What's Going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium - Page 2 - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Well folks, I’m back with another update. This time it’s about our newest exhibit, featuring a certain species of planktonic jellyfish.



Let’s start with a little background info: Periodically, my boss goes out to collect wild shrimp (Mysidae) to feed our Pacific seahorses. We keep them stored in a tank (pictured above) until it’s feeding time, but sometimes, we’ll end up with a little “bycatch”. Unintentional collections can range from common amphipods to the occasional pipefish larva, though by far the most abundant of our hitchhikers is Vallentinia adherens. In case it wasn’t obvious by the photo, their numbers really climbed after a while…



…So to rectify this, my boss decided to give them a tank of their own. Now they’re free to feed on brine shrimp without being a nuisance during feeding times.





My coworkers and I originally believed that these were jellyfish larvae, and visitors tend to make the same assumption. But nope, these little stickers are adults, and now they’ve risen to stardom. Hopefully those baby pipefish I mentioned will get their turn once they’re big enough.

-Kamran
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-30-2017, 12:22 AM
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Okay those little guys are wild looking, I didn't realize jellyfish could look like that. They almost look like little fractal designs.

Usually we get moon jellies down here in SD, every now and then I'll find a velella on the beach, and one year there was a mass die-off of some red and clear jellies that I never did find out a species on. A few years ago they found some kind of spotted jellyfish from Australia here because of... I think it was El Nino that year.

But those are all much bigger than these- even the largest looks like its maybe the size of a quarter, is that about right?
Such cool critters.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-30-2017, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Okay those little guys are wild looking, I didn't realize jellyfish could look like that. They almost look like little fractal designs.

Usually we get moon jellies down here in SD, every now and then I'll find a velella on the beach, and one year there was a mass die-off of some red and clear jellies that I never did find out a species on. A few years ago they found some kind of spotted jellyfish from Australia here because of... I think it was El Nino that year.

But those are all much bigger than these- even the largest looks like its maybe the size of a quarter, is that about right?
Such cool critters.
A friend of mine once compared them to snowflakes. Fitting, since Christmas is coming up.

We have moon jellies at the aquarium too, though I've never seen a velella unfortunately. And it's actually pretty common for El Nino to bring unusual species with it; the most recent one caused an upsurge of pelagic red crabs and Pacific seahorses. Maybe that was the reason behind those red jellies?

I'd say the largest vallentinia is almost the size of a penny. Those pictures probably made them look bigger than they really are, and that's not even getting into the size of the younger ones...

Anyway, thanks for commenting!

-Kamran
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2017, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Hello, everyone. I am both happy and a little sad to present my final weekly update. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy with real life matters that are demanding more and more of my attention, and since my workload won’t be decreasing anytime soon, I’ve decided to discontinue this project to focus on other things. I didn’t intend for this to end so soon, but hey, life happens.

Since this is my last update, I thought it would be fitting to feature my favorite aquarium creatures that never got a chance to shine, complete with some background info for each one.



This is a lion’s mane nudibranch. They’re fairly common in kelp forests, and my boss often finds them during his shrimp collections. They use their hoods to snare prey, and the ones at SMPA are fed with brine shrimp and the occasional fish powder. That matter you see inside its body is its last meal.



This is our ocean whitefish, a resident of the “Under the Pier” exhibit. Whitefish are usually a creamy-white color, but this one is an unusual and ironic shade of black. It’s the most dominant fish in the tank and will often attack the algae scrubs when we try to clean the glass. (Also, the fish behind it is a kelp seabass)



Another abnormally colored animal is our red swamp crawfish. While most of our stock is saltwater natives, the red swamp crawfish is neither saltwater nor native. As an invasive species, it is used as the designated bad guy for our field trip presentations, but who could hate that rare shade of blue?



Here’s our scorpionfish. It has stingers all over its body, and its venom is said to be like that of a rattlesnake’s. If you go fishing in California waters, you better hope you don’t catch one of these. The only safe way to get rid of it would be to cut the hook. They do sell protective gloves that are supposed to be stinger proof, but even these sometimes fail.



And here’s our stargazer, who is located in the back room. It used to be on display, but was removed because the guests apparently found it boring (???). Nowadays it spends its time gazing at the stars, wondering where the roof went.



And now we’re getting into my favorite creature in the aquarium: the keyhole limpet! There are a bunch of these things in the touch tanks, and the above photo is one of the very first I took as an intern. I love gastropods in general, but there’s just something about the little keyholes in particular.



Just like most of our sea snails, they feed on kelp, and their backside is usually covered by a slimy black mantle. However, the limpet that lives in our “Rocky Reef” exhibit always has its mantle fully retracted for whatever reason. Here’s a photo of it:



Also, the keyhole is used to expel waste. Good luck getting that image out of your head.

Lastly, I would like to present our newest addition:



This is a bell jellyfish, and several of them are now sharing a tank with the planktonic jellies I showed off last week. They’re known in scientific circles as “Polyorchis,” which means, “many testicles”. I… wish I was joking, but it presumably refers to the eyes lining their rim. Just like their snowflake-shaped tank mates, they’re happy to feed on brine shrimp.

There you have it, folks. I wish I could’ve kept this thread going a bit longer, but the good news is that I at least managed to share my favorite aquarium facts. That said, I appreciate everyone who took the time to read these posts and learn about my experiences. I’ll still be reading replies for another day or two, but after that, I’m off to bigger and better things. Cheers!

-Kamran
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2017, 08:28 PM
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Thanks for sharing what you have so far, it's been really cool getting to see what the aquarium has! I'm staying subscribed to the thread so please feel free to stop back by if you ever have time!
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2017, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the compliment, Blackbirds! I did want to go into more detail about certain species/exhibits, but I'm glad my personal favorites saw the light of day. If something special happens that I simply have to share, I promise I'll make time for it. :)

-Kamran
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 01:09 PM
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Thank you for sharing all of these pictures and information! :) Do you have any aquariums of your own? If so, what kind of fish do you have?

How many gallons is the largest aquarium at the pier?
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-07-2017, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for sharing all of these pictures and information! :) Do you have any aquariums of your own? If so, what kind of fish do you have?

How many gallons is the largest aquarium at the pier?
Thank you! I did have an aquarium when I was younger, but since I was only ten at the time, it naturally didn't go that well. :P It had goldfish, dwarf African clawed frogs, and a plecostomus. I've also owned bettas, but since my LFS gave me misleading information on their needs, those didn't last long either.

The biggest tank is "Under the Pier". I have no idea how many gallons it is, but it has to range somewhere in the mid-to-upper thousands.

-Kamran
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