Aquarist Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an aquarist. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an aquarist.
Who is an Aquarist?
An aquarist is someone who cares for the marine life in aquariums by maintaining their living surroundings and having hands-on contact with the species. Aquarists are responsible for the care of aquatic life in aquariums, tanks, and other water-filled environments. They typically work with a variety of fish, plants, invertebrates, and other species to ensure that everything is healthy and flourishing.
Aquarists may also be responsible for teaching visitors about the creatures they’re viewing or helping them understand more about the environment being presented. This might involve answering questions about the species on exhibit, offering tours of the facility, or even presenting educational programs for school groups or other interested parties.
Aquarists are the specialists who take care of the fish and other animal life in aquariums. These trained workers normally operate under the direction of the aquarium curator. The aquarists deal largely with the fish and ensure that they are fed and check that the fishes get all the stuff they need to live in their habitat.
They adapt to the setting where the fish reside. Their daily jobs include several obligations such as cleaning the tank, removing algae from the glass for optimal view of fish, etc. They are responsible for the health of the fish and plants in the aquarium and manage all sorts of associated activities which vary from keeping the right temperature in the aquarium to feeding the animals with suitable quantity and type of food.
Apart from the usual activities they also take care of the animals who become ill or those that need particular attention. They frequently monitor the fish inside the tank for numerous studies and acquire important information for a variety of uses. If the aquarists have sufficient official education and experience in this subject they may even ascend to the profession of scientists in this area.
Aquarist Job Description
Below are the aquarist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of an aquarist include the following;
- Monitor the health of fish and invertebrates to discover indicators of sickness or stress.
- Clean and preserve tools and equipment such as nets, thermometers, test kits, and drugs.
- Feed fish and invertebrates regularly as well as do water changes as required.
- Observe fish behavior and document data regarding eating patterns, sleeping habits, etc.
- Interact with guests to teach them about fish maintenance and answer concerns about individual creatures in the aquarium.
- Provide information on aquarium life cycles, habitats, feeding habits, and behavior of fish species in the aquarium.
- Provide information to clients about varieties of fish available for purchase and the necessary care needed for each type.
- Troubleshoot difficulties with fish behavior or health concerns, utilizing an understanding of chemistry and biology to address issues.
- Supervise the upkeep of tanks containing sea creatures such as fish, crustaceans, and sharks.
- Observe the health of sea creatures and assess any injuries and diseases.
- Monitor and detect any anomalies in the marine habitats or fish tanks.
- Clean the interior of fish tanks.
- Perform the required maintenance on instruments and equipment.
- Identify and treat diseases in various marine species.
- Inspect filters, pumps, and heaters to ensure they’re operating properly.
- Guarantee the water quality and temperatures are at the proper levels.
- Oversee nutrition and propagation strategies.
- Give food, supplements, and vitamins to the animals in their care.
- Create exhibits for marine life to thrive in that mimic their natural habitats and are visually pleasing to observers.
- Go deep-sea diving to investigate underwater species and gather samples.
- Prepare and draft reports on water quality, tank conditions, and animal health.
- Bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology, marine science, or equivalent discipline.
- Ability to bend/Stoop.
- Bachelor’s degree in marine science or comparable degree desired.
- You must have at least two years of experience working in the aquarium business.
- A grasp of HSE diving at work laws is important as you will be liable for diving-related animal welfare problems in the Curator’s absence.
- Livestock Purchasing: Aquarists commonly work with livestock, which is the name for aquatic creatures housed in aquariums. Livestock includes fish and other aquatic species as well as reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Aquarists need to know how to buy animals that will flourish in their aquariums. They also need to understand the demands of various species of livestock so they can offer them suitable care.
- Customer Service: Customer service skills are vital for aquarists to have since they help them communicate with consumers and answer their inquiries. Aquarists should be courteous, inviting, and helpful while engaging with guests so that the consumer has a great experience at the aquarium. Consumer service skills also assist aquarists to handle any concerns that may emerge during an encounter with a customer.
