“More than one million known species of plants and animals [exist in the world’s oceans], and scientists say there may be as many as nine million species we haven’t discovered yet” writes Discovery Education. These astonishing numbers grow even higher if we consider all the aquatic life in the world’s rivers, seas, lakes, and swamps. But despite this wealth of life, around “2,300 species are listed as endangered or threatened” according to NOAA Fisheries. This number is likely to grow as the impact of human activity on aquatic habitats worsens. Our oceans are polluted and often dangerous for the wildlife that once enjoyed their bounty, with around “5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean as of 2015” according to National Geographic.
The New York Times estimates that there are approximately 700,000 home saltwater aquariums in the United States. When maintained responsibly with specimens obtained from ethical vendors, aquariums can be a great way to learn more about the biodiversity of our planet. Long-time fish owners understand the special wonder of bringing the ocean into their home, and those building an aquarium for the first time are sure to quickly become enchanted with their watery pets.