There are plenty of health benefits and calm that accompany a desktop aquarium – which has become lightyears better than ever before. With biological filtration, built in heaters, and compact design, it makes it so much easier to enjoy your own aquatic world while at work. Best of all, according to a report by the World Health Design, an aquarium with living fish produced higher positive moods in the office environment than any other natural or artificial nature elements. Studies even show that people who are exposed to fish tanks, have reduced anxiety levels of up to 12%.
So, while some may say bring your dog to work day rocks, I say sometimes Fido in the workplace is like a fish out of water! Bring your fish to work instead.
There are many types of fish, and crustaceans that you can house in your watery world. Some popular choices are rasboras, guppies, danios, mollies, tetras and many, many other species. I just set up a five gallon desktop aquarium in my office at work and populated it with about 10 ghost shrimp, 5 neon tetras, and 5 red-tailed rasboras.
As with any aquarium, you must expect to lose some fish in the beginning due to the cycling of the tank. This is where the biological filtration begins, and bacteria begins to take hold in the aquarium. There are “chemicals” in the aquarium marketplace that suggest they can almost eliminate the cycling period, if not cut down the natural time drastically. I’m a purist. I don’t believe in putting anything into my tank that promises to “cut down” anything that nature will handle in its own good time.
With that said, I lost 2 neons, and most of the ghost shrimp. While I hate that I kind of feel that I “sacrificed” both the ghost shrimp, and the neons to the aquarium Gods, the other fish are flourishing. The tank has a nice brownish hue from the tannins in the driftwood, and it makes the tank feel that much more like home for my fine finned friends.
Now that the tank has finished its “cycle” I can introduce a few more fish (I’m thinking of some type of colorful danio or guppies) and replenish the ghost shrimp along with a few cherry shrimp. The shrimp are amazing to watch as they crawl around the substrate and forage for food. The fish have learned when they will be fed and eagerly approach the top of the aquarium to greet me with wagging tails (well, they look like they’re wagging to me!)
The health benefits to this small piece of living art are almost too much to mention. I feel relaxed looking at my swimming neighbors, and can find calm in the most hectic of days. When I find myself stumped over a complex technology problem, I sit back in my chair, and search my underwater world for answers.
Everyone who has walked into my office loves the tank. They sit there while they talk to me about an issue, a wish list item, or a possible solution, all the while never really taking their eyes off the cube of life on my desk.
Here are a few tips I can offer you if you decide you want to take the plunge:
- Get a go-ahead from leadership to make the investment in time and money.
- Once approved, buy the best aquarium you can afford. This is someone’s home!
- Only introduce a few fish at a time to cycle the tank. Goldfish are not great for this as they are “dirty” fish.
- Do NOT overfeed your friends! This is critical in keeping the tank clean. Only feed as much as they can consume in a 2 minute timeframe. The shrimp will clean the rest that float to the bottom.
- Don’t worry about the weekends. I feed mine when I first get in on Friday morning, and then give them another feeding before I leave. Food in the gravel is easily consumed if they begin to feel hungry again over the weekend.
- Water changes! I take out about a half a gallon of water each week. Slightly more if I (oops) overfeed them. NEVER change all the water in a tank. PERIOD. You run the risk of killing the helpful bacteria and having to start the whole “tank cycle” again.
With these few tips, and tons more just a Google Search away, you can finally have some peace and tranquility watching your fish friends live their lives at the end of your desk.