The word Aquarium combines the latin root aqua, which means water, and the suffix arium, meaning “a place for relating to”.
The aquariums have existed since the Roman Empire, where the first fish, a sea barbel, was brought indoors, and was kept under guest beds in small tanks made of marble. When glass panes were introduced, around the year 50 AD, Romans replaced one wall of marble tanks, thereby improving their view of the fish. In 1369, in China, people developed large porcelain tubs for keeping their goldfish.
Only in the middle of the nineteenth century, the keeping of fish using an aquarium became a popular hobby and spread quickly. The first public aquarium opened in 1853 at the London Zoo, and was known as the Fish House. This hobby became more widely popular in the 20th century, as houses had electricity supply, allowing artificial lighting, aeration, filtration and water heating.
Today, aquarium keeping has the strongest following in Europe, Asia and North America.
When it comes to volume, public aquariums can be dramatically larger than any home aquarium. And the biggest ones are those that can hold whale sharks and manta rays.
For the list we are about to present you, we compared the volume of the biggest tank of an aquarium, not the entire aquarium. Most aquariums have several tanks, and the combined volume of water can be much larger, but here what counts is the largest aquarium tank.
So, here is a list of 13 of the largest aquariums in the world (ranked by their largest tank size).
13. Turkuazoo, Istanbul, Turkey (1,19 million gallons)
The Turkuazoo, Turkey’s first aquarium, opened its doors to visitors in October 2009, and is located in Istanbul. Turkuazoo displays more than 10,000 sea creatures including sharks, giant stingrays, groupers, piranhas and octopi, and boasts 43 different exhibits, the largest of which holds 1,19 million gallons (4,5 million liters) of water.
12. Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, United States (1,2 million gallons)
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row of the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Monterey, California, United States. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species on display. There are two gigantic tanks. The centerpiece of the Ocean’s Edge Wing is a 0,33 million gallons (1,3 million liters) tank for viewing California coastal marine life. The other is the largest tank in the aquarium, a 1,2 million gallons (4,54 million liters) tank in the Open Sea galleries (the Outer Bay), which features one of the world’s largest single-paned windows.
11. Lisbon Oceanarium, Lisbon, Portugal (1,32 million gallons)
The Lisbon Oceanarium is an oceanarium in Lisbon, Portugal, opened since 1998, and is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. It has a huge collection of marine species and other marine organisms, totaling about 16,000 individuals of 450 species. The main tank has 1,32 million gallons (5 million liters) of water with four large 49 square meters acrylic windows on its sides. The tank houses about 100 species from around the world, including sharks, rays, barracudas, groupers, and moray eels. One of the main attractions is a large sunfish. Four tanks around the large central tank house four different habitats with their native flora and fauna: the North Atlantic rocky coast, the Antarctic coastal line, the Temperate Pacific kelp forests, and the Tropical Indian coral reefs.
10. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka, Japan (1,43 million gallons)
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is an aquarium located in the ward of Minato in Osaka, Japan, and was opened in May 1990. Kaiyukan literally means, “playing in the Sea Pavilion”. The aquarium has 15 tanks, each representing a region of the Pacific Rim on which Japan sits. The aquarium is centered around a single enormous tank holding 1,43 million gallons (5,4 million liters) of water and containing 580 species and 30,000 Pacific Rim marine animals.
9. L’Oceanografic, Valencia, Spain (1,85 million gallons)
L’Oceanogràfic (“The Oceanographic”) is an oceanarium located in Valencia, Spain, and is opened since February 2003. L’Oceanogràfic features the largest aquarium tank in the European continent and houses more than 45,000 marine creatures comprising over 500 species. Two underwater towers are joined by a 35 meters underwater tunnel and it’s tank has 1,85 million gallons (7 million liters) of water and houses sharks, rays and other fish.
