You may have an aquarium at home and probably you are the one who maintains it. If this is the case, you can consider yourself as a fish keeper or more popularly known as an aquarist.
What is an Aquarist?
An aquarist or fishkeeper is the person responsible in the maintenance of an aquarium. They can be considered as the underwater counterpart of zookeepers.
Duties of an Aquarist
Aquarists can usually be found working for marine research institutes. Oceanariums and aquariums also hire aquarists. Here they feed fish and perform researches.
Improving the population of the fishes is one of the main responsibilities of an aquarist. They are dedicated in the conservation of the marine life as well as propagating educational programs that helps them in spreading their advocacy.
They clean tanks as well as maintain the pipes that are connected to the aquariums. Since this is a controlled environment, they must check water temperature and sift sand. Changing of water as well as the water tanks guarantees a sterile environment which is a priority as well.
Work Condition of an Aquarist
Prepared to be wet if you consider this post. Depending on the facility, you may have to work both indoors and outdoors. Time is mostly spent in the water to closely observe marine life as well as when performing aquarium maintenance.
May work under supervision of a supervisor and since most oceanariums have large tanks; an aquarist may work with a team.
Prepare to do repetitive and some unusual tasks. This involves fish feeding to working on saving other sea creatures.
Educational Requirements of an Aquarist
Finishing high school is always a good start if you want to become an aquarist. A Science class that involves the study of marine life is suggested to be taken. This will develop and enhance observation skills needed for careful evaluation and record keeping.
Having a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences may be required as well. There are more complicated cases while practicing the care of captive sea animals that a four year course is necessary to handle complex scenarios.
Since a lot of time is spent underwater, an aquarist needs to get scuba certification. You will be feeding fish within the aquarium or in some cases, in the open sea.
Occupation and Progress of an Aquarist
From an entry level position, an aquarist can work his way to become a senior aquarist or supervisor, all the way as a curator.
To reach a certain level of expertise, each step will require more experience as well as additional education. A Ph.D. in any relevant marine science study is required of a curator.
If you have maintained your own aquarium and you feel that you have a passion in taking care of fish and other underwater organisms, then you might be a good aquarist. What started as a hobby can become your full fledged work in the future. The transition is not that hard as long as you equip yourself with the right tools such as taking appropriate classes to better understand marine life. Your passion for your hobby will easily translate into good working habits and this will not only benefit you, but also the aquarium you will be tasked to take care of.