Reductions in blood pressure and heart rate have been identified among people who watched the fish at an aquarium, according to a report in There was also a correlation between the number of fish viewed and the level of improvement.  

The study was carried out by experts from the Ocean Conservation Trust, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter after the UK’s National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth refurbished one of its main exhibits – a massive 145,000-gallon tank – and began a phased introduction of different fish species.

The researchers were able to assess the mood, heart rate and blood pressure of study participants as fish numbers in the exhibit gradually increased.

In response to the findings published in the journal Environment and Behaviour, the National Marine Aquarium has been holding weekly relaxation sessions on social media during the coronavirus lockdown by live streaming video of its tanks.

The Ocean Conservation Trust which runs the aquarium said the videos had already reached over a million people.

Positive impact

Nicola Bridge, of the Ocean Conservation Trust, said: “Fish tanks and displays are often associated with attempts at calming patients in doctors’ surgeries and dental waiting rooms. Our study shows there is robust evidence that ‘doses’ of exposure to underwater settings could actually have a positive impact on people’s wellbeing.”

So watching fish in aquaria lowers heart rate and blood pressure - its official! Although those with the responsibility of running the monster tank and other industry professionals may disagree!