8. Nordsøen Oceanarium, Hirtshals, Denmark (1,89 million gallons)
The Nordsøen Oceanarium is a public aquarium, opened since 1998 on the shores of the North Sea in Hirtshals, Denmark. The main tank is a large elliptical tank, which holds 1,89 million gallons (4,5 million liters) of water. It houses about 3,000 fish and displays large specimens like cod, saithe, turbot, sea-bass, spiny dogfish, skates, and ocean sunfish.
7. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa, Japan (1,98 million gallons)
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is situated within the Ocean Expo Park in Okinawa, Japan, and was opened in 2002. The main tank, called the Kuroshio Sea, holds 1,98 million gallons (7,5 million liters) of water and houses whale sharks and manta rays, alongside many other fish species. This tank features a large acrylic window measuring 8.2 meters in height, 22.5 meters in width, and is 60 centimeters thick.
6. Abbott Oceanarium, Chicago, United States (2 million gallons)
The Shedd Aquarium is an indoor public aquarium in Chicago, United States, opened since May, 1930. Shedd Aquarium opened the Oceanarium in 1991, also called Abbott Oceanarium, which holds 3 million gallons (11 million liters) in total, and the largest tank is the 2 million gallons (7,6 million liters) “Whale Harbour”. The Abbott Oceanarium houses several marine mammals, including Pacific white-sided dolphins, belugas, sea otters and California sea lions, as well as penguins.
5. Dubai Aquarium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2,64 million gallons)
The Dubai Mall is one of the world’s largest shopping malls in the world, situated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and opened in November 2008. The centerpiece of the mall is the enormous Dubai aquarium tank with 2,64 million gallons (10 million liters) of water, and houses more than 33,000 aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species. Over 400 sharks and rays live in the tank, including the largest collection of Sand Tiger Sharks in the world.
4. S.E.A. Aquarium, Sentosa, Singapore (4,8 million gallons)
The Marine Life Park opened in November 2012 and is situated in Sentosa, Singapore. It has one of the largest oceanarium in the world, the S.E.A. Aquarium. It has more than 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species in 12 million gallons (45 million liters) of water. The centerpiece of the Aquarium is the Open Ocean tank with more than 4,8 million gallons (18 million liters) and 50,000 animals. The Open Ocean is home to gentle giants of the sea including the leopard shark, goliath grouper, saw fish, mahi mahi and a never-before-seen squadron of magnificent manta rays, including the giant oceanic manta ray.
3. Living Seas, Florida, United States (5,7 million gallons)
The Living Seas, also called the Seas with Nemo & Friends, is a saltwater aquarium at Epcot, at the Walt Disney World Resort, opened to public since January 1986. The largest aquarium is the Caribbean Coral Reef, a saltwater aquarium with 5,7 million gallons (21,6 million liters), and houses 6,000 sea creatures representing over 60 aquatic species, like, sea turtles, angelfish, dolphins, eagle rays and sharks.
2. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Zhuhai, China (5,99 million gallons)
The Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is a huge aquatic theme park situated in Hengqin Island, Zhuhai, China, that opened its doors in March 2014. The parks offers seven different aquatic-themed areas, each representing a part of the ocean, with a total water volume of 12,87 million gallons (48,75 million liters) of salt and fresh water, making it the world’s largest aquarium. The parks largest tanks is the Whale Shark Exhibit aquarium with 5,99 million gallons (22,7 million liters) of salt water, and houses ten whale sharks, as well as tropical spotted dolphins and Chinese white dolphins. This tanks features the world’s largest acrylic panel and largest aquarium window at 39.6 meters by 8.3 meters, and similarly claims the world’s largest underwater viewing dome, with an external diameter of 12 meters.
1. The Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, United States (6,3 million gallons)
The Georgia Aquarium, a public aquarium in Atlanta, was the world’s largest when it opened in November 2005. The aquarium contains between 100,000 and 120,000 animals, representing more than five hundred species in 60 different habitats. The Georgia Aquarium is home for some notable specimens that include four whale sharks, and four manta rays, which are kept in a 6,3 million gallons (23,8 million liters) tank, the Ocean Voyager exhibit, one of the most magical aquarium habitat in the world. It is the only institution outside of Asia to house whale sharks.