Thursday Throwdown: FishVille, Happy Aquarium or Fish World? You Decide

Thu, May 6, 2010

Facebook, Fishville, Happy Aquarium, Social

Welcome to another installment of Thursday Throwdown, a weekly feature here on Frisky Mongoose that takes a look at two or more similar Facebook games and then lets you decide which game is superior. Last week, we took a look at Cafe World and Restaurant City, and while the voting is still open on that one, as of now, you guys have made it pretty clear that Cafe World is your favorite, with a 56% to 44% advantage in Zynga and Cafe World’s favor. But of course, this is just public opinion after all, and there are just as many reasons to love Restaurant City as there are Cafe World, so we’re all winners in the end.

This week, we’re going to move to an entirely different genre of Facebook games – the aquarium genre, taking a look at not just two games, but three: Zynga’s FishVille, CrowdStar’s Happy Aquarium, and TallTree’s Fish World.

According to the latest figures from AppData, in terms of pure user numbers, Happy Aquarium is leading the pack with a little more than 19 million monthly users, while FishVille’s most recent figures has it at a very respectable 17.9 million players. Fish World, while not nearly as popular, still draws in around 3.5 million monthly active players.

Before asking you, our loyal readers, to give your opinion on which game is best, let’s take a look at what makes them both comparable and different. For starters, each game allows you to purchase fish, feed them, clean your tank, and then sell your fish for a profit (although in the case of Happy Aquarium, this isn’t so black and white). You’ll unlock new fish as you level up, and can play through a very “rinse and repeat” process until you eventually become master of your underwater domain. All three games allow for you to decorate your tank, visit your friends’ tanks and send them free gifts. It’s after this point that the differences start to become clear.

Do you spend your time in FishVille's waters?

Perhaps the most game-changing difference found between the games is the concept of fish death – quite simply put: Do your fish die if you don’t play the game? To answer the question just as simply, in both Fish World and FishVille, your fish can and will die without proper attention, while in Happy Aquarium, they will not. But it’s actually more complicated than that.

Where Happy Aquarium fish will live forever, they will also stop growing if they haven’t been fed. In terms of FishVille, simply not feeding your fish doesn’t cause them to die instantly; instead, they’ll become sick, extending the amount of time you have to feed them before they do eventually die. You’ll heal them with medicine, which you earn in small amounts for free everyday upon logging into the game. Finally, in Fish World, even a dead fish doesn’t mean the end of the world, as your friends can visit your tank and revive them, for free, rather than forcing you to pay real funds to revive them yourself.

Is Happy Aquarium your preferred game?

Another major difference comes when you attempt to sell your fish. In FishVille and Fish World, simply keeping your fish alive long enough for them to grow allows you to sell them for a profit (that is, older fish are worth more than the younger ones), while in Happy Aquarium, you’ll make your fish more valuable by training them to do tricks via a side-scrolling mini-game that has you avoiding various obstacles like umbrellas and underwater mines. If you don’t want to take the time to train your fish, you’ll never really get anywhere, as fish are then sold without you making any real profit.

Fish World also contains a striking difference when comparing it to the other two games, in that you can travel to your friends’ tanks and actually steal some of their fish. This is a smart move when you steal a fish that’s already grown, as you can, after a short waiting period (to prevent abuse of the system) sell the fish for a profit after doing no work or very little work to raise it yourself.

Or do you spend your time with Fish World?

Recently, FishVille added its own new feature to help set itself apart from the others, in the form of Fish Mastery. Fish Mastery allows you to grow a certain fish repeatedly, to earn coins and mastery points that go to your overall level for that particular fish family (say, Butterflyfish, as an example). In doing so, you’ll unlock new fish that are otherwise unavailable to you.

As for other differences, you’ll find the following:

  • Happy Aquarium offers item collections, like shells (and more recently Easter Eggs), where you’ll collect said objects by searching through treasure chests found in both your and your friends’ tanks. The closest thing to this in FishVille is an oyster bed, which allows you to accumulate oysters and earn coins from them on a daily basis.
  • Happy Aquarium and FishVille both contain a treasure chest that offers a daily reward, like coins, experience points and so on, where Fish World does not.
  • Happy Aquarium contains no gift box, meaning that whatever items you’re given (either by friends, or through CrowdStar promotions) are automatically dropped into your tank. Both FishVille and Fish World contain gift boxes, allowing you to handle your free gifts at your leisure.
  • Fish World has no problem ignoring the concept of realism in their fish design, offering items like a Lucky Fish (in the shape of a horseshoe) or an Irish Fish in the colors of the Irish Flag for St. Patrick’s Day, as an example. Meanwhile, both Happy Aquarium and FishVille offer their own whimsical items, but these are mostly decorative and therefore not an attempt at creating an entirely new (and impossible) species of fish.
  • FishVille contains Superfoods like Caffeine and Super Grow (fish can go longer without being fed, or instantly grow a bit towards maturity), while the others do not.
  • Fish World contains a lottery system that allows you to pick five numbers and enter for a chance to win great prizes, while the other two games do not.

All told, the above are just a small sampling of the differences found between all three games. Are they the most important differences, or do they even matter? That much will be left up to you to decide, along with telling us which game you think is the best. There’s no right or wrong answer here – we’re just interested in knowing which game you like or play the most. Do you not play any of them? Then feel free to use the above information as a bit of a guide to decide which games’ waters to dive into.

After you vote in the poll below, feel free to leave us any opinions you may have about the three games (what makes them great, or not so much) in the comments section. We’d love to hear what you think of the aquarium genre as a whole, so let your voice be heard, and be sure to check back with us next week as we compare more of your favorite Facebook games in another Thursday Throwdown!

Be Sociable, Share!

