Stuck on the idea of building your first marine aquarium? Maybe you’re considering a new addition or completely revamping your tank? Well then what better way to evaluate what you want than to visit the fish and tank critters in their natural habitat? Scuba diving and snorkeling allows you to see the fish in their underwater domain, giving you the chance to identify colors and shapes and begin planning your newest addition or new tank. Here are some of the top diving locations around the world to give you some ideas for your next trip.

1. Indonesia
13,000 islands give an almost unlimited number of locations for diving excursions. The reefs located here are unique and stunning with a wide variety of fish and some of the most unique species in the world. Consider visiting the Wakatobi Archipelago where you can see everything from reef sharks and pilot whales to stingrays, barracudas, and even orcas! Raja Ampat offers seahorses, walking sharks, and manta rays, as well as shipwrecks.

2. Australia
Australia and its Great Barrier Reef are well-known in the diving community. The reef is certainly not something that any diver should pass up. If diving is your passion, visiting the Great Barrier Reef is a must-do. Be sure you check out the popular hot-spots such as the Coral Sea, Ribbon Reef, and Cod Hole.

3. Red Sea
With more than 1000 species of fish, 200 species of coral, and an astounding 1000 species of invertebrates, the Red Sea is an absolute must-dive! Its location and size makes its spectacular variety of species something to ogle, plus you can spend some time diving amongst the shipwrecks. Check out Ras Mohammed National Park to discover barracuda, hammerhead sharks, and a variety of others in this unique location.

4. Galapagos
Only recently gaining popularity, the Galapagos Islands enjoy pristine, almost untouched beauty. While they don’t have the reef system of Australia or Indonesia, the Islands do offer an astounding number of sharks for individuals to observe as Hammerheads and Whale sharks are frequent visitors. Check out Darwin and Wolf Islands for the best dive locations.

5. Mexico
A little closer to home for those located in the Americas, Mexico offers huge resort locations, many of which offer diving and snorkeling opportunities. Freshwater divers can find a number of locations to enjoy here as well, such as Cenote Taj Maja, a sixty foot wide sinkhole. Santa Rosalia near the Sea of Cortez is an excellent location to dive and observe the large Humboldt squid, as well as a fish so common it has been named Diablos Rojos or Red Devil by the locals. Los Islotes is an excellent spot for beginners since the animals are so accustomed to divers that they are quite friendly and may even play with you!