We’ve talked to more than a few people whose first experience with aquariums was at a dentist’s or doctor’s office. While they weren’t necessarily custom aquariums greeting them when they walked through the door, it made enough of an impression on them that it’s what they remember most.

So why are so many people remembering the aquariums that they grew up with in medical offices? We’ve thought about this quite a lot and have come up with four reasons medical offices like to make use of aquariums, and, more and more, designer aquariums.

A Custom Aquarium Distracts

Whether you’re a three-year-old child or an 87-year-old octogenarian, you probably don’t want to go to the doctor. Many times it’s because you don’t want to have the procedure performed, whether it’s getting a shot or having a cavity filled. Even if you’re healthy and just there for a checkup, there’s a certain nervousness that most people feel in a waiting room because they fear the doctor finding something wrong.

And speaking of distracting kids, parents love aquariums because they give the kids something to do. If the child is watching the fish, parents can more easily deal with the medical paperwork in front of them.

Custom aquariums are a great way to distract patients from any thoughts they might be having regarding the doctor’s visit. And since no one wants to be reminded of death when they’re at the doctor, medical offices will usually hire someone for aquarium maintenance and stocking to keep the livestock as healthy as possible.

A Designer Aquarium Soothes

Whether they know it or not, most patients are being soothed by the sights and sounds of a custom-built aquarium. The most obvious way is via the sounds associated with the aquarium; the bubbling of the water acts as white noise and helps to calm the mind.

It’s not just the sound that soothes, though. Designer aquariums can also be built with changing LED lights that can create a calming atmosphere as patients stare. And the (typically) smooth and gentle motions of the fish can calm the heart of a nervous person. Saltwater aquariums offer soothing, flowing motions that freshwater aquariums can’t such as sea anemones. All of these calming effects are the reasons that people have custom aquariums built in their homes, too.

It Underscores the Modernity

There’s an interesting psychology going on when you visit the hospital. Most are downright opulent with the most modern design available, acid-stained epoxy floors, golden sconces, and front desks that look like you’re at the fanciest ad agency. One might think that they’d avoid presenting such an elegant look because it suggests that that they’re not providing good value. But the fancy look also subliminally suggests that they’re providing the best in healthcare. Decadent office + sleek looking machines = top-notch healthcare. That’s what they’re going for, at least!

That’s where custom aquariums come in. Being able to afford a $20,000 or more aquarium, plus aquarium maintenance, means that they have money to spend even on the extras. “We’ve already purchased that new MRI machine that just came out last week and have money to spare. Put in the aquarium!” A designer aquarium shows that the hospital or office is a place where money should be no object when it comes to taking care of you.

Custom Glass Aquariums Are Unique

Most every aquarium that people run across in their daily lives is a freshwater aquarium, which is much easier to run. They might see a 10-gallon fish tank at a neighbor’s house or a 20-gallon freshwater tank at a cheap Chinese restaurant. Interesting? Yes, but nothing to write home about.

But when they see a large aquarium, such as a cylinder aquarium in the middle of the room, they’re going to notice. And they’re going to remember where they saw it and tell people about it. The more unique an aquarium is, the more likely that people will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Aquariums have been playing an important part in medical offices for decades, and today custom-built aquariums are a must when it comes to distracting and soothing customers. Gibbons Aquaria has outfitted many medical building with top-of-the-line designer aquariums. Take a look at some more right here.