Tropical Fish Secrets
It's always fun when a guest comes into my home for the first time... you can see their eyes light up like a little kids' and exclaim, "Wow, an aquarium!" as they make a "B-line" for it and proceed to gawk in amazement!
Tropical Fish Secrets

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Public aquaria

Public aquaria are facilities open to the public for viewing of aquatic species in aquaria. Most public aquaria feature a number of smaller tanks, as well as one or more large tank greater in size than could be kept by any home aquarist. The largest tanks hold millions of U.S. gallons of water and can house large species, including dolphins, sharks or beluga whales. Aquatic and semiaquatic animals, including otters and penguins, may also be kept by public aquaria.
Operationally, a public aquarium is similar in many ways to a zoo or museum. A good aquarium will have special exhibits to entice repeat visitors, in addition to its permanent collection. A few have their own version of a "petting zoo"; for instance, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a shallow tank filled with common types of rays, and one can reach in to feel their leathery skins as they pass by.
Also as with zoos, aquaria usually have specialized research staff who study the habits and biology of their specimens. In recent years, the large aquaria have been attempting to acquire and raise various species of open-ocean fish, and even jellyfish (or sea-jellies, cnidaria), a difficult task since these creatures have never before encountered solid surfaces like the walls of a tank, and do not have the instincts to turn aside from the walls instead of running into them.
The first public aquarium opened in London's Regent's Park in 1853. P.T. Barnum quickly followed with the first American aquarium, opened on Broadway in New York. Following early examples of Detroit, New York and San Francisco, many major cities now have public aquaria. Most public aquaria are located close to the ocean, for a steady supply of natural seawater. An inland pioneer was Chicago's Shedd Aquarium that received seawater shipped by rail in special tank cars. In contrast, the recently opened Georgia Aquarium filled its tanks with fresh water from the city water system and salinated its salt water exhibits using the same commercial salt and mineral additives available to home aquarists.
In January 1985 Kelly Tarlton began construction of the first aquarium to include a large transparent acrylic tunnel in Auckland, New Zealand, a task that took 10 months and cost NZ$3 million. The 110-meter tunnel was built from one-tonne slabs of German sheet plastic that were shaped locally in an oven. A moving walkway now transports visitors through, and groups of school children occasionally hold sleepovers there beneath the swimming sharks and rays.
Top public aquaria are often affiliated with important oceanographic research institutions or conduct their own research programs, and usually (though not always) specialize in species and ecosystems that can be found in local waters.
For a partial list of public aquaria worldwide, see list of aquaria.

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Tropical Fish Secrets
It's always fun when a guest comes into my home for the first time... you can see their eyes light up like a little kids' and exclaim, "Wow, an aquarium!" as they make a "B-line" for it and proceed to gawk in amazement!
Tropical Fish Secrets