Related posts:

  1. FishVille Responds to Happy Aquarium Kissing Fish with One of Its Own
  2. The Kissing Fish Has Made a Reappearance in Happy Aquarium
  3. Fish and the City Fish Available in Happy Aquarium
  4. New Happy Aquarium Fish: Six Bar Wrasse
  5. CrowdStar Releases Fish Snacks in Happy Aquarium
, , , ,

This post was written by:

- who has written 2533 posts on Frisky Mongoose.

Brandy is the Social Editor at Frisky Mongoose, focusing on the social side of the gaming world.

Contact the author

  • Mansi Majethia

    i like HAPPY AQUARIUM vry much, its really an AWESOME GAME, i play dis game daily 4 at d most 1hr..

  • shaitaana

    the fast dying fish is only about the first 15 min of playing so barring you are sneaking at work and playing there is no reason why your fish should be dead everytime you log in just pick fish that don't need fed for 2 days easy peasy. Fishville is da bestest!

  • shaitaana

    lol i'm not a happy aquarium hater but… you sit there and say fishville is babish… are you saying for kids? I think that Happy Aquarium looks more like its for kids…it is way more of a cheap cartoon look. Fishville to me is the best because they have some fish/creatures that are very detailed and look like real fish you might have in an actual aquarium. Let's face it…they are all games of cartoons so is it gonna look absolutely real no… It's all a matter of personal preference here there is no wrong or right only opinion although some people forget that their opinion isn't the same as fact. I stand by my opinion that Fishville is my fave and the other games aren't for me because they just aren't detailed enough graphic wise…wysiwig and eye candy ftw :P

  • maggie

    First i wanna say is , i really love all the games, but….i cant beleive you have to pay for certain things, its terrible!!! some people dont even get a fair shot, the other thing is why in the heck cant i adopt my own fish as well as others, i dont have tons of hours to spend on others profiles to find animals to adopt!!!! it would be nice if maybe once in awhile you could get your own adopted pet, fish, mantra ray or whatever.

  • julio


  • Wong Ming Guang
  • Wong Ming Guang


  • Jasmin

    I love them all. Happy Aquarium, though, makes it tricky to open suprise boxes by only allowing your current neighbours to help out ONCE. New neighbours are welcommed for all of the above games (Fishville, Fishworld, Happy Aquarium, etc.)

  • Oscar Samayoa

    The only problem with Happy aquarium are so many errors.

  • gammers represent

    loved fishville, but soon got bored within a week and converted to happy aquarium, happy aquarium kept me content for awhile, three months but then i got bored

    i avoided fishworld for as long as possible, but finally tried it and loved it because its impossible to get bored with fishworld, and heres why:
    +new decoration themes are added weekly, including fish to match theme
    +every week two new fish types are adoptable but are only avaible that one week, so everone must rush to get as many as possible before they disappear forever and two new ones are swopted in
    +like others your able to send gifts, but on fish worlds weekly schedule different fish are temporarorily aviable as gifts also per week
    + after week is over, temporary fish become 'retired' and therefore several months later value is in trade is very very very high
    +fish bucks only items are not as unattianible, yes one gets 1 fishbuck per level, but the fish buck items only average around 4 fish bucks per item

    i stuck with fishville for less than a week, i started getting bored with happy aquarium after three months

    ive been returning to fishworld daily for about four months and im still finding it more fun and excited everyday

  • heather


  • Ael

    happy aquarium has the regular updates and better content + community… happy aquarium is the the game that i am proud to say fun



  • Anonyomous

    in happy aquurium, the fish are mainly pets and selling them isn't the main idea of raising them. also the fish are cute and when well fed have a cute smile.the downside of happy aquarium is that you have to breed the same species of fish and the baby looks the same as store bought fish,whereas in fish world, you can breed completly different species of fish and get a fish with the traits of both fish.i don't like fishville because you can name the cute fish, but when they die if not taken care of you will be heartbroken because people tend to become attached to the fish if it's named.

  • Anonyomous

    zynga has “copied” severel games such as the following:
    farmville farm town
    fishville fish world
    petville pet society

  • Deerice743

    I have played all 3 of those aquarium games and Happy Aquarium excels way above the others! One thing I like about Happy Aquarium is that it's fish do not die. I log into it 2 and sometimes more than 2 times each day to feed my fish and clean my tanks and collect coins and clean the tanks of my neighbors. I do not want to (and will not) play one where the fish die if you don't feed them at a certain time! I get busy like everyone else and may not log into the app at the same time each day. If I have a doctor's appointment or if I have company I won't even go to my neighbor's tanks. I will only feed my fish and not clean my tanks if I have company, doctor appt., etc.
    Happy Aquarium has fish with the CUTEST faces! I have tanks that I buy fish to only re-sell but I also have tanks with Lochness monsters, kissing fish and squids! I feel like they are my real little pets!
    So, there you have my opinion. Thanks for letting me share it. Dee Rice

  • Kate Hancock

    Thanks for sharing (and reading) Dee!

  • Maverick Money Makers Review

    hi, a weekly feature here on Frisky Mongoose that takes a look at two!

  • Prettybird52

    I really prefer Happy Aquarium as I can make my tank any way I have the gold to make it.

  • Abdul ghouse

    i like this game happy aquarium this is my fevered game inall games in a face book

  • Maverick Money Makers

    i like this site and more time visit in this site!

  • Terrazzo Polishing

    Intriguing article. I’m sure I’m slightly late in posting my comment but the article ended up being the purpose and just the info I became searching for.

  • Polished Terrazzo

    I really adore what you had to say.

  • Polished Terrazzo

    I really adore what you had to say.

  • Shirley Bonner

    Thanks for the awesome article. I love reading it!Very nice post, thanks a lot for sharing.