.By David Marshall, Ryedale Aquarist
The Blue Reef Public Aquarium is situated on the Grand Parade at
you enter the aquarium you find yourself next to a large open topped exhibit that
is home to six Terrapins, a large number of Common Goldfish and a 'surprise guest'
in the form of a large Asian Red Parrot cichlid. We first viewed this exhibit
when both Terrapins and Goldfish were very tiny and perhaps this is the key to
why they co-exist in apparent harmony?
you enter the exhibits proper, of which there are just over 30, you are face-to-face
with a large hexagonal tank that is home to a small shoal of Red-bellied Piranha.
Sue and I arrived at feeding time and it was interesting to see the others stand
aside to let the 'head man' take first choice of the large pieces of mussel that
formed their dinner.
The only other tropical freshwater display is a beautifully
aquascaped display aquarium that mixes fish from several countries that include
Ancistrus (the largest adults I have ever seen), Black Neon Tetra, various Corydoras,
Neon Tetra and various species of oviparous livebearers.
River Turtles occupy
the fourth exhibit. The décor of tree branches, ferns and running water
has been so well put together that you have to let your eyes do plenty of adjusting
in order to spot the well hidden Turtles. Members of the Kinospernon genus these
beautiful creatures were seized by Customs officials during a raid on a London
marine exhibits follow and the beauty of our native Wrasse always entrances me.
The Stingray display area is very interesting and consists of a long pool that
is cleverly designed in order to recreate a sea floor of several levels. Now we
find 'oddball' marine creatures from around the World that include fierce looking
Wolf fish and dainty Seahorses.
The original Ray exhibit area has now been
completely redesigned to form the habitat for a family of Asian short-clawed Otters.
What a spectacle these 'stars' put on for 'their' visitors as they frolic around
the décor. On the far wall a video screen shows film of marine mammal conservation
programmes from around the World. The Otters can see this and each time Sea Otters
appeared on the screen the little group become very excited, and vocal, as if
trying to chase away potential rivals for 'their territory'.
we are into the tropical marine section. The coral reef display tank, which took
9 years to mature, remains the centrepiece and the Yellow Tang here are a sight
to behold. Elsewhere strange looking Goat and Domino fish hold domain.
amphibian displays are excellent. Sue loves the dainty Tree Frogs whereas the
gigantic xanthic Xenopus fascinated me. Giant Cuttlefish, Shrimp and Octopus displays
Now our visit takes us outside to the newly built Harbour Seal exhibit.
Here four rescued Seals live in luxury. Unfortunately we missed feeding time but
are reliably informed that this is the best time to view these remarkable creatures.
inside the visit ends with the wonder of a 'walkthrough acrylic tunnel'. Here
a number of large tropical marine species swim above and around you. Panther Grouper,
Lipstick Tang, Horn Shark and many more are here in all of their glory.
In conclusion the Blue Reef is an excellent place to visit and has a broad
aquatic appeal. We look forward to our next visit.