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The environmental impact of keeping a tropical aquarium in Northern Europe

Perry, William Bernard 2023. The environmental impact of keeping a tropical aquarium in Northern Europe. Journal of Fish Biology 103 (3) , pp. 695-703. 10.1111/jfb.15478

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Tropical fish keeping is a popular practice in societies across the globe and involves recreating and sustaining an entire ecosystem in an aquarium within a domestic setting. The process invariably has environmental impact, yet an assessment of this impact has previously been limited to the ecological consequences of harvesting fish from the wild, or release of non-native fish species. Provided here are the first estimates of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) emissions produced from running a tropical aquarium across multiple countries in Northern Europe (France, Poland and the United Kingdom), along with water consumption. Estimates were produced in silico and are discussed in the context of freshwater and marine aquariums, and are calculated using example aquarium sizes of 50L, 200L and 400L. Using estimates from the United Kingdom, depending on size and running conditions, a tropical aquarium produces an estimated 85.3-635.2 kg CO2e per year, equating to 1.6-12.4% of the UK annual average household CO2 emissions, and uses 156-31200 L per year, equating to 0.2-30.1% of the UK annual average household water usage. Despite this, when compared to the CO2eq an average size dog (127-1592 kg CO2eq per year) or cat (121-251 kg CO2eq per year), estimated from meat consumption alone, it demonstrates that ornamental fishkeeping can be a more environmentally conscious pet choice. In addition, the majority of CO2eq produced from tropical fishkeeping is generated from the energy consumption of aquarium equipment, and as more national electricity grids begin to decarbonise, this estimate should decrease.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0022-1112
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 9 June 2023
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2023 22:25

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