Fishkeeping trends mixed

by | Nov 10, 2017 | Advanced Aquarist | 0 comments

Fishkeeping trends mixed

Saltwater aquariums are on the rise in the USA. Photo by “Tappinen”

The 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey showed that there were 11.9 million US households with freshwater aquariums and 700,000 US households with saltwater aquariums.  Jump to their latest 2017-2018 survey, the new data shows the number  freshwater households marginally increased to 12.5 million while saltwater hobbyists skyrocketed to 2.5 million US households.

On the other hand, a recent UK poll conducted by Mintel found that pet ownership across the UK has declined substantially from 2012 to 2017 with fiskkeeping seeing the biggest drop of any type of pet.


The diverging trend between the two countries is interesting.  Mintel spokeswoman Emma Clifford states: “Shrinking household sizes and the trend of consumers starting their families later in life are all having a negative effect on pet ownership.”  However, the USA has followed a similar sociological trend as the UK, and yet the USA has seen an increase in pet ownership.

Also interesting is the the number of fish people reported keeping when comparing the two APPA surveys.  While there was an 600,000 household increase of freshwater fishkeepers, the total number of freshwater fishes kept actually dropped from 151 million to 139 million.  Just as remarkably: Even though saltwater aquarium households jumped by a factor of 3.5 times, the total number of saltwater fishes only doubled – from 8.6 to 18.8 million.  This data shows that the number of captive specimens kept hasn’t kept pace with the increase in number of USA households keeping aquariums. This encouraging trend may be the result of education about proper stocking levels.

How is your local or national fishkeeping scene?

  • Leonard Ho

    I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

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