- Fish Husbandry: Aquarists need to know how to care for fish to maintain a healthy habitat. Husbandry skills include understanding what sorts of food and water conditions each species need, as well as how to spot common health concerns like parasites or bacterial illnesses. Aquarists also employ husbandry skills while conducting duties such as cleaning the tank or transporting fish between tanks.
- Breeding: Aquarists typically need to know how to breed fish and aquatic creatures. Breeding may assist aquarists to manage their aquariums, since they may need to generate more of a given species or develop new specimens for the aquarium. It also enables them to produce new breeds of fish that could be more suited for an aquarium setting.
- Attention to Detail: Aquarists must be able to pay considerable attention to detail while caring for aquatic life. They need to ensure that they are giving the right water temperature, pH level, and other parameters essential for fish to grow. This needs a considerable lot of information about marine biology as well as a capacity to check these parameters routinely. Aquarists also need to pay careful attention to their fish’s behavior to discover any possible health concerns.
- Problem Solving: Aquarists employ problem-solving abilities to handle challenges that may develop in the fish tank. For example, if a filter breaks or an electrical component fails, they need to know how to replace it and avoid further issues from developing. They also employ these talents while managing any health problems that may impact the fish. Aquarists must be able to detect probable causes of sickness and take efforts to rectify them.
- Aquarium Maintenance: Aquarium maintenance skills are vital for an aquarist to have since they assist them to preserve the health of the fish in their care. This involves learning how to clean and replace water, perform regular maintenance on equipment and conduct routine examinations of the aquarium’s habitat. Aquarists also need to know how to spot common conditions that may influence the health of the fish, such as low oxygen levels or excessive ammonia levels.
- Feeding & Nutrition: Aquarists need to know how to feed and sustain aquatic life. This involves understanding the right sorts of food for various animals, as well as how much to give them. It’s also crucial to learn what sorts of meals are beneficial for fish and other marine creatures and which ones may be hazardous.
Aquarists should also have a basic grasp of nutrition so they may make educated judgments regarding their diets. For example, an aquarist who is attempting to develop huge fish may need to consume more protein than someone who is trying to maintain smaller species.
- Time Management: Time management is the capacity to plan and perform things in a timely way. Aquarists may have several tasks, including caring for animals, maintaining equipment, and creating presentations or displays. They also need to be prompt while dealing with customers or attending meetings.
- Water Quality Testing: Aquarists need to understand water quality and how it impacts the health of aquatic life. They employ their understanding of water chemistry to provide a healthy habitat for fish, plants, and other species in an aquarium. Aquarists also test water routinely to verify that levels of chlorine, ammonia and other contaminants are within acceptable limits.
- Coral Propagation: Coral propagation is the technique through which aquarists generate new coral. Coral propagation may be done in numerous ways, including tissue culture and fragmentation. Tissue culture entails taking a tiny piece of existing coral and developing it into a whole colony. Fragmentation involves breaking off sections of existing coral to develop them into new colonies.
- Communication: Communication is the capacity to deliver information effectively and simply. Aquarists regularly interact with consumers, other aquarium staff members, and aquatic life suppliers via written or spoken methods. They also employ communication skills while documenting data on their aquatic creatures, such as water quality levels, feeding regimens, and behavioral patterns.
- Patience: Patience is a talent that aquarists utilize to help them stay cool and controlled when they confront problems. For example, if an aquarium’s water quality lowers or the fish grow ill, it might take time for the aquarist to diagnose the issue and find a cure. Aquarists with patience can work through these challenges without getting irritated. This also helps them educate their consumers about aquatic life peacefully and educationally.
- Invertebrate Care: Aquarists generally deal with invertebrates, which are creatures that lack a backbone. Invertebrates include fish and other aquatic life as well as insects, spiders, and other land-dwelling organisms. Aquarists must know how to care for these critters, including feeding them, cleaning their enclosures, and giving them the correct atmosphere.
