According to health statistics, about one in five adults in America are experiencing a mental health disease.

Research carried out revealed that coming into contact with nature may offer an effective mental ill-health prevention strategy for a vast population.

It is no surprise that keeping pets is widely recommended as an effective way to help enhance mental health. But perhaps what you are not aware of is that not just the furry pets such as dogs and cats offer us excellent mental health benefits.

Statistics show that pet fish are found as household pets in more than thirteen million American households, making them the most famous pet after cats and dogs.

Having a fish pet comes with the same if not more health benefits than keeping other pets. Here is a look at the mental health benefits of having pet fish.

Pet Fish Make Great Friends

Pets cannot talk back to you when you need someone to talk to after a tough day. They are literally excellent listeners.

Many people think that only cats and dogs make excellent friend pets, but there are several reasons why fish make an ideal companion too.

Scientific research about facial recognition and fish reveals that some fish, such as Archerfish, can recognize their owners' faces. Other fish, for example, the Betta fish, have excellent personalities and can learn some fun tricks.

They provide real-life fun for lonely people, which encourages and endears people to bond with them.

This way, it relieves one from absolute loneliness. Having another living being in the form of a pet fish makes it easier to open up and talk loud. It makes you feel like there is someone there to listen to you, which goes a long way in countering loneliness.

Help To Relieve Stress

A survey by the American Pet Products Association reported that more than sixty percent of people who have pet fish get to relieve stress and enhance their mood by simply watching their fish.

It is amazingly relaxing to relax in the afternoons enjoying the fish swim around their tank.

While pet dogs and cats help relieve stress, you won't bother to walk your pet after a tiring and busy day.

With a pet fish, you just watch it as you relax back from work and enjoy the stress-relieving effect.

An active fish tank's visual stimulation also provides therapeutic effects giving your mind an alternative thing to concentrate on for some time as you work on something.

Improved Sleep Quality

A great night's sleep is vital to high-quality mental wellbeing. The body refreshes and maintains itself during sleep while giving your mind time to organize retention.

However, most individuals do not find sleep easily. Viewing your pet fish in an aquarium may help calm your body and mind, and fall asleep deeply, saving you from spending half the night turning without sleep.

Pet fish bring positive energy to the room and lower stress levels. They eliminate all the negative thoughts that affect your sleep, making it easy for you to have a healthy night's sleep.

If your aquarium fish pet is found in your bedroom, they can offer ambient noise that helps give you a quality night's sleep. But Make sure to use a quality fish tank heater or filter that doesn’t make sounds.

Reduce loneliness

Loneliness and mental health are closely related to each other. However, keeping a pet fish can help combat feelings of loneliness, positively impacting your mental health.

For instance, a hotel in Belgium understands that travelers often felt lonely when living in hotels alone and provided the option of hiring a goldfish to keep them company for the stay.

Being around your pet fish helps give you companionship and reduce stress. Also, routine maintenance will help reduce loneliness and boost your mental health. You will feel like you have a companion to talk to, too, anytime you feel lonely.

Reduced Anxiety and Pain

Viewing an aquarium is mesmerizing. It normalizes the blood pressure, lowers your heart rate while also slipping away your worry and stress. The presence of a pet fish has also been proved to decrease pain and anxiety.

According to a scientific study, the presence of an aquarium in the dental waiting room reduced patients' anxiety levels, the pain felt during the medical procedures, and the amount of pain medication required afterward.

Decorating your home with a fish aquarium can similarly help to overcome anxiety and pain. A fish pet is an alternative way to treat anxiety disorder. When you look at the fish swim, your brain gets diverted, and you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Allows You To Be Part Of A Group Or Community

Individuals who are part of a group of the community have less likelihood of being lonely as they have higher friendship levels and support around them.

That said, the aquarist industry has groups and communities in about all cities across the world.
Fish has been a captivating pet for years, and so there will always be groups dedicated to fishkeeping, even around your area. Joining these groups will go a long way in giving one a sense of belonging, which helps to boost self-esteem and confidence.

When you feel lonely, one of the significant issues is that you don't want to go out to socialize. Most of the aquarist groups are based online, with occasional physical meetups giving you a chance to establish closer relationships with members from your comfort zone first. Overall, this will serve as a major boost to your mental health.

A Pet Fish Enhances Your Physical And Mental Wellbeing

It is hard to remain stressed when watching a blossoming aquarium.

According to a 2016 scientific study, nature plays a significant role in humans' wellbeing and health. The study goes further to reveal that constant contact with nature may offer an effective mental ill-health prevention strategy amongst a population.

Researchers from Plymouth University, National Marine Aquarium, on the mental and physical health benefits of viewing fish in aquariums found that individuals who spend some time watching fish aquariums noticed improvements in their mental and physical wellbeing.

There is a peaceful aspect of a fish tank that calms you and those around you. Not only does it alleviate heart rate and pressure, but it also improves their moods.

It Enacts A Routine On Your Life That Keeps You Active

Being lonely can easily lead you to the trap of feeling depressed and becoming secluded. This can cause you to stop engaging in your daily activities that keep your mind active and body engaged.

Having a specific routine can positively influence people who experience mental health issues and help lessen loneliness. If you have stress or suffer from loneliness and you have a pet to take care of, you will be required to do various chores at a particular time.

For example, if you have a pet dog, you will need to regularly take it for a walk and spend some time playing with it. Similarly, if you have a pet fish, you will feed the fish, turn the lights on, daily maintenance chores, and monthly check-ups such as assessing the filters.

Doing all this will require you to go to the pet store, get you out of the house, and even interact with other people with similar interests. You can now see how this will help decrease loneliness, stress and boost your mental health. It will help your mind and body to stay active and energetic all day long.

Has A Calming Effect On Alzheimer's Patients And Children

Having pet fish has been proved to offer a soothing effect on children having hyperactivity disorders and Alzheimer's patients.

The U.S Alzheimer's Association states that more than five million Americans are struggling with a form of Alzheimer's illness or dementia, with the figures expected to rise to more than fifteen million by 2050.

When the patients and children watch the pet fish swim in the swim tank, their mind feels relaxed and calm. A fish tank reduces the disruptive behavior of people who have Alzheimer's and boosts their appetite, alertness, and mood.

Keeping pet fish is also an effective and genuine therapy for children who have disruptive behavior. It can enhance good sleep and concentration, which might go a long way in boosting school performance.

Bottom Line

Most people choose larger animal pets that can provide sympathy and cuddles to them. However, a pet fish can also be an excellent choice for people who either don't have sufficient time to care for a bigger pet or find it challenging to take them out for walks.

Pet fish can help enforce a daily task, which can result in a less lonely and happier person, reduce stress, and positively impact your mental health.

Now that you know all about the myriad mental health benefits of having pet fish, you should decide the fish species you want to keep, learn about its maintenance needs, go to your local fish store and start enjoying these mental health benefits.

With lots of money spent on treating mental health diseases, keeping pet fish is a cost-effective way of offering emotional wellbeing.

Author's Bio: 

Sujit Modak is the owner of the fishkeeping blog 'Aquarium Tales'. You can visit his blog:
He is an experienced aquarist. He successfully experimented with a complex ecosystem inside aquariums. Biotope aquariums and aquaponics are the fields of his interest. He shared his experience-based thoughts on mental health benefits of having pet fish.