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Overview and Key Facts

Man holding bucket with food for dolphins on a beach
High school diploma or equivalent
Median Pay
Median Pay
Job Growth
Job Growth
(Above US Average)
Jobs in 2031
Jobs in 2031

What Do They Do?

An aquarist could...

Overview Listen to this section

A summer day at the beach can be very relaxing. The sand is warm and the waves lap gently on the shore. But beneath the water's surface is a world that is teeming with rich plant and animal life. For many of us, it isn't possible to experience this world firsthand. But at a public aquarium, we can take a peek and examine close up the beautiful fish and coral. An aquarist cares for the animal and plant life that you see in those aquarium displays. Aquarists make sure that all of the animals and plants in their displays are well fed and free of disease.
Watch this cool video and learn about this awesome career. Leslee Matsushige is an aquarist and an assistant curator at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is an expert at maintaining exhibits of sea horses and sea dragons.

Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of an Aquarist?

  1. Monitoring: ?
  2. Service Orientation: ?
  3. Coordination: ?
  4. Judgment and Decision Making: ?
  5. Active Listening: ?

Core Tasks

Think about if you'd like the typical tasks an Aquarist might do:
  • Preserve exhibit aesthetics by cleaning viewing surface regularly, adding and removing specimens, maintaining proper lighting, and removing unwanted materials.
  • Maintain aquarium tank-life support by monitoring equipment performance and troubleshooting, repairing, and replacing equipment as necessary.
  • Test aquarium water quality and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Acquire specimens after identifying sources and obtaining permits. Oversee specimen transport, acclimation, and introduction into exhibits.
  • Determine the dietary needs of specimens. Prepare meals and feed specimens.
  • Maintain and record animal health by observing and diagnosing health issues, and applying appropriate treatments.
  • Design exhibits after determining theme and focus and after conducting feasibility study. Design appropriate life-support system.
  • Locate and order materials, prepare location, and construct exhibits.
  • Assist with training, education, and media relations. May include training volunteers and interns and preparing presentations for tours.

Salary & Job Openings

Steps to Get There: Becoming an Aquarist

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On the Job

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