Aquarists take a great care of fish and other aquatic animals kept in captivity. They properly maintain the quality of their habitats. They plan and prepare adequate diet for the fish and animals as well as administer vitamins to sea life. Their key responsibilities include monitoring water quality and temperature, cleaning tanks, repairing equipment, designing exhibits, providing educational presentations to visitors, observing animal behavior, analyzing any signs of sickness, disease or injury, capturing sick animals for treatment, providing behavioral enrichment activities, maintaining the records as needed so on and so forth. They make sure to provide safe and nurturing environments to the mammals. These professionals may be required to travel different locations to collect specimens from rivers, lakes and oceans. The collected specimens must be safely contained which could be used in the aquarium.
Aquarists can get employment in variety of organizations such as aquariums, zoos, theme parks or research facilities. They spend much of their time working within the aquarium environment, either in an office, handling inventory, monitoring pumps, filters and heaters, or preparing food for feeding time. They may also find themselves working in office environments when designing exhibits or giving presentations to visitors. This profession usually requires a great deal of physical activity and time spent in the water.
To become an Aquarist, the aspiring candidates must hold a Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology, zoology, aquaculture, or any related area. In addition, the candidates should obtain scuba diving certification as well as certifications in CPR and first aid. However, most of the employers prefer the candidates having practical work experience with aquatic animals.
Aquarists can also earn certification from Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), a non-profit organization that provides wide range of resources and accreditation for various aquariums.
Job Outlook and Salary
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job demand for Aquarists is expected to grow 15% from 2014 to 2024, higher than average among all professions. The average annual salary of an Aquarist was $20,610 in 2014.