Aquarium Curator

Maintain exhibits that mimic the natural habitat of sea creatures.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$28,000 – $86,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Aquarium Curators do?

Aquarium Curators manage aquatic exhibits at zoos and aquariums. These exhibits consist of sea animals (like fish, crabs, and an octopus or two), aquatic plants, rocks, and coral. Typical duties for Aquarium Curators include maintaining exhibits, caring for the creatures, making sure the aquariums are clean, and checking that any equipment necessary to run the exhibits is functioning properly.

While you won’t have to sleep with the fishes to be an Aquarium Curator, being in tune with them will help you succeed. The goal of most modern zoos and aquariums is to create realistic exhibits. Using your knowledge of everything under the sea, you determine which animals can cohabitate, envision what their world looks like in the wild, and create that vision in the space provided. Inventive Aquarium Curators even incorporate water motion effects that replicate crashing ocean waves.

Typical days are a combination of office work and setting up exhibits firsthand. Sometimes, that means you will don your best scuba gear to personally place plants and animals so that the exhibit best resembles an ocean, lake, or stream. The responsibilities of acquiring new animals and devising new exhibits also fall on you. And when you do acquire new animals, you plan their safe transport and healthy arrival.

It’s also important that you strike a balance between putting up a spectacular exhibit for the public, and creating a healthy living space for the animals under your care. This means providing enough space for the animals to hide and feel secure, while giving them enough room to roam so visitors can take a peek at how they live in their natural habitats.

Should I be an Aquarium Curator?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.

  • Also known as: Curator, Herbarium, Herbarium Curator

    How to become an Aquarium Curator

    Aquarium Curators often have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:ybaa19&chl=doctorate+%2830%25%29|no+college+%281%25%29|||bachelor%27s+%2832%25%29|master%27s+%2837%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,30,37
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