Sunshine and sea creatures

I started my week promptly at 9am Monday morning, full of apprehension and excitement. This position is an amazing opportunity to learn so much more and I really want to make the most of it.

My first impression of the aquarium was wonder. At how much they have managed to squeeze into the space available. At the array of sea creatures in the tanks, some of which I haven’t actually seen out of the pages of an ID guide. Finally at how smoothly the aquarium was run. No behind the scenes jumble of equipment, no huge and hidden filtration systems, no complex husbandry procedures. The fact that it has been kept this simple means we have so much more time to spend with the visitors and to really enjoy it.

 

There are some great jobs working here, and some slightly less great. A great one was helping to cut free several lobsters, from the elastic bands that were preventing them from nipping us. They looked much happier waving their claws at us.

A job that I enjoy, but that can slightly unpleasant, is siphoning the tanks clean. Most of the sea creatures are quite clean, they don’t make a lot of mess. But the plumose anemones are a whole different matter. I’m not quite sure how they get their tank so grubby but they do, and when you siphon out the gunk from the bottom of the tank it really stinks. Joe has decided to do a bit of volunteering here at the aquarium, so I might start saving the stinky jobs for him to do.

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Plumose Anemone

 

I am now at the end of my second week working at the aquarium, and although it’s been fairly quite (the weather has been great), we have had a lot to do, and a lot of new creature to look at. I especially like watching the king scallops swimming in the touch pool, and starfish and sea urchins navigating around the tanks with their tube feet.

We have had a few tiny additions to the tanks this week. So tiny we had to dig a nano tank out of storage especially for them. First were several species of jelly fish, the largest of them was only an inch across. We identified one as a tiny lion’s mane jelly (not photographed), and another as a Hydroid medusa called Neoturris pileata, refered to by our plankton and jellyfish expert as a shuttlecock jelly. There were a few that we couldn’t identify, including the tiny yellow one and one with purple markings (images below).

The other small addition was a fish species, we have tentatively identified it as a juvenile sea scorpion, but we can’t be sure. It is quite cute though.

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