Linux / UNIX Desktop Fun: Terminal ASCII Aquarium

by on January 5, 2011 · 34 comments· LAST UPDATED January 9, 2014

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You can now enjoy mysteries of the sea from the safety of your own terminal using ASCIIQuarium. It is an aquarium/sea animation in ASCII art created using perl.

Install Term::Animation

First, you need to install Perl module called Term-Animation. Open a command-line terminal (select Applications > Accessories > Terminal), and then type:
$ sudo apt-get install libcurses-perl
$ cd /tmp
$ wget
$ tar -zxvf Term-Animation-2.4.tar.gz
$ cd Term-Animation-2.4/
$ perl Makefile.PL && make && make test
$ sudo make install

Download and Install ASCIIQuarium

While still at bash prompt, type:
$ cd /tmp
$ wget
$ tar -zxvf asciiquarium.tar.gz
$ cd asciiquarium_1.0/
$ sudo cp asciiquarium /usr/local/bin
$ sudo chmod 0755 /usr/local/bin/asciiquarium

How do I view my ASCII Aquarium?

Simply type the following command:
$ /usr/local/bin/asciiquarium
$ perl /usr/local/bin/asciiquarium

(Fig.01: ASCII Aquarium [ click to enlarge ] )

Related media

Video 01: ASCIIQuarium - Sea Animation on Linux / Unix Desktop

Download: erminal ASCII Aquarium KDE and Mac OS X Version

Download asciiquarium. If you're running Mac OS X, try a packaged version that will run out of the box. For KDE users, try a KDE Screensaver based on the Asciiquarium.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+PDF versionFound an error/typo on this page? Help us!

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Doron January 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Thank you.nice!
You need to cd to asciiquarium after tar -zxvf asciiquarium.tar.gz


2 Karsten January 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm

cpan install Term::Animation


3 Vikas January 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm

That’s cool :-)


4 absurdo January 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm

How can I compile rpm for CentOS 5.5?


5 Cj January 5, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Cent OS users, try:
yum install perl-Curses
instead of
sudo apt-get install libcurses-perl

Worked for me :)


6 wss8848 January 6, 2011 at 1:38 am

There is nothing about libcurses-perl in CentOS yum programme.where can i get it?


7 nixCraft January 6, 2011 at 7:49 am
8 Brent January 6, 2011 at 7:34 am

Debian / Ubuntu
dh-make-perl –build –cpan Term::Animation


9 Brent January 6, 2011 at 7:35 am

Forgot, then afterwards dpkg -i libterm-animation-perl_2.4-1_all.deb


10 absurdo January 6, 2011 at 9:33 am

As I know, in rpm-based OSes it’s preferable to build rpm with rpm-build and than install it.


11 pawel January 6, 2011 at 11:35 am

Nice. Someone must have been really bored to do this…

If anyone asks – in OpenSuse 11.3 you need to add the CPAN repository (if you don’t have it):

sudo zypper ar perl

and install perl-Curses (for some reason the package name is different than in Ubuntu):

sudo zypper install perl-Curses

Have fun!


12 Jonas January 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm

FYI: There is a slight difference between ASCII and ANSI. ;)


13 Alex January 7, 2013 at 3:26 am

Strictly speaking this is a curses animation, it will work over any terminal with a proper curses descriptor not just an ANSI terminal.


14 Tsiolkovsky January 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Cool, I see it is already installed by default in my KDE (Mandriva Linux). Love it.


15 Marc St-Jacques January 7, 2011 at 12:17 am

Just a small detail: chances are you are not the owner of the file you just sudo cp’d into /usr/local/bin, so you won’t have the necessary permissions to chmod at the end. It should be ‘sudo chmod’.

A great find. Thanks.


16 stefan-m January 7, 2011 at 8:05 am

Wow nice :)

I want this as screensaver, does anybody has a solution to do this?


17 Branislav Viest January 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Cool, Thanks for tip :-)


18 Michael January 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Any idea how to Install Term::Animation on Fedora 14?
The perl ‘Makefile.PL && make && make test’ fails with message:
BEGIN failed–compilation aborted at Makefile.PL line 2.

When I looked at this line I see:
use ExtUtils::MakeMaker;
Then I installed the perl-MakeMaker-5.41-10.i386.rpm package from:

Ok. Installed without errors.
Now I tried again ‘Makefile.PL && make && make test’
And again it complains about BEGIN failed–compilation aborted at Makefile.PL line 2.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance


19 Kirk Baucom January 10, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I don’t have a Fedora system to test on, but you might want to try looking for a perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker package.


20 Michael January 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

Thanks for your suggestion, but after that I’ve got still the same error message.


21 mwoolley February 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm

you need to install Test::Pod – cpan get Test::pod


22 Michael March 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Thanks. Finally it is working now!


23 Kirk Baucom January 10, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Glad you guys like it! I have a similar program that displays a scene based on the weather:

If you have any problems or suggestions, let me know.

In addition to the KDE screensaver version, there’s now a live wallpaper for Android ported by Claudio Matsuoka:


24 asda January 11, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Is possible ascii aquarium in motd on ssh?



25 VipeR January 18, 2011 at 11:42 am

Thx For Your post


26 tony bogworth January 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Redhat distro’s can also use “CheckInstall” to create an rpm package from the source code. Check out for more information. This should already be included in the latest CentOS repo’s. Works very well and allows one to easily remove the application with your package manager as well.


27 shahram January 22, 2011 at 2:02 am

that’s cool


28 Mike February 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

That’s very nice.

10 points for your “bash street credibility” :)


29 Peter Lohse February 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

That’s very funny ^^
Thank you very much


30 jaysunn March 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm

THis is really neat. LOve it>>>>



31 jaysunn March 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Not sure if posted. For OSX. I became root and issued the command:


I then accepted all the default prompts.

Then I ran

cpan>install Term::Animation

Then I ran:
shine:~ jasonralph$ asciiquarium

Since it was in my path the binary ran perfectly.
Afer that I was able to see the coolness. Very sweet.



32 jinoh67 July 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

This is awesome! I turned all my tty1~6 into this aqarium xD


33 Antz January 10, 2014 at 10:59 am

can u tell, how must I do after I get this message : BEGIN failed–compilation aborted at Makefile.PL line 2. I used fedora, thanks


34 Alex October 22, 2014 at 10:43 pm

“cd asciiquarium_1.0/”
needs to be
“cd asciiquarium_1.1/”
They updated it.


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