Friday, July 30, 2010

Aswim in the Aquarium

Liz and I had a lovely day in the aquarium. I used to have a small (20 gallon) salt water tank in my house, and I just loved the amount of life that went on, even in that small space. But 20 gallons is too small a tank to manage the water for a salt water aquarium, unless one is a much better chemist and a more practiced aquariast than I am. So when the tank crashed some years ago, I never tried to start it up again. When we move, I will someday get a much larger tank, and then I will make an effort again.
My favorites were always the invertebrates, things like crabs, anemones, shrimp, sea urchins, and corals. The lovely, bright colored fish are nice as well, but I always seemed to spend more time watching the things on the bottom, also including bottom fish like jawfish, blennies, and oddities like the sarcastic fringehead, like those we saw at the aquarium today.
I stood for a long time before many of the large show tanks, but the things that pleased me most, besides the otters, puffins, and sea lions, were things like the garden eels, those tiny creatures of different colors and patterns, who spend their lives half-buried in the sand, heads sticking up. They pop up and down in a way that seems synchronized, checking to see if any of their neighbors have designs on their holes in the sand. And we watched the octopus scope out the tank, looking for something to eat, while also at the same time keeping a careful eye on us. Fascinating creature. The amazing pattern on some of the fish was also wonderful to behold, as well as the tank of fish that change sex, seemingly at will, if the need or desire arises.
The diver hand fed some very large rays, who would not leave his side until every scrap of food was gone. It was fun to watch him stroke their bellies and stuff food into their mouths, mouths that seemed to grin in satisfaction after each bite of restaurant quality calamari and scallop. No wonder!


Lou said...

Love aquariums!

Robbi said...

Me too.