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We cultivate a number of terrestrial organisms in greenhouses and stables where they live in completely artificial environments. This seems to extend far less to marine organisms, such as fish. Aquariums (especially the salt water variety) seem to be quite unstable and require a lot of maintenance, and commercial scale installations, like salmon farms, are set up in the ocean, rather than in a separate tank.

Are there inherent difficulties in cultivating marine organisms, or is it just that mankind has not tried as hard as with land species?

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It probably depends on the type of marine organism you're referring to, some will be much more hardy than others and some will not be able to adapt to change at all. Due to the vast scale of the environment that marine fish come from it's likely that in their natural habitat the conditions they live in are not subject to drastic changes in water chemistry or temperature [1][2]. So recreating those exact conditions for them in man-made habitats, let alone maintaining them is going to be extrememly difficult. Also, if you think about the conditions that most (there will be some exceptions) terrestrial animals and plants have to deal with on a day-to-day basis they have to be able to cope with some fluctuations in humidity, temperature, weather, light etc and therefore are highly adaptable by necessity.

Other issues can be supplying the correct feed. In artificial settings food may have to be a non-natural substitute and this will likely cause problems for species who require a highly specialised diet. The terrestrial animals we tend to cultivate extensively are omnivorous/herbivorous which are not difficult needs to meet. On the other hand a fish from the sea that requires a particular other kind of fish only found in a particular area and that needs very specific conditions to thrive is going to be problematic.

Check out this article http://www.vliz.be/imisdocs/publications/301.pdf , it might be for a specific fish but it highlights some of the general issues i think you are referring to.

[1] http://www.bestfish.com/saltg.html [2] http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/marineaquarium/ (both general articles on keeping marine fish)

hope this helps!

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Large numbers of marine animals are actually cultivated in large aquaria. They're just generally not as conspicuous as farms and farm animals and are often located in difficult to access areas around estuaries or close to ports. There are also a number of specialised journals that focus on aquaculture such as the journal aquaculture. In addition to being cultivated in aquaria, large numbers of animals are also cultivated in more natural settings such as the salmon you mentioned or shrimp in shrimp ponds, which are widespread in countries such as Indonesia. A major problem in aquaculture is disease, although this can also be a problem with terrestrial livestock raised in high densities. If you're interested in marine aquaculture, I suggest you browse the various aquaculture journals to get an idea of what's going on.

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