Some Things You Might Not Know About Performing in a Fish Tank

If you’ve ever seen a mermaid TikTok or Instagram creator, you’ve seen videos of beautiful merfolk swimming in large aquarium tanks, surrounded by underwater creatures and beautiful scenery. But there are some logistical factors that are concealed behind all the glitz and glam of performing in those large aquarium tanks; after all, if it were easy, everyone would do it!

Xandria Wilcox

5/21/20242 min read

Let’s Start Obvious; the Breath Hold

Not all merfolk performers freedive during their performances, but there are some notable freediving merfolk that bring the artform to a whole new level. But how long can those mers hold their breath?

Mermaid Echo, PADI Mermaid, Freediving Instructor, and Merfolk Performer, can hold their breath for five minutes. This is the result of years of training their body to withstand apnea, and look calm and beautiful while doing so. It’s a lot harder than they make it look!

Mermaid Echo wearing a blue tail. She is sitting on a rock.Mermaid Echo wearing a blue tail. She is sitting on a rock.

The water in fish tanks, both fresh and saltwater, can have bacteria and harmful particulates. Salt water can also dry your skin out, and every time you swim you--ironically-lose a lot of water. So how would a professional mermaid combat these seemingly simple problems.

Eyedrops and Nose Plugs

  • You don’t have to wear noseplugs to swim, and a lot of Mers don't. However, you should put eyedrops in before and after swimming in tanks to clean your eyes of any potentially harmful things, like sand or bacteria, and if you aren’t wearing a nose plug definitely invest in a sinus cleaning kit!

Ear Care

  • This might feel awkward, but clean your ears! A solution of vinegar and alcohol with the correct ear-cleaning kit can help prevent things like swimmers' ears, which can result in a loss of hearing. For more information on this, consult your doctor.

Lotion and Water

  • Dehydration isn’t a good look for anyone, let alone one of the merfolk! Remember to bathe before getting in and out of any tank, and put lotion on afterwards to save your skin the dryness that comes with losing all its natural oils. And, because although you can’t feel it you are sweating underwater, remember to drink lots of water when you swim--in or out of a fish tank!

Most saltwater tanks sit around 60* fahrenheit. While that doesn’t seem too cold, when you’re swimming around in it in nothing but a swimsuit and tail, it can get really cold really fast. Professional Merfolk need to know what the signs of hypothermia are, and know how to get out of their tails and out of the water quickly in case of an emergency. In large tanks, its not uncommon for merfolk to have a safety diver, as well, to keep an eye on them and keep the time. It’s normally not recommended that you spend more than 30 minutes in water colder than 70 degrees, so if you ever hop into a tank, keep that in mind!

There are lots of tricks that Professional Mers develop over the course of their careers, unique to each and every one--and the basics also change from pod to pod. If you’d like to perform like the mers you see on social media, we highly recommend you look into PADI Mermaid Certification and Classes near you--they’ll teach you valuable skills like what to do in case of shallow water blackouts and other crises, and give even more tips. You can find classes and workshops near you in the MerMapp App by checking the Bazaar!

Time to get swimming! 

Remember Shell-f Care!
It’s Chilly In There!