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How Many Fishkeepers Are There? 2023 Updated Statistics

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

Fishkeeping is an ancient hobby that many people still enjoy today. Whether you have a small tank with one fish or a huge tank with 300 fish, you’re a fishkeeper. It’s interesting to see how many people keep fish and what types of fish are the most popular among fish keepers of all kinds. With 14.7 million homes in the U.S. and 700 million worldwide, you can see big this industry has become. Here’s everything you should know about fishkeeping this year.

The 10 Fishkeeper Statistics

  1. In the United States, 14.7 million homes own at least one pet fish.
  2. Of the freshwater aquatic pets sold in the United States, 23 are fish.
  3. Of the top 25 marine aquatic pets sold in the US, 60% are invertebrates.
  4. The zoo and aquarium market in the United States reached $2.26 billion in 2021.
  5. More than 700 million people worldwide visit zoos and aquariums annually.
  6. The worldwide aquarium industry is valued at $13.17 billion.
  7. Globally, the aquarium reef industry is expected to reach $11 billion by 2028.
  8. The United States spends approximately $63.7 million annually to import ornamental fish.
  9. Japan is the world’s biggest exporter of ornamental fish, with a market value of $43.1 million.
  10. In 2020, ornamental fish accounted for a total global trade value of $330 million.
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United States Fishkeeping Stats

1. In the United States, approximately 14.7 million households keep fish. (Bassleer)

14.7 million homes in the United States keep fish of some sort. These figures may also include invertebrates, like shrimp and corals, but fish make up the large majority of aquatic pets.

aquarium with tetras
Image Credit: Dobermaraner, Shutterstock

2. Of the top 25 freshwater animals sold in the United States, 23 of them are fish. (Bassleer)

The top seller in the United States is the neon tetra, closely followed by the humble goldfish. Also included on the list are multiple colors of glofish danios, plecostomus, black neon tetras, and guppies. The two non-fish additions to the list are ghost shrimp and dwarf frogs.

3. Of the 25 best selling marine pets in the US, 60% of them are invertebrates. (Bassleer)

Believe it or not, invertebrates are exceptionally popular among marine fishkeepers. Of the fish that made the list, there are multiple varieties of damselfish and clownfish, as well as an adorable variety of blenny called the lawnmower blenny.

4. The US’s zoo and aquarium market reached a value of $2.26 billion in 2021. (Statista)

In 2020, the US zoo and aquarium market was worth $2.12 billion. It increased to $2.26 billion by 2021, and has shown potential for continued growth.

Mbuna cichlid in aquarium
Image Credit: Arunee Rodloy, Shutterstock

The Global Market

5. Annual visits to zoos and aquariums globally equal approximately 700 million people. (IUCN)

For people who can’t be fishkeepers in their home or who want to see large and exotic fish, zoos and aquariums provide an important service and many educational opportunities. Over 700 million people per year visit zoos and aquariums to see these and other animals, as well as to learn more about them.

6. The worldwide aquarium industry’s value is approximately $13.17 billion. (Soocial)

It’s estimated that the global aquarium industry will continue to grow in value, with an estimated value of $21.15 billion by the year 2027.

7. The global reef aquarium industry’s value is estimated to reach $11 billion by 2028. (PR Newswire)

If the global reef aquarium industry reaches $11 billion by 2028, this will be a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7%.

glass catfish in aquarium
Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock

Imports and Exports

8. The ornamental fish import market in the US is approximately $63.7 million. (OEC)

The United States is followed in import expenses by China, with only $30.1 million, then Germany, the UK, and France.

9. Japan’s ornamental fish export market brings in approximately $43.1 million annually. (OEC)

Japan is followed in exports by Indonesia, with $38.5 million, and then Singapore, the Netherlands, and Thailand.

10. In 2020, the ornamental fish trade earned approximately $330 million. (OEC)

Ornamental fish in 2020 were the global market’s 3,110th most traded product, and their total trade value was $330 million. This was a 2.1% drop from 2019. 2021 and 2022 numbers are not available yet to see if COVID impacted this trade value.

divider: bubblesFrequently Asked Questions About Fishkeeping

Are aquariums increasing or decreasing in popularity?

The nationwide and global fishkeeping markets have shown consistent growth. During 2020 and 2021, many people took on new hobbies, so it’s a safe bet that these markets will continue to show notable growth in the next few years.

Why does the fishkeeping industry show consistent growth?

There are multiple reasons that this market shows notable continued growth year over year. Not only can fishkeeping serve a purpose within conservation efforts, but it also has commercial, residential, and educational applications.

saltwater aquarium with fish and plants
Image Credit: Vojce, Shutterstock

Is it healthy to keep fish?

There are some risks associated with keeping fish, like the potential for disease spread to fishkeepers, but these risks are minimal. However, fishkeeping has shown great benefits for people. Fishkeeping, providing care to an aquarium, and even just watching fish has shown the benefits of stress reduction and improving the mood and environment for people. (CDC)

What was the first type of fish to be kept as a pet?

Goldfish are the first fish known to have been kept as a pet. In fact, these fish have been kept as pets in China for over 1,000 years. (National Geographic)


We hope you learned a great deal about fishkeepers. Who would have thought that fish have been such an important part of the pet industry? While dogs and cats are more commonly owned by people, fishkeepers can be found all over the world.

Featured Image Credit: Daniel Corneschi, Unsplash

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