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What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium

 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:50 am Post subject: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 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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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:06 am Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 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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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:42 pm Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 please  share  more  images
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:54 am Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 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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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:39 am Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 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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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:27 pm Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 Thanks  for  Sharing!
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:12 am Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 Thank  you.  If  you  have  photos  of  either  of  them,  please  post   Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:12 am Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 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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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:33 am Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 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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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:43 am Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

 Thanks  For  sharing!!  What  are  you  feeding  the  fish.  is  it  prepared  food  or  live  feed  or  something  that  available  off  the  shelf?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:18 am Post subject: Re: What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium Reply with quote

                                                   
Preeths  wrote  (View  Post):                
Thanks  For  sharing!!  What  are  you  feeding  the  fish.  is  it  prepared  food  or  live  feed  or  something  that  available  off  the  shelf?                

 
 You're  welcome!  As  for  what  we  feed  our  fish,  it  depends  on  the  size.  The  smaller  ones  generally  eat  brine  shrimp,  while  the  bigger  ones  generally  eat  pre-prepared  anchovies,  squid,  and  krill.  We  also  have  plenty  of  sea  snails  and  crustaceans  that  feed  on  kelp,  and  sea  stars  that  feed  on  fish  heads.
 
 -Kamran
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