- Describe different kinds of screensavers
- Discuss what you might want to look for in a screensaver
- Provide you with a list of the top aquarium screensavers available today
- Leave you with some considerations and warnings regarding free screensavers
The major categories for aquarium screensaver software are:
- Animation/3D modeling
- Just Fish/More than Fish
- Just a Screensaver/More than a Screensaver (for example, games or provide a SIM like experience)
What should you look for in a Screensaver?
When looking at screensavers, you'll want to consider the following:
- Operating system support (i.e. Windows 95/98/2000/XP, Mac, Linux, etc.)
- License cost (free to download, free to try, need to pay upfront to download)
- The number of fish you can see at one time
- The variety of fish that you can see at one time
- The variety of the fish behavior
- What is the quality of the imaging? Are the fish flat images or are they 3D models?
- How customizable is the screensaver?
- Any reputation that the screensaver may have for installing spyware or any other Trojan horse types of damaging software onto your computer.
Top Aquarium Screensavers
Here is a list of our top favorite aquarium screensavers:
- Marine Aquarium 2.0 is a top rated aquarium program by Prolific Publishing. Their fish are 3D models. This program is free to download. If you decide you want to buy it, you pay $19.95. You can pick from 26 different fish but you can only display 3 fish at any time using the free version. Choose from butterflyfish, damselfish, angelfish, lionfish, tangs, and even a Picassofish! You can buy a version of this for your pocket PC, too so you'll never be far away from your tank! Prolific Publishing actually makes another screensaver called Sharks V1.0, Terrors of the Deep, which while technically isn't an aquarium, might hold your interest as well. This screensaver is available from cnet's download.com here.
- Goldfish Aquarium 1.0 is another favorite aquarium program by Prolific Publishing. It's also free to download. You get 12 different goldfish to choose from. They have cute names like Elton, Minnie, and Oreo. This site, LifeGlobe.com has details on each goldfish! With the free version, you can only display one goldfish at a time. If you like it, it costs $19.95 to buy. This screensaver is available from cnet's download.com here for the windows version. If you want the Mac version, go to the LifeGlobe site.
- 3D Fish School Screensaver by Gelios offers you choices! You can pick from a saltwater aquarium (3 different views), freshwater aquarium (3 different views), or the ocean floor to look at. You can choose from 5 different saltwater fish like Butterflys, Tangs, Angels, Clownfish plus you get to add planktons and starfish. For the freshwater aquarium, you can choose from a barb, angel fish, discus, Red Oscar, and a red Platy. You can control the number of fish and bubble action that you want to see. You can also decide if you want to hear waves or bubbles. This screensaver displays a digital clock for you. This is another one of those try before you buy applications. If you like it, the full version is $19.95. The screensaver is available from cnet's download.com here.
- Sim Aqarium Free Tank 2.31 by Digital Illusions Software lets you choose from 41 different fish and five different tank views (okay, 4 tank views and one plain sandy bottom). This is a marine aquarium set up that gives you a ton of options so you can set up your aquarium just the way you want it. Fish include Percula clownfish, Ocellated Dragonet, Blackbar Triggerfish, and the Tricolor Fairy Wrasse. You can only put in 12 different fish in a tank at any time (even with the full version). You decide whether you want to see bubbles or the water surface from your view. You can download the free version from cnet's download.com here. If you decide you want to buy the full version, you'll have options at Digital Illusion's site here. Prices range from $18.45 for a Lite version of just one tank to $57.45 for a "perpetual license" that will let you download all of Digital Illusion's screensavers, now and future! Digital Illusions maintains a great Support and Help site for this application here.
Here are some more you might want to look at:
- Aquazone Desktop Garden ($19.95) by Allume. Allume also makes a GoldfishPack for this application. If you want something more exotic, look into their Jellies, Turtles, and more application ($19.95).
Considerations and Warnings
- Many free aquarium screensavers are actually downloaded with spyware, so be careful! For example, one site, PCHell, warned users to beware of "Fun Web Products" screensavers. While they technically do not have spyware they do track usage with cookies. "Fun Web Products" may not make aquarium screensavers, but that doesn't mean that your free aquarium screensaver is safe for you to use.
- Instead of clicking on those pop-up advertisements for free aquarium screensavers, go to a reputable download site and look for screensavers there. One of our favorite download sites is cnet's download.com.
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