Why Use Aquarium Screensaver Software?
Although most computer monitors today don't require screensavers to prevent burn-in, which can cause discoloration of plasma or cathode ray tube (CRT) style monitors, they are still a fun source of entertainment when your computer goes into sleep mode. The aquarium screensaver has been around almost as long as flying toasters. The fish in these virtual tanks come in a variety of styles from realistic to cartoonish. Not all of the fish get along, though, and if you're not interested in seeing your virtual fish attack each other, educate yourself on species to avoid in our articles on aquarium screensavers.
A virtual fish tank is a fun, affordable option when you want the beauty of an aquarium without spending hundreds of dollars on equipment, fish and maintenance. For a live saltwater aquarium, you need to purchase a tank, stand, lighting, pump, heater, light timers, sterilizer and more. Then you need to buy sand and rock, coral, fish and fish food, and you need to mix saltwater. Even if you buy secondhand equipment and employ some DIY methods to save cash, you're still looking at thousands of dollars just to get started.
Maintenance of a real fish tank can be time-consuming and costly, too. A virtual aquarium gives you exotic fish species – some that you'd never be able to keep in your home – and lets you interact with them in a way you wouldn't be able to in a live aquarium.
You can find a variety of free aquarium screensavers available, but most of these downloads include pop-up ads or subpar artwork. The best aquarium screensavers include striking art and details like screensavers and interactive functions that you wouldn't expect with inexpensive software. Whether you want to protect your plasma computer monitor, you want to relax while watching fish swim lazily across your screen, you're looking for some quality nostalgia, or you want to entertain a child or even a cat with virtual dolphins and sharks, there's a fish aquarium screensaver that's ideal for you.
How Screensavers Protect Your Monitor
If you're using a CRT monitor, a plasma monitor or plasma television, you run the risk of burn-in, which leaves a faint outline of whatever image, document or website you had displayed on your monitor for an extended time. This is why screensavers were so popular decades ago when computer users didn't have the option of LCD monitors.
Phosphor-based monitors eventually lose their potency or luminance over time and with continued use. If you have a plasma television, you may have noticed that the TV has a built-in screensaver that pops up after it's been on for a while. If an image stays on the monitor for a while, it can leave a ghost of that image, which can even show up when the monitor or television is turned off. A constantly moving image, though, can prevent or at least slow down the degradation, which is why screensavers exist.
Fish Aquarium Screensaver Therapy
Even if you don't need to prevent burn-in with a screensaver, a marine aquarium screensaver could bolster your health. A study conducted by the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter determined that staring at fish swimming in a tank lowers blood pressure and reduces heart rate. So, theoretically, an aquarium screensaver can improve your well-being. Underwater scenes with various fish swimming to and fro can have a calming and relaxing effect.
When the study was conducted, the researchers found that even a tank bereft of fish had a positive effect on the test subjects. As fish were added to the tank, the vitals of the people who watched lowered even more. The more fish the researchers added, the more the subjects were calmed.
3D Aquarium Screensaver Fun
One of the best features of most 3D aquarium screensavers is that they're interactive. You can click on or near fish to disrupt their swimming patterns or feed dolphins. Some programs even let you "pet" fish with a click of your mouse button. You can feed your fish and – in one case – turn on a fish poo setting for ultra-realism.
If customization is your idea of fun, you can find aquarium screensavers that let you build your own virtual ocean floor or fish tank and choose the fish species you want to see swimming by. If the number of fish species you can choose from isn't enough, you can create your own fish in some screensaver programs.
Some 3D aquarium screensavers let you look around the tank or virtual ocean just by clicking and moving your mouse around. This lets you see the fish and the environment from a different angle.
Freshwater vs. Saltwater
You get a variety of fish species in any aquarium software you choose. Freshwater virtual fish tanks can be as beautiful and varied as a saltwater tank, with a plethora of tropical creatures. From angelfish and barbs to bala sharks and discus fish, you get lots of options for filling your tank. You can choose a program like Goldfish Aquarium, which includes more than a dozen different kinds of goldfish.
Most aquarium screensavers include saltwater fish, though. You can find software that includes up to 80 species of oceanic fish, which gives you plenty of options to create your perfect marine aquarium. You can also opt for a title like Sharks, Terrors of the Deep and fill your screen with nothing but sharks.
The Best Aquarium Screensavers for Sea World Lovers
One of the best reasons to get an aquarium screensaver is that you can get up close and personal with underwater creatures that you'd have to pay big bucks to interact with otherwise. Although you won't get to actually pet or swim with the fish in these software titles, you also won't get soaking wet.
In DigiFish Dolphin, you can sit back and watch the digital dolphins swim by and hunt for food. You can also call them to you with a click of your mouse to interact with them. They swim up to your screen so you can listen to their squeaks and whistles while you pet them. As they swim around the virtual ocean, you can follow them throughout the environment as if you're swimming with them.
You may have been to an aquarium where you can pet a small shark in a touch pool along with other sea creatures. If you're the more adventurous type, you can even do some shark cage diving where you plunge into the depths of an ocean protected by bars of steel and get exceptionally close to great whites and other sharks. It's a pricey experience – and not everyone is so brave. Sharks, Terrors of the Deep lets you submerge into the dark waters with 11 different types of sharks. Although you can't interact with these virtual sharks, you can watch their realistic movements and behavior as they swim by your screen.
Although most people focus on the fish in an aquarium, some people are reeled in by the brilliant colors, swaying greenery and abstract shapes of reefs. Sim Aquarium gives you dozens of fish species and a handful of different scenes to choose from, but it excels at scenery. Rays of sunlight pierce the water and highlight the virtual reefs in this eye-catching aquarium screensaver.
The Best Aquarium Screensaver for Children
All of the virtual fish aquarium screensavers include underwater scenes – whether it's a fish tank or an oceanic environment – and plenty of fish to fill your screen. Many of the screensavers let you interact with the fish to change their swimming patterns or let you feed them. Marine Aquarium, though, tells you something about each species. As a fish swims by, you can click on it and an information bubble pops up with facts about that species. This is a great way to educate yourself or your children on fish names, where in the world the fish can be found, what they eat and how big they can get.
DigiFish Clownfish is a great choice if you or your children are big fans of a certain Pixar series of films about a little lost clownfish. Although those animated films taught us that not all clownfish are funny, it didn't reveal that there's more than one type of clownfish out in the sea. This aquarium screensaver introduces you to more than a dozen different clownfish varieties. It also includes several types of anemones, the homes for these clownfish. Additionally, you can find other tropical fish, such as a yellow tang, angelfish, parrotfish and butterflyfish.
These aquarium screensavers will provide the closest experience you can get to swimming with sharks, snorkeling through tropical reefs or maintaining a pristine aquarium without ever requiring you to leave your office or home. All of the screensavers are affordable – especially when you consider the cost of a real aquarium. An aquarium screensaver is a great way to unwind during a break from work or after a long day, and studies prove that you can benefit from watching fish swim in an aquarium. The right aquarium screensaver can provide a quality relaxation experience that takes your mind into the watery deep.