Review: The Marine Aquarium 2.6 screen saver by Serene Screen - Macenstein

Review: The Marine Aquarium 2.6 screen saver by Serene Screen

Posted by Lab Rat

Thanks to some of Mac OSX’s core imaging effects, there has been an explosion recently of very cool free OS X screensavers on the net (none cooler, of course, than the awesome Mr. Sparkle 1.5). However, the majority of these are one-trick ponies consisting of swirling multicolored Quartz Composer-based effects. While they are often very beautiful, inevitably after about 2 days I am bored and begin my web search anew.

My search for a screensaver “with a soul� led me back to an old favorite, the Marine Aquarium screensaver by SereneScreen. For those unfamiliar with the Marine Aquarium, (as you can probably guess by the name) it is a saltwater fish tank simulation screensaver, but the beautiful visuals elevate it out of the mere screensaver category, and push it towards digital art. The Marine Aquarium holds the distinction of being the only screensaver I have ever paid money for, although that was many years ago. Over the years I had failed to keep current with the app as I switched and upgraded Macs along the way, and I was looking forward to seeing what was new.

You can adjust the lighting in your tank from day to night, or leave it set to automatically cycle.

The Marine Aquarium is now up to version 2.6, and no, my old key code was not accepted (I apparently last purchased version 1.1.2). Upon upgrading, I was pleased to see that Serene Screen made a number of modifications to the app, including a redesigned interface and a number of display options; but more importantly, they added an additional 7 fish from my previous version, for a whopping total of 28!

I must admit upfront that I am a bit biased towards Marine Aquarium. At my house I have a 120 gallon fish tank, and here at the Lab the good Doctor was nice enough to put in a 50 gallon tank, so I often like to waste time staring at fish. However, neither of those tanks looks half as good as the Marine Aquarium does on a 23 inch Apple display.

Choose from 28 diffferent fish, or let the computer choose randomly for you for a unique look each time.

The Marine Aquarium is designed to mimic an actual saltwater fish tank, and does so via beautifully textured and animated fish, a total of 28 in all. You can choose to have up to 7 on the screen at a time, and there is support for dual monitors (although the fish will not swim from one monitor to the next). You can customize your tank’s look to some degree by controlling the lighting, the bubbles, the shimmer of the water, and whether or not the time and date are displayed. This last feature is very nice. Serene Screen chose to add an optional crystal clock to the tank that can display the time and date in either analog or digital formats. The transparent crystal design allows fish to be seen when swimming behind it, adding to the 3D feel of the screensaver.

And actually, the reason the Marine Aquarium fish look so 3 dimensional is that they are. By hitting the “w� key, you can toggle off the textures on both the fish and the coral background, and see a 3D wireframe rendering of the fish as they swim by.

Pressing “w” brings up wireframe mode, allowing you to see the 3D geometry behind the scenes.


The only issue I have with the Marine Aquarium is that (as far as I can tell) the background rocks and coral, while very nice looking, are the same background I saw 3 years ago when running version 1.1. The part of me that still can’t believe I am paying for a screensaver feels that I should have a couple more environments or customization options for the background.


The Marine Aquarium is one of those apps that truly needs to be seen in person to be appreciated. Luckily you can download a free demo from SereneScreen’s site, including a standalone version you can launch as an application. While paying for a screensaver goes against every freeware-loving bone in my body, I have no problem paying for an app that is the result of real effort and skill. I think anyone who owns a high quality LCD display owes it to themselves to at least download the demo and give it a try. Three years later, I am happy to say the Marine Aquarium still elicits “oohs� and “ahhs� from clients as they pass sby.

The Marine Aquarium 2.6 screen saver by Serene Screen

Price: $19.95

Pros: Beautifully rendered fish and environment, can choose from 28 different fish, new date and time feature is a great idea

Cons: Some different background options would make a great app an amazing one.

4 Responses to “Review: The Marine Aquarium 2.6 screen saver by Serene Screen”
  1. Raym says:

    ive downloaded the Demo,looks great,thx!

  2. Lenore Baum says:

    Thanks for your review. I have recently upgraded to OSX and have always wanted an Aquarium screensaver. I did download 2.6 and am wowed by the 3-D graphics. I couldn’t tell by the demo if the clock can truly be removed from the tank/screen saver. Your review indicated that the clock was optional. Can you turn the clock on and off??? (I tried to get info from the company but they are not responding). Thanks, Lenore

  3. Janis M Reynolds says:

    I got this Screen saver in SC at best bye and when I moved to Seattle in june .It was no longer on my pc . I had my eyes done and a heart cath. and husbun had a heart atack and 4 bypasses. as you can see I am almost blind and miss keys. but how do I get the back on my pc.I cant find my cd to redown loud it. can you help me Mrs Janis Reynolds E=mail

  4. TRUNKS says:



    E-MAIL :

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