Aquarist

Set up and maintain aquarium exhibits.

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$16,000 – $32,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Aquarists do?

An aquarium lets people see deep-sea creatures without requiring them to undergo Scuba Diver training. Spectators can stay dry and gaze at the fish as they swim. An Aquarist sets up these exhibits, and makes sure the creatures stay healthy in this artificial environment.

Working as an Aquarist means spending a significant amount of time in a wet environment. In some Aquarist positions, you can simply lean over the tanks to do your work. In other positions, you have to strap on diving gear to accomplish your tasks.

Each day, you check the water in the aquarium to make sure dangerous chemicals aren’t building up in the water. Taking out some water and replacing it with a fresh supply can help you avoid imbalances. Adding in chemicals and salts may also be required. Additionally, you check that the water is at the proper temperature, and you adjust heaters as needed to keep that temperature constant.

As you work, you look closely at the fish, turtles, snails, and other creatures in the exhibit to make sure they’re healthy. If you spot a problem, you notify the Aquarium Curator so a Veterinarian can be called in to provide medical treatment. Some creatures eat plants that you provide, while others eat food that you toss into the tank.

Algae can build up on the glass and block the creatures from view, and it’s your job to scrape it away. Sometimes, you add items to the exhibit to make it fun and whimsical for viewers. Chests of gold or plastic mermaids may not be realistic, but they’re crowd pleasers.


Should I be an Aquarist?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Aviculturist

    How to become an Aquarist

    Aquarists often have a Certificate or higher. Chart?chd=s:9udtda&chl=no+college+%2858%25%29|certificate+%2819%25%29|associate%27s+%283%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2818%25%29|master%27s+%283%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,58,58
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