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Linux / UNIX Desktop Fun: Terminal ASCII Aquarium

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 http://search.cpan.org/CPAN/authors/id/K/KB/KBAUCOM/Term-Animation-2.4.tar.gz
$ 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 http://www.robobunny.com/projects/asciiquarium/asciiquarium.tar.gz
$ 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.

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{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Doron January 5, 2011, 2:19 pm

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

  • Karsten January 5, 2011, 2:42 pm

    cpan install Term::Animation

  • Vikas January 5, 2011, 4:32 pm

    That’s cool :-)

  • absurdo January 5, 2011, 6:00 pm

    How can I compile rpm for CentOS 5.5?

    • Cj January 5, 2011, 10:27 pm

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

      Worked for me :)

  • wss8848 January 6, 2011, 1:38 am

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

  • Brent January 6, 2011, 7:34 am

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

    • Brent January 6, 2011, 7:35 am

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

  • absurdo January 6, 2011, 9:33 am

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

  • pawel January 6, 2011, 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 http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/devel:/languages:/perl/openSUSE_11.3 perl

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

    sudo zypper install perl-Curses

    Have fun!

  • Jonas January 6, 2011, 12:12 pm

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

    • Alex January 7, 2013, 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.

  • Tsiolkovsky January 6, 2011, 11:38 pm

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

  • Marc St-Jacques January 7, 2011, 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.

  • stefan-m January 7, 2011, 8:05 am

    Wow nice :)

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

  • Branislav Viest January 8, 2011, 7:49 pm

    Cool, Thanks for tip :-)

  • Michael January 9, 2011, 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

    • Kirk Baucom January 10, 2011, 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.

      • Michael January 22, 2011, 11:30 am

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

        • mwoolley February 18, 2011, 7:22 pm

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

          • Michael March 31, 2011, 5:28 pm

            Thanks. Finally it is working now!

  • Kirk Baucom January 10, 2011, 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:

  • asda January 11, 2011, 11:06 pm

    Is possible ascii aquarium in motd on ssh?


  • VipeR January 18, 2011, 11:42 am

    Thx For Your post

  • tony bogworth January 20, 2011, 8:10 pm

    Redhat distro’s can also use “CheckInstall” to create an rpm package from the source code. Check out http://checkinstall.izto.org/ 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.

  • shahram January 22, 2011, 2:02 am

    that’s cool

  • Mike February 13, 2011, 9:55 am

    That’s very nice.

    10 points for your “bash street credibility” :)

  • Peter Lohse February 17, 2011, 9:05 am

    That’s very funny ^^
    Thank you very much

  • jaysunn March 31, 2011, 5:23 pm

    THis is really neat. LOve it>>>>


  • jaysunn March 31, 2011, 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.


  • jinoh67 July 15, 2013, 1:14 pm

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

  • Antz January 10, 2014, 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

  • Alex October 22, 2014, 10:43 pm

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

  • Siddharth July 30, 2016, 8:34 am

    Can it be made as a screen saver..?

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