imports over 80% of the live and dead coral trade and more than 50% of marine aquarium fish. Many of these are over harvested or collected with destructive methods such as cyanide poisoning that destroy reefs. In the Caribbean, more than 20% of the reef-dependent species are over-fished, while in some Hawaiian reefs, the most abundant reef fish have declined by 40% over the past twenty years.

"Coral reefs are deteriorating globally at alarming rates. Without a strong understanding of the complicated ecosystems and the challenges that face them, the health of our marine environment and our economy will be jeopardized.

"An estimated 10% of reefs worldwide have already been lost and 60% are threatened by human activities including shoreline development, polluted runoff from agriculture and land-use practices, ship groundings, over-harvesting, destructive fishing and climate change. Combined with natural stresses such as storms, bleaching and disease, these pressures put the viability of the world's coral reefs at risk."

  1. "Coral Trade," TED Case Studies, (Jan. 11, 1997)

"Although covering only 0.17% of the ocean floor, coral provides a home for one quarter of all marine species.

"Humans in some manner have destroyed between five and ten percent of the world's coral reefs and will succeed in destroying 40% to 60% of them in the next sixty years unless trends change.

"Coral harvesting is a very lucrative business, especially when there is such a great demand for the product by countries such as the United States. However, if collectors are not careful, there will be no more coral to harvest."

  1. Derr, M., 1992, "Raiders of the Reef," Audubon, Mar./Apr., pp.48-56

"In some areas, select species of fish and invertebrates—especially butterfly fish, clown fish, angelfish, and certain anemones—have been over collected. More significantly, demand for live rock and stony coral is contributing to the decline of reefs in many parts of the world, despite some attempts to protect them. While Florida government officials dithered, collectors carried off between 500 and 600 tons of the Florida Reef Tract.

"...nearly two-thirds of fish captured from Sri Lanka were dead within six months. Roughly 27% died during collection, transit or storage in pet stores; the rest succumbed in aquariums.

"When you take too many of one species, everything else suffers."

  1. Golden, F. 1991, "Reef Raiders," Sea Frontiers, Feb., pp.22-29

"Some 200 of the 4,000 small marine species that dwell on coral reefs are found in pet shops.

"In many parts of the world, collectors are destroying the very habitat on which the fish depend.

"But while this cyanide-induced trade brought immediate economic benefits for some people, it set off an ecological time bomb. Though the collectors aim the cyanide at the fishes, some of it inevitably settles on the reefs. Biologically fragile, coral heads represent a precarious symbiosis between the individual animals in the colony (polyps) and the tiny algal cells that they feed on. To remain healthy, the coral requires the right mixture of sunlight, temperature, and nutrients. Any imbalance not only damages the reef but also unravels the intricate food web that sustains the reef's rich life, including the tiny fishes so coveted by marine aquarists.

"The green lace, only discovered in 1973, is perhaps the rarest and most spectacular of scorpionfishes. (The New York Aquarium sent an expedition to locate and capture one, whom they named 'Oscar.') Oscar the green lace scorpionfish lived for 14 months."

  1. McLamey, W., 1988, "Still a Dark Side to the Aquarium Trade," International Wildlife, Mar./Apr., pp.46-51

"The pressure on populations of some fish has been greatly increased by a terrible waste of lives on the way to market. As many as nine out of ten fish may never make it to the aquarium store.

"But aquaculture has given rise to its own set of problems, the most serious being escape of exotic fish. Just how many immigrants are 'established' in Florida is anyone's guess. But Paul Shaffard of Florida's Non-native Fish Research Lab has shown that at least 17 species are now so firmly entrenched in the state that eradication is impossible. And 52 others have been captured in the wild. All but two can be traced directly to the aquarium trade."

  1. Simpson, S., 2001, "Fishy Business," Scientific American, Jul., pp.83-89

"Even if MAC's (Marine Aquarium Council) certification works to curtail cyanide use among aquarium fish collectors, some researchers worry that there is still no guarantee that fish collecting will not degrade the reefs. A case in point is Kona, Hawaii. Although aquarium fish collectors do not use cyanide in this area Brian N. Tissot of Washington State University at Vancouver, Wash., and Leon E. Hallacher of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii discovered late in 1999 that the collector's activities were stunting the population of seven species of coral-reef fishes, three of which are herbivores. Without these grazing fish to keep the algae in check, the prolific plants could eventually suffocate the coral animals."

  1. "Sustainable Use Case Study: The Marine Aquarium Council and Environmental Certification for the Marine Aquarium Trade," Hoftus, P., Marine Aquarium Council, 2001,

"Developing countries with most reefs, and even developed countries, do not have enough funds to create, implement and enforce enough laws and management plans to protect all reefs all the time.

"Approximately 85% of the marine aquarium fish exported to the United States and Europe are captured on reefs of the Philippines and Indonesia alone. Live coral and 'live rock' are being exported primarily from Indonesia and Fiji, export is banned in the Philippines.

"There is the possibility that the harvest of reef aquarium animals (including live coral and live rock) has gone beyond what is reasonable or sustainable. The intense collection of the same fish species from limited areas may create the potential for over fishing.

"...many government agencies in developing countries admit that they will never have the staff or funds to adequately manage or police most coral reefs."

  1. "Trade in Coral Reef Species," Coral Reef Alliance, 2001,

"The collection of reef dwellers for souvenirs and for private aquariums is not only detrimental to the individual species population, but can also cause extensive damage to the entire coral reef ecosystem.

"Cyanide, one of the most toxic poisons known, is currently being used to catch live fish in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Fishermen stun the fish with sodium cyanide in order to catch them live to sell to luxury live fish markets in Asia or to tropical aquarium owners. Cyanide not only poisons the fish, but also destroys their habitat, killing coral polyps and their symbiotic algae, as well as other small organisms necessary for healthy reefs. Cyanide fishing has already caused mass destruction to coral reefs in the Philippines and Indonesia, and is spreading rapidly to other parts of Asia.

"To capture fish hiding the reef, some cyanide fishermen rip coral reefs apart with crowbars to capture the disoriented fish, causing further reef destruction. The most intense damage caused by cyanide fishing has taken place in the Philippines and Indonesia, the regions of the world with the greatest marine biological diversity. While it usually takes decades for coral reefs to recover from the effects of cyanide, the fishing pressures it these regions are currently too high to allow any recovery at all."

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