Thursday, January 30, 2020

Las Palmas Aquarium part 2

This is a part of a huge tank that represents deep sea. This glass wall is slightly curved and measures 36 x 7 m, and it is supposed to be the largest curved glass wall in the world. I'm not so very much into biggest this and largest that, but I'm happy that the sharks and other fish really have plenty of space. One can walk around the tank and look into it also from other sides, but this one is most impressive. It is like a huge window looking into the ocean.
Years back when we were in Lisbon, we visited Oceanarium there. They have a huge tank there as well, with many sharks, rays, turtles, all kind of fish and even whale shark. I was blown away by what was on display. While whale shark looked quite content and the tank was really big, I was wondering if it is not still a bit small for a fish of that size. This one here is more than big enough for Sand tigers, and they look quite happy in it.

One of the Sand tigers had a bite mark in his fin. I asked an aquarium employee if sharks feed on the fish that are swimming in the same tank and he told me that Sand tigers are hand fed three times a week by divers, each one has a name and his own diet and divers make sure, they are getting enough food and exactly what they need. The few scars are the result of occasional disagreement between them, not from  hunting or fighting over food.
There were also some Nurse sharks in the tank, they are mostly lying on the sand, just like in nature. The name has nothing to do with nurses, but comes from the sound they make when they are sucking crabs and octopuses from the sandy bottom, which is similar to the sound babies make when their moms are nursing them.
There were some huge tunas swimming in the tank as well. Captain said, that just the tunas would be worth tons of money in Japan, and that he understands now why the entrance fee was so high.
A little bit of everything - a nurse shark in the back, Guitar shark on the bottom, Eagle ray in front and some fish around them.
A portrait of Sand tiger
I was chasing after sharks so much I mostly forgot to look upwards to the fish.
Besides tunas there were some impressively large groupers there as well.
We stayed at that tank for quite a while, also because we thought that was it. But there were plenty of smaller tanks to follow. In one of them there were beautiful colourful Stone fish.

Captain watching the diver cleaning the tank with Triggerfish.
This tank was probably most colourful of all. I was a bit annoyed because couple of people were taking photos for ages and it was difficult to get close to the glass wall. They kept looking at their phones and then they took some more photos, and it went on and on. When I finally got close and started to photograph, I soon realised that colours almost vanished on the photos. That's what must have been bothering other people as well and why they took so many photos. Obviously the tank was lit with some kind of fluorescent light and while the human eye could see all the beautiful colours, camera couldn't catch it. In reality were the colours of these Zoanthids much brighter than what is shown on the photo.
It was the same with this fish...
...and with Ribbon eel. I was a bit frustrated, but I didn't remember to try different camera settings.
The jellyfish in next tank photographed quite well.
A cute anemone.
And a couple of sea stars.
This tank was full with Moray eels, they were looking out from under every rock. It even looked a bit crowded.
Probably my favourites were the Sea dragons, they look so very elegant.
We saw some huge Spiny lobsters, this one must have been the size of my arm...
...and even bigger crabs.
Back in the huge fresh water tank the diver was feeding the big rays. She had a bucket full of squids and hand fed one by one, giving rays a scratch behind the ear as well. There was a turtle and many fish waiting for scraps.
We returned to the sea water cylinder with reef life to have a chocolate cake in a coffee shop and watched fish some more. The cake was delicious.

On our way out we saw some more fresh water tanks with funny fish...
...of which I don't know the names...
... but I know these are Discus. Each was of different colour and pattern, from white to orange to blue.
This might not be the prettiest animal there, but it's quite impressive - it is a giant freshwater Electric eel.
We were really impressed by aquarium, we had very high expectations, but I think they were surpassed. It was worth every cent of 25 Euros of entrance fee. If I ever visit it again, I might take a guided tour, it seems like people who work there know so much interesting and fun things about the fish.

On our way back to marina we passed by Technical museum and replica of Columbus ship Pinta. It was made by same design and with similar materials and actually even sailed to America and back, like real Pinta.
After two days so full of impressions and also so much walking around we needed some rest and stayed on the boat the next day. And I needed time to process my countless photos.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Las Palmas Aquarium

Next day, on Thursday, we visited the Aquarium.

Taking photos in aquarium is allowed, but without the flash. As I noticed, my camera had some problems coping with focus (especially when I zoomed in) in dim light, and reflexions of the front glass didn't help either. Nevertheless, I made some decent photos, that I divided into two blogs. Even so there are many photos in each, but just for the info: all in all I took over 720 photos in aquarium, so here are just the few of them.

First part of aquarium is dedicated to fresh water, mainly Amazonas. I don't know all the names of the fish, this one was occasionally cleaning the algae from the glass.
The chameleon looked jut like the ones we saw in October in Rota in mainland Spain.
Don't know which more fascinated me - the translucent fish or the black one below them that was swimming vertically by moving it's fin on the belly (the white bar is on the tail).
These Axelotls from Mexico reminded me of Proteus (človeška ribica), that is found in Slovenian karst caves.
Turtles with snouts
Pretty fish
A Horseshoe crabs (ostvar) are considered living fossils, the species is some 450 millions year old.
First seawater tank was for the kids, filled with colourful corals and fish.
Captain decided he was not too old to climb through the tunnel, just like other kids.
Puffer fish was cleaned by Cleaning wrasse
Next seawater tank was a huge cylinder filled with corals and hundreds of fish. There were benches around it so people could just sit there and watch fish swim by. This is a Leopard shark...
...and this is his belly.
This belly belongs to a Stingray.
There were many pretty, but also pretty unusual fish.
This one has been one of my favourites since I first saw it many years ago while snorkelling in Maldives - an Emperor angelfish.
And this one I know from Maldives and Red sea - Unicorn fish.
Not sure, who this is.
This was another tank with shallow water fish, among others with Lookdowns in the middle and a Cowfish left on the rock. There was more light here.
The tank with Garden eels appears more blueish, like it normally would in a bit deeper water. Garden eels are normally very shy and difficult to get a photo of, as soon as they notice a snorkeler, they disappear back into the sand.
This is a Fire dartfish.
In different tanks there was different light, obviously to mimic the light in natural environments, the deeper the water, less light there is and more blue everything appears. These giant crabs were still fluorescent red despite low light.
Very pretty sea cucumber
And some colourful shrimps

In one of the rooms they had a small tank with shark eggs...
...and already two small sharks developed from then. Probably when they grow up enough, they'll be transferred into one of the big tanks.
What came next absolutely thrilled me - a gigantic tank with some pretty big Sand tiger sharks and hundreds of huge tunas and other fish.
I just couldn't stop photographing them.
Then I noticed some Guitar sharks on the ground.
I said to Captain he should go and sit down on one of the benches in front of the tank for a while, I already knew this photo session is going to be a long one.