Moray Eel Checkup

We love our morays, I mean after all "that's amore."  Sorry for that.  Honestly though, our green morays are an awesome group of the Giant Ocean Tank population of fish. They look menacing, yet are docile animals. We offer them food every day (though some eels will not eat for weeks on end), and because of that we are quick to notice any odd behavior or physical issues. One day recently it was observed that our largest moray had a distended abdomen and a swollen vent, so we decided that a trip to the Aquarium Medical Center (just down the hall) was in order.  How do you catch and transport an eel anyway?


Once out of the tank and behind the scenes, she is wheeled down the hall to the medical center, where the vets take over.  First step--after closing all the doors just in case--is to add anesthesia to the water and wait for the eel to go into a sleepy state.

Having a look to see if she is asleep from the anesthesia yet

An inside view

Moving her to the exam table

After turning her 180 degrees to get closer...

...she began to expel eggs.  A LOT of eggs.

Like, almost 3 GALLONS of eggs!

Stitching her back up

And a quick blood draw for tests

Back in the eel bag she goes

Once back in the eel bag, she is put back in the barrel and wheeled back down the hallway for her return to the Giant Ocean Tank.  I'm pretty sure she feels much better :-)

Green morays, Gymnothorax funebris, typically range between 3 and 5 feet when seen in the wild, however this eel is close to 8 feet long and is the biggest of the five we have in the Giant Ocean Tank.  Green morays are nocturnal by nature, but it is not too uncommon to see one of ours swimming around the tank during the day. Come have a look and see if you can spy all five as you spiral up the Giant Ocean Tank ramp.


Aquarium to Aquarius: Hanging Out With a Friend

Recently we were able to spend some time with former Aquarium diver and aquarist Liz Magee, who is living underwater at the Aquarius research station in the Florida Keys. Liz is program coordinator of the Three Seas Program at Northeastern University in addition to serving as Northeastern's Diving Safety Officer. She is spending two weeks unerwater at Aquarius, and she gives Aquarium Senior Educator Sam Herman the lowdown on what it's like.

Here's the full Google+ Hangout on Air:

For reference, here's links to some of the things Liz and Sam discussed.

You can learn more about Liz and her adventure on her blog.



Meet our tripletails!  The Atlantic tripletail, Lobotes surinamensis, is a recent addition to our Giant Ocean Tank. We have two of them and they can be seen up near the surface, usually around (and sometimes under) the diver platform, because that is where they are most comfortable, just like our needlefish.  In the wild they are often found floating on their sides under floats of Sargassum.  In fact they never seem to stay 'upright' as you can see in some of these pictures.

Listing to the left

Listing to the right

Under the diver platform

Our tripletails our currently under 12" in length, but they are voracious eaters, and can grow to three and a half feet long!  They are certainly growing fast, so it may not take long.  Actually, we currently are working on a target feeding station for them.  Stay tuned on that.

A permit cruises by

Always near the surface... notice the reflection

Wait, so why are they called tripletails?  It's simple.  Because their rear dorsal and anal fins are very large - larger than what most fish have - and it gives the impression that they have three tail fins.  So come on up to the 4th floor to get an up close glimpse of our tripletails - the top of our tank is open to the public!


Wet Rounds: House call with the vet

The Aquarium has its own Animal Health Department, with veterinarians on staff.  Weekly, we have rounds with them to update each other on the health of our fish and turtles, and review medical cases and determine if we need to pull any of the critters out for checkups.  But... sometimes it's just easier to perform these exams underwater!

That's where Julie the vet comes in.  She's a certified scientific diver and joined us in the tank at the 10:00 dive—our first dive of the day. We had a short list of patients written out on an underwater slate, two of them being Ari our Kemp's ridley sea turtle and Myrtle the green sea turtle (who always seems to be involved with everything), as seen in this video:

It wasn't just turtles that needed attention.  Some fish were on the list too, including a couple of our green moray eels (stay tuned for an upcoming moray blog post) and a trunkfish who is being treated for a facial lesion and lives in one of our acclimation barrels temporarily.

Getting a close look at a trunkfish patient
Thanks to our vet staff for keeping our animals healthy :-)