What's Going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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What's Going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium

Hello, everyone. My name is Kamran, and I am a helper here at Santa Monica Filtration. I am also an aquarist intern at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium:

https://healthebay.org/aquarium/

I’ll be giving periodic updates regarding various going-ons at the aquarium, and if you have any requests for things you want me to find out about our creatures, feel free to share. I hope you all enjoy!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 08:32 PM
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Sounds like fun, hi Kamran! I'd love to see pictures of some of the marine life you guys have, and if you're allowed, maybe some behind the scenes stuff about what it's like taking care of them. Actually I didn't realize there even was an aquarium at Santa Monica pier, so the next time I'm up that way I'll have to stop in and check it out :D
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Blackbirds! I work at the aquarium on Mondays, so I'd be happy to come back with pictures next week! And I can talk about some behind the scenes stuff too, so long as I'm speaking from my own experiences.

I do think the SMPA is a nice place to visit, especially if you want to see what lurks beneath Santa Monica Bay. Just remember to check the aquarium hours before you visit! Due to some field trip rentals, it's only been open to the public on Friday thru Sunday lately.

-Kamran
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2017, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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The time has come for my first official update. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is nestled beneath the very front of the pier, with a nice big aquarium banner for good measure. Every creature on display is native to Santa Monica Bay, with a few exceptions (ex: El Nino caused some Pacific seahorses to appear in our waters, which were then collected and given their own exhibit). Obviously, the goal is to give visitors a sense of what's lurking right beneath the bay, and to drive the point home, most of our main exhibits are modeled after a specific ecosystem (including the underside of the pier itself).

Attached to this post are a few photos showing the aquarium’s position in relation to the pier, the entrance, and some of our exhibits. All of these photos are mine, except for the aerial shot. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

-Kamran









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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Hello again, everyone. One of our swell sharks recently emerged from its embryo, so for this week’s update, I thought I’d give a rundown of how the aquarium handles its shark pups.





Currently, we have two kinds of sharks on display: swell sharks (first photo) and horn sharks (second photo). Although both our sharks have been known to multiply, the swell sharks do it far more prolifically and will hence be the main focus of this post.



These are what swell shark embryos look like. These three specifically are on public display, but we have many more in the back room.



When a pup emerges from its embryo, it’s immediately moved to the quarantine tank seen in this photo. As you can see, we have no shortage of them (and in comparison, there are only three horn shark embryos that haven’t even hatched yet).



Several things can happen to the pups depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, they’re moved to the public exhibit (pictured above), which is what happened with our newest pup. Other times they’re donated to other aquariums, and still other times they’re kept until they’re large enough for the primary shark tank. It really depends on how much room we have and where.

On a side note, one of our adult swell sharks sprayed me with a mouthful of water once. It was unpleasant.

-Kamran
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 08:55 PM
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Great pictures! I've never actually heard of swell sharks, how big do they get?

Also, the embryos are wild looking- they remind me of a chrysalis.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Great pictures! I've never actually heard of swell sharks, how big do they get?

Also, the embryos are wild looking- they remind me of a chrysalis.
Thank you! They generally grow to around 35 inches (give or take). In the future, I might put my hand in certain photos to give a better sense of scale.

I agree, the embryos are very chrysalis-like. I got to keep the one that was vacated by our newest shark, but it shriveled up like a raisin. I wish I had gotten a photo of the horn shark embryos too, because they have this neat corkscrew shape.

-Kamran
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 06:11 PM
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Do you ever release sharks into the wild? What do you do if you don't have the tank space for a shark and no other aquariums want one?

The Males~
Lucifer, Gabriel, Titan, King, Finnegan, Fin-again & Ricky.
Lucifer & Gabriel are my only non-rescues...

The Females~
Karma
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-17-2017, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Do you ever release sharks into the wild? What do you do if you don't have the tank space for a shark and no other aquariums want one?
We can't release our animals into the wild because it's illegal to do that without a license. A shark having no place to go has never been an issue as far as I know, but if that became a problem, we'd probably just get another quarantine tank. That's what happened when someone dropped off some invasive crawfish, anyway.

-Kamran
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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For this week’s update, I’ve decided to focus on our decorator crab since it’s been going through some “revisions” lately.



In case the name wasn’t a giveaway, decorator crabs like to cover themselves with materials like plants and algae for camouflage. Our decorator crab is no exception, and over the past month, it’s been making some adjustments to its appearance.



This is how it looked two weeks ago. It had molted recently, so its shell was fresh and uncovered.



The following week, it donned some kelp. Upon seeing this, one of my coworkers added some reddish algae to the tank, and a week later…



…it fashioned itself some leg wear.

Although this is our “featured” decorator crab, we do have others, including some juveniles and another adult in the back room. As you can see below, it’s a bit more passionate about its appearance.



On a side note, here’s one of the decorator crab’s older molts that we preserved. It was much smaller back then…





I hope you enjoyed this update. Next week, I’ll discuss one of our newer exhibits.

-Kamran
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