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My Aquarium Holiday


daniejd

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daniejd

Had a few days with nothing planned so do decided to see how many public aquariums I could visit. Here is my list so far with a completely subjective score of each aquarium and some random comments.

 

Tennessee Aquarium

 

Facilities: A

Number of Species: A

Coral Exhibits: C

Conservation: A

Wow Factor: B

Exhibits: B

Logistics (Parking etc.) A

 

The facilities are getting a bit old, but the design is unique and well planned. The species focus skews toward freshwater species, but when combined with the saltwater fish, jellyfish, butterfly garden, snakes, otters, amphibian, turtles etc. the number of species is outstanding. Of course the requisite shark tanks and touch tanks are also present. The coral exhibit while nice consisted of just one tank.
 

Two items struck me. One the clownfish exhibit was amazing. Over 100 full grown clownfish in a relatively crowded area, all fish being inches from multiple other fish and not one sign of aggression. Not one. My two clowns are a mated pair and they bluff charge continuously. Makes me rethink clownfish. The second item was after seeing bluegill/pumpkinseed family freshwater aquarists are missing out on some beautiful fish. Sure they may be messy eaters but cichlids aren’t?


 

 

Georgia Aquarium

 

Facilities: A

Number of Species: A

Coral Exhibits: C

Conservation: C

Wow Factor: A

Exhibits: A

Logistics (Parking etc.) B

 

Very nice facilities and exhibits. A lot of overlap with the Tennessee Aquarium in species but more of a saltwater focus. Just a single tank of corals, larger than the Tennessee but no more coral species and growth was more sparse. The Georgia Aquarium does excel in the wow factor 2 whale sharks, 2 manta rays, 3 beluga whales…pretty impressive. It falls short in the conservation department. The Tennessee proudly showcased their turtle breeding, restocking of sturgeon, paddlefish conservation etc. The Georgia really didn’t showcase any conservation efforts (I am sure there are some). Also I’m not a fan of dolphins and whales in captivity, Georgia includes a dolphin show, and the belugas didn’t seem particularly well adjusted. Though in all honesty maybe some bias from me there.

 

Side note: Whale sharks are fed by hand, and the tanks are kept pristine by dozens of divers with what appeared to be toothbrushes! (And I hate my weekly cleaning!).

 

Tomorrow the Florida Aquarium and the Mote Aquarium!

 

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daniejd

Day 3

 

Florida Aquarium

 

Facilities: B

Number of Species: B

Coral Exhibits: B

Conservation: A

Wow Factor:B

Exhibits: B

Logistics (Parking etc.) A

 

This aquarium could use a remodel, I’m guessing that’s related to the aquariums age. You will see Florida related fish and wildlife, which means a lot a familiar aquarium flora and fauna will be preset. Touch tanks, a good sized main tank representing the Tampa Bay. A beautiful seahorse/pipefish collection. A step up in the coral department from the previous aquariums, with several coral tanks. Also coral restoration/raising appears to be an active conservation program with the aquarium. One of the more unique aspects was a large mangrove biome on the second level; unique, well done and very interesting. Aquarium itself is in a very nice location.
 

Noticed in the main tank the diver that was cleaning had another diver guarding him with a long stick. Then I noticed the amberjacks(?) that were missing large chunks of meat and the 6 foot long barracudas!

 

 

Mote Aquarium

 

Facilities: C

Number of Species: B

Coral Exhibits: A

Conservation: A++

Wow Factor: B

Exhibits: A

Logistics (Parking etc.) C (it was truly difficult getting through the traffic, though the facility itself is a great location and parking is excellent)

 

So far my favorite aquarium. You won’t find new gleaming facilities, nor truly massive tanks. You will find a very good representation of coral tanks, an active coral breeding program, a massive emphasis on conservation (in fact their goal is to turn the area into the worlds premier marine research and conservation location). Manatees are a LOT bigger than I imagined (I was thinking 6-7 feet long, they looked to be more along the lines of 10-12 ft long!)

 

Tomorrow the South Carolina Aquarium!

 

 

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Jakesaw
On 7/2/2022 at 5:43 PM, daniejd said:

Had a few days with nothing planned so do decided to see how many public aquariums

That's awesome !!!

 

 

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