- Disease Identification & Treatment: Aquarists need to be competent to recognize and cure illnesses in fish. This is a crucial skill since it guarantees the health of the fish under your care. Aquarists also utilize their understanding of illness while devising treatment programs for sick fish. You may learn about many forms of fish infections by reading books or attending lessons on marine biology.
- Organization: The organization can keep track of many activities and obligations. Aquarists frequently have several jobs, including maintaining equipment, making food for fish, cleaning tanks, and analyzing animals’ behavior. Having great organizational skills may assist aquarists to remain on top of their job and guarantee they’re serving all of their aquarium’s demands.
How to Become an Aquarist
- Obtain your bachelor’s degree: Pursue and acquire a bachelor’s degree in a suitable scientific or animal-related subject to research animal behavior and anatomy. You may earn a degree in marine biology, aquaculture, zoology, or another closely connected field, such as veterinary sciences or environmental engineering. As early as high school, you could begin taking electives or engaging in extracurricular activities to get a practical understanding of ecosystems, wildlife, and conservation initiatives.
- Enroll in scuba diving lessons and seminars: The bulk of aquarist occupations require fieldwork, such as diving in rivers, oceans, and lakes to obtain samples and explore underwater species. Employers may expect that you earn your scuba diving certification outside of your bachelor’s course. Be aware to also receive the proper credentials so that you can care for animals in an emergency while spending a lot of time underwater.
- Consider doing an internship: While it’s not always required, many aquarists begin their careers by interning at a local aquarium to obtain experience and a competitive edge in a competitive market. This can offer you the chance to watch a professional aquarist and learn more about the role’s requirements through hands-on, practical experience. An internship experience might also help you develop your network in the sector.
As an entry-level applicant, putting an internship on your resume may help you stand out from the throng. Many courses cooperate with organizations that give internships for university credit, so check with your lecturer about prospective opportunities.
- Participate in a professional organization: You may explore joining professional organizations to widen your network and take up new skills. Many aquarists from all across the globe are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This non-profit organization offers aquarists tools and networking opportunities to generate ideas, share industry information, and give guidance on work-related concerns. In addition to networking with a global community, you can expect to be up to speed on the newest innovations in your area. There may be other local organizations you may consider joining as well.
- Continue pursuing your studies: Consider upgrading your education if you wish to take on more demanding jobs, grow in your profession and earn more money. You may acquire your master’s degree in marine biology or a related area right after completing your undergraduate studies or after working as an aquarist for a few years. This advanced education may equip you to work in senior and specialist roles. You may undertake sophisticated fieldwork, high-level experiments, or teach kids about marine biology.
Where to Work as an Aquarist
Aquarists work at public aquariums, zoos, marine parks, and hatcheries. They take care of the fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates at these facilities. They also construct and manage the exhibitions in which these creatures are shown. Aquarists normally work a 40-hour week, however, they may be forced to work nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be on call 24 hours a day to deal with crises. The labor may be physically hard, and aquarists may be exposed to harmful chemicals and animals.
Aquarist Salary Scale
The average aquarist pay in the USA is $38,357 per year or $19.67 per hour. Entry-level occupations start at $30,167 per year while most experienced professionals get up to $50,705 per year.
The average aquarist pay in the United Kingdom is £30,618 per year or £15.70 per hour. Entry-level occupations start at £21,270 per year while most experienced professionals earn up to £35,880 per year.
In Canada, an entry-level aquarist (1-3 years of experience) makes an average income of $30,076 per year. On the other end, a senior-level aquarist (8+ years of experience) receives an average pay of $43,212 per year.
In Australia, an entry-level aquarist (1-3 years of experience) makes an average income of $42,246 per year. On the other end, a senior-level aquarist (8+ years of experience) receives an average pay of $55,052 per year.