Monday, September 19, 2016

Make Way for Fishes (in the Reef Aquarium)

Today was the day so many BPC students were waiting for... fish in the reef tank!  (Although, as a science teacher, this blog post author does think that vertebrates get an unfair share of the love--invertebrates are pretty awesome and important, too!) You can check out the video of the fish release below.

Here is the list of fish added:

CC-BY Jenny (Jenny Huang)
One Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa) - These fish are omnivores--they eat algae and are also known to nibble on soft coral.  Like the Cardinalfish above, the Coral Beauty is in the Chordata phylum, Actinopterygii class, Perciformes order, though in a different family.

CC-BY-SA Yummifruitbat
One Algae Blenny (Salarias fasciatus) - This fish is also in the - you guessed it - Perciformes order and there are 13 species in the genus Salarias.  This Blenny is best known for eating the algae growth from rocks and glass, although they are primarily detrivores--scraping material off hard surfaces such as rocks and coral. Blennies end up eating protists such as filamentous algae, diatoms, foraminiferans as well as tiny crustaceans, detritus, and sand.  This fish can grow up to 5" in an aquarium--that's one big Blenny!

(public domain)
One Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani) - Also in the Perciformes order, these fish are found only in the Red Sea.  Orchid Dottybacks are carnivores, and will even prey on bristleworms!

CC-BY Brian Gratwicke
One Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus) - Also in the Perciformes order, Hawkfish belong to the family Cirrhitidae which has 12 recognized genera and 38 species--one of these is the Neocirrhites armatus! Like most hawkfishes, the Flame Hawkfish lacks a swim bladder--instead it spends a lot of its time perched on rocks, or dwelling on the sandy tank bottom. Their lower pectoral fin rays are also thickened, which helps to wedge them places and and hold them in a current (which, in our tank, comes from the powerheads). Perching helps them conserve energy.

CC-BY-SA Jens Petersen
Five Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) - These fish can most often be found swimming around in a group in our tank. They are named after the Banggai Islands of Indonesia, their natural home. They are in the Chordata phylum, Actinopterygii class, Perciformes order, and are the only organisms in their genus Pterapogon!  A fun fact: the Banggai cardinalfish is a paternal mouthbrooder--which means the male carries the eggs in his mouth while they incubate!  Read more about it on this Creature Feature at the Seattle Aquarium or watch this video to see mouthbrooding in action. Or this video, hilariously entitled "Banggai Cardinalfish With Big Babies In Mouth"!

Hilarious photo of a related Blenny - GFDL

BPC Improv Club mugging for the cameras 
as the fish float in their bags, awaiting release!

Want to read more about our BPC reef tank?  Check out the blog label Tank News for more posts!

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