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From the outdoor ponds and glass jars of antiquity, modern aquaria have evolved into a wide range of specialized systems. Individual aquaria can vary in size from a small bowl large enough for a single small fish, to the huge public aquaria that can simulate entire marine ecosystems.

One of ways to classify aquaria is their salinity. Freshwater aquaria are the most popular kind of aquarium due to their lower cost and ease of maintenance.[36] Marine aquaria generally require more complex equipment to set up and maintain than freshwater aquaria. Along with fish species, marine aquaria frequently feature a diverse range of invertebrates.[36][31] Brackish water aquaria combine elements of both marine and freshwater fishkeeping.[36] Fish kept in brackish water aquaria generally come from habitats with varying salinity, such as mangroves and estuaries. Certain subtypes of aquaria also exist within these types, such as the reef aquarium, a type of marine aquarium that houses coral.[36]

Another classification is by temperature range. Many aquarists maintain a tropical aquarium as these fish tend to be more colorful.[36] However, the coldwater aquarium is also popular, which may include fish such as goldfish.
 
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