Sunday, 25 September 2016

Aquarium 5: Yellow Faced Angelfish

One of the most vividly coloured fish in the aquarium is a Yellow Faced (also called a Blue-Faced) Angelfish, Pomacanthus xanthometopon. Originating from waters around Australia north to Malaysia, they grow to be quite large, with a maximum length of 38cm. It is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN as a result of its large range, but threats to coral reefs from pollution, ocean acidification and other ecological changes may change this designation in the near future.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Aquarium 4: Flame Angelfish

  There are two species of marine angelfish currently on show in the aquarium. The smallest, and the most vividly coloured fish in the tank, is a Flame Angelfish, Centropyge loricula.

Currently there are over 30 species of Centropyge, commonly referred to as Dwarf Angelfish, found in warmer waters and reefs all over the world. Most live in fairly shallow water, but some deep water species are known.  They are all fairly small species, with C. loricula at over 10 cm being one of the larger species. It has a wide range in the Pacific, from the Australian Great Barrier Reef to Hawai’i. It tends to live in the deeper parts of the outer reef, where it shelters in crevices in the rubble.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Aquarium 3: The Tomentose Filefish

Drifting around in the large marine tank at Bristol Zoo Aquarium are some small fish that get easily overlooked. This is of course part of their plan – the Tomentose Filefish Acreicthys tomentosus is a master of disguise.Belonging to the same order Tetraodontiformes as last weeks’ Porcupine Fish, it is in a separate family Monacanthidae, which is most closely related to the Trigger fishes Balistidae, and like other members of the order its strategy for survival involves appearing unlike anything a predator would want to eat. Some species of filefish get over 1m, but the Tomentose only grows to a maximum of 12cm, usually less. The larger species may be important food fish – the annual catch of Cantherines spp has been around 200,000 tonnes, but whether this is sustainable or not I am not sure. Overfishing is a worldwide problem, as I am sure readers of this blog are well aware.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Aquarium 2: The Porcupinefish

One of the most popular inhabitants of the aquarium (regular visitors got worried when she was temporarily taken off show recently) is Mini the One-Eyed Porcupinefish. Technically a Blotched Porcupine fish, Diodon holocanthus, Mini got her nick name a couple of years ago when she developed a life threatening infection after a minor injury, and had to have an eye removed. As you might imagine, this was a complicated procedure, involving a tube carrying oxygenated water and anaesthetic over her gills for several hours while the operation was carried out, and a post-op recovery in an isolation tank with antibiotics and painkillers. She is now in the last large tank in the Aquarium, now refitted to hold larger marine fish.

Monday, 22 August 2016

New series: Indian Dwarf Mudskipper

Indian Dwarf Mudskipper
After a long break, I have decided to restart this blog with an updated series on the aquarium at Bristol Zoo. There has been a major rebuild of the large tanks and other changes in the displays, but I will start with a new display of one of the oddest fish in the sea, the Indian Dwarf Mudskipper Periophthalmus novemradiatus.