Merry Christmas from the Giant Ocean Tank

It may have been Christmas morning and the Aquarium was closed but the animals in the Giant Ocean Tank still needed lots of food and care. In the spirit of the holidays we also prepared some special treats for some of the GOT’s inhabitants.

Daire gave Myrtle some special attention today in the form of a “back-scratch” by scrubbing her shell.

Our striped burrfish and porcupinefish got a special treat today that they really love – crabs!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Giant Ocean Tank Divers! 

- Sean, Daire, Mack and Alex


A curious onlooker: The bridled burrfish

Divers, mostly volunteers, hop into the tank with scrub brushes every day. They're charged with scrubbing our colorful new corals so they can remain vibrant and lovely. It's a job that has to happen every day. After all, if you have bright lights you're going to get some happy algae.

In this video, Daire has a curious onlooker while he's scrubbing the algae at the top of the reef.


This bridled burrfish is related to all of our other spiky puffers: balloonfish, porcupinefish, spotted burrfish and striped burrfish. But perhaps he thinks this brush is his kin!


Signs of happy fish

One of the roles of a GOT Aquarist is to ensure that all of the animals in the Giant Ocean Tank are happy and healthy. On each of our dives we make observations and monitor the behaviors of the animals as a way to keep track of animal health.

Divers observe all the fish—big and small—inside the Giant Ocean Tank each day

Occasionally we are rewarded with something really exciting!

Can you tell what this is? I’ll give you a hint: It is one of the signs of a happy and healthy fish.

Fish that are well-fed and relaxed are able to spend energy on things that are not critical to their individual survival. In the GOT this sometimes results in fish spawning, or laying eggs.

Each speck is a tiny fertilized Sergeant major egg

Some fish release their spawn into the water while others, like our Sergeant majors, lay their eggs on a surface.

One of the small adult Sergeant majors currently in the Giant Ocean Tank

A while back we talked about where baby fish come from and raising fish at the Aquarium, and it is great to know that post-renovation the fish are happy with their new home.

Under the microscope you can see the yolk (the purple sphere) that provides the fish with energy to grow

After a couple days eyes develop and more colors start to appear 

Through our continuing partnership with Roger Williams University and recently with other institutions across the United States and we are working on methods to collect and hatch these eggs. Eventually we hope to use these captive bred fish to augment our tropical collecting efforts allowing us to further reduce our impact on wild populations.