Career Development

16 Aquarist Skills for Your Career and Resume

Learn about the most important Aquarist skills, how you can utilize them in the workplace, and what to list on your resume.

Aquarists are professionals who work with aquatic animals in captivity. They have a wide range of responsibilities, from feeding and caring for the animals to maintaining the cleanliness of the exhibit. Aquarists also play a vital role in educating the public about the importance of aquatic conservation. If you’re interested in a career as an aquarist, it’s important to understand the skills that are necessary for the job.

Livestock Purchasing

Aquarists often work with livestock, which is the term for aquatic animals kept in aquariums. Livestock includes fish and other marine life as well as reptiles, amphibians and insects. Aquarists need to know how to purchase livestock that will thrive in their aquariums. They also need to understand the needs of different types of livestock so they can provide them with proper care.

Customer Service

Customer service skills are important for aquarists to have because they help them interact with patrons and answer their questions. Aquarists should be friendly, welcoming and helpful when interacting with customers so that the customer has a positive experience at the aquarium. Customer service skills also allow aquarists to resolve any issues that may arise during an interaction with a customer.

Fish Husbandry

Aquarists need to know how to care for fish in order to maintain a healthy environment. Husbandry skills include knowing what types of food and water conditions different species require, as well as how to identify common health issues like parasites or bacterial infections. Aquarists also use husbandry skills when performing tasks such as cleaning the tank or moving fish between tanks.


Aquarists often need to know how to breed fish and aquatic animals. Breeding can help aquarists maintain their aquariums, as they may need to produce more of a certain species or create new specimens for the aquarium. It also allows them to develop new strains of fish that might be better suited for an aquarium environment.

Attention to Detail

Aquarists must be able to pay close attention to detail when caring for aquatic life. They need to ensure that they are providing the correct water temperature, pH level and other conditions necessary for fish to thrive. This requires a great deal of knowledge about marine biology as well as an ability to monitor these factors regularly. Aquarists also need to pay close attention to their fish’s behavior in order to identify any potential health issues.

Problem Solving

Aquarists use problem-solving skills to address issues that may arise in the fish tank. For example, if a filter breaks or an electrical component malfunctions, they need to know how to fix it and prevent future problems from occurring. They also use these skills when addressing any health concerns that may affect the fish. Aquarists must be able to identify potential causes of illness and take steps to remedy them.

Aquarium Maintenance

Aquarium maintenance skills are important for an aquarist to have because they help them maintain the health of the fish in their care. This includes knowing how to clean and change water, perform regular maintenance on equipment and conduct routine checks of the aquarium’s environment. Aquarists also need to know how to identify common issues that may affect the health of the fish, such as low oxygen levels or high ammonia levels.

Feeding & Nutrition

Aquarists need to know how to feed and nourish aquatic life. This includes knowing the correct types of food for different species, as well as how much to feed them. It’s also important to understand what types of foods are healthy for fish and other marine animals and which ones may be harmful.

Aquarists should also have a basic understanding of nutrition so they can make informed decisions about their own diets. For example, an aquarist who is trying to grow large fish might need to eat more protein than someone who is trying to maintain smaller specimens.

Time Management

Time management is the ability to plan and execute tasks in a timely manner. Aquarists often have many responsibilities, including caring for animals, maintaining equipment and preparing presentations or demonstrations. They also need to be punctual when meeting with clients or attending meetings.

Water Quality Testing

Aquarists need to understand water quality and how it affects the health of aquatic life. They use their knowledge of water chemistry to maintain a healthy environment for fish, plants and other organisms in an aquarium. Aquarists also test water regularly to ensure that levels of chlorine, ammonia and other chemicals are within safe ranges.

Coral Propagation

Coral propagation is the process by which aquarists grow new coral. Coral propagation can be done through several methods, including tissue culture and fragmentation. Tissue culture involves taking a small piece of existing coral and growing it into a full colony. Fragmentation involves cutting off pieces of existing coral to grow them into new colonies.


Communication is the ability to convey information clearly and concisely. Aquarists often communicate with patrons, other aquarium staff members and aquatic life suppliers through written or verbal means. They also use communication skills when recording data about their aquatic specimens, such as water quality levels, feeding schedules and behavioral patterns.


Patience is a skill that aquarists use to help them remain calm and composed when they encounter challenges. For example, if an aquarium’s water quality drops or the fish become sick, it can take time for the aquarist to identify the problem and find a solution. Aquarists with patience are able to work through these issues without becoming frustrated. This also helps them teach their patrons about aquatic life in a calm and informative manner.

Invertebrate Care

Aquarists often work with invertebrates, which are animals that lack a backbone. Invertebrates include fish and other aquatic life as well as insects, spiders and other land-dwelling creatures. Aquarists must know how to care for these creatures, including feeding them, cleaning their habitats and providing them with the right environment.

Disease Identification & Treatment

Aquarists need to be able to identify and treat diseases in fish. This is an important skill because it ensures the health of the fish in your care. Aquarists also use their knowledge of disease when creating treatment plans for sick fish. You can learn about different types of fish diseases by reading books or taking classes on marine biology.


Organization is the ability to keep track of multiple tasks and responsibilities. Aquarists often have many duties, including maintaining equipment, preparing food for fish, cleaning tanks and observing animals’ behavior. Having strong organizational skills can help aquarists stay on top of their work and ensure they’re meeting all of their aquarium’s needs.

How Can I Learn These Aquarist Skills?

There are a few ways to learn the necessary skills to become an aquarist. Many of the skills, such as customer service, fish husbandry, and attention to detail, can be learned through on-the-job training. However, some of the more technical skills, such as water quality testing and coral propagation, may require formal education or certification. The best way to learn the skills needed to become an aquarist is to combine on-the-job training with formal education, such as taking courses offered by aquarium societies or online.


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