software/marineaquarium.jpgScreensavers were born in the days when monitor screens were susceptible to phosphor burn-in that caused images to be permanently etched into the screen if they were displayed on the screen for long periods. With today’s modern monitors, screensavers are no longer necessary, but they remain a popular part of the lighter side of computing.

There are a variety of screensavers available, but none that I’ve seen is as realistic as the Marine Aquarium screensaver. Marine Aquarium turns your computer screen into a saltwater aquarium complete with colorful fish that swim, turn, and zigzag just like real fish. The fish, coral formations, and algae in the aquarium are 3-dimensional turning your screen into a scene as mesmerizing as a real aquarium. Up to seven fish can be selected to display and there are twenty-six exotic fish from which to choose. Additional realism is added with variable lighting choices and bubbles that can be heard rising through the water from the aerator. The fish include Emperor Angelfish, Blue Ring Angelfish, Redfin Buterflyfish, Percula Clownfish, Picasso Trigger, Powder Blue Tang, Royal Wimplefish, Gramma Basselet, starfish, and other showy marine creatures. Even if you don’t recognize the names you can still enjoy the beauty of these exotic gilled creatures. During the day (as chosen in the preferences), subtle, yet amazingly realistic, shadows are cast from the inhabitants of the aquarium. When night falls, the aquarium turns an eerie background with the fish silhouettes swimming through.

The program is easy to set up and easy to use. The Fish Info window gives you information about the fish such as habitat, size, and diet. The Options Page provides an easy way to change fish and choose preferences. Mac users will rejoice in the fact that there is an Apple version available.

If you’re anything like me, you have tried to keep aquariums but found the upkeep too much to handle, then you will love being able to experience the serenity of the marine habitat without all the work. At $19.95, the Marine Aquarium is a little pricey for a screensaver, but its realism is exceptional. The only problem is that I was left wanting even more. I hope that the next version offers more fish and more options for the tank. While I thoroughly enjoyed the Marine Aquarium, I would love to be able to change the color of the gravel, add different plants, and otherwise further customize this life-like computer aquarium.