Category

Q &A

Drop Us a Line – November Q&A

You ask, we answer! Welcome to Deep Sea Diary’s monthly Q&A – a great way to connect with Aquarium experts as you fish for more information about all things Ripley’s.

 

Katie asked…

Q: Am I able to SCUBA dive with the sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada?

A: Yes, you are! Our Discovery Dive program allows guests to get up close to the sawfish, sharks, turtles and fish on this 30 minute guided dive in Dangerous Lagoon. This program runs Wednesdays at 3:00pm and Sundays at 1:00pm, and can accommodate a maximum of two people per session. Participants must be at least 16 years of age and SCUBA certified. Cost is $250 per person plus tax, and reservations must be made in advance. Learn more about this experience, including how to book, here.

Our Assistant Manager of Education and Conservation, Marla, shares her experience diving with the sharks in the Dangerous Lagoon, here.

Diane asked…

Q: How do you test the water at the Aquarium?

A: Our water quality lab is equipped with high-end scientific equipment to make certain we get accurate and precise results. Routine testing involves the use of multi-parameter meters, pH/conductivity/luminescent dissolved oxygen probes, incubators, burettes, and the pièce de résistance, a UV/Vis spectrophotometer with an added on flow thru apparatus.

With this equipment we are able to measure, and thus closely monitor, the pH, salinity, alkalinity, oxygen saturation and oxygen content, levels of nitrogenous waste products, potential heavy metal contaminants, chlorine content, phosphate levels, and bacterial growth in our exhibits. Among other important parameters. We test our water constantly as early detection enables us to correct potential issues within our exhibits before they progress to the point were they pose a threat to the well-being and health of our animals.

Learn more about our water quality lab, here.

Have a question about the Aquarium, or something you would like to see on Deep Sea Diary? Email us at deepseadiary@ripleys.com for the chance for your question to be featured in our monthly Q&A post!

I Don’t Think You’re Ready for This Jelly

One of the most photographed animals at the Aquarium, the Pacific sea nettles, are easily one of the most bizarre creatures on display. These brainless, eye-less creatures are almost 95% water! With no eyes to help detect their food, they rely on light-sensing organs.

Did you know that tomorrow, November 3, is World Jellyfish Day?!

To celebrate, today on Deep Sea Diary, we are going to interview one of our Aquarists, Eric.

Eric is our resident “jelly man.” He has been working with Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada since 2014 and has always been a vital part of our jellyfish husbandry team. He currently takes care of our Pacific sea nettles, moon jellies and works with culturing live foods such as zooplankton.

Eric, aka Jelly Man, is an aquarist at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.

How did you get involved working with jellyfish?

“It all started with an internship at an aquarium. A lot of my daily tasks required me to work with jellyfish. One day, my supervisor was showing me how to feed sea nettles and he got stung. I asked him what it felt like to be stung and he responded with “Oh, I don’t feel it anymore.” That really lowered my fear of working with jellyfish – I actually got excited and curious about getting stung myself!”

What does it feel like to get stung?

It ranges from an irritating itch to individual pins and needles poking you. The worst one I ever got felt like getting a scratch and then cleaning it with rubbing alcohol for hours.

Moon jellies can grow up to 40cm in diameter and can be found in the Atlantic Ocean. These jellyfish are capable of life cycle reversal, where individuals grow younger instead of older! At Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, we grow our own moon jellies to display in our Life Cycles Exhibit.

What is your favourite part about working with jellyfish?

I think my favourite part is knowing that you can get them super big and beautiful by doing some of the simplest things like feeding them and keeping their exhibit clean. Also cultivating jellyfish is still very new in the aquarium world and being able to learn so much about jellyfish and their niche always keeps me interested.

How is caring for jellyfish different than caring for fish?

Besides the fact that their tanks are round, not square, they also are an animal that can’t communicate with body language or anything. They can respond with certain behaviours such as retracting their arms from water turbulence or pulsing when they encounter a current but otherwise they are animals that most people don’t understand and I enjoy that!

Upside down jellies lie on the bottom of the ocean (upside down) to expose their algae covered arms to the sun. When disturbed, these jellyfish will swim off the bottom of the ocean or excrete stinging cells contained within mucus as a defence.

What is your favourite jellyfish?

Carukia barnesi, also known as Irukandji jellyfish. They are the about size of your pinky finger and can deliver incredibly painful, venomous stings which can result in a powerful sense of impending doom and even death!

If you want to learn all about jellyfish, their care, what they eat and how they work, check out our blog post Jellyfish 101.

Have a question about the Aquarium, or something you would like to see on Deep Sea Diary? Comment below for the chance for your question to be featured in our monthly Q&A post!

Drop Us a Line – October Q&A

You ask, we answer! Welcome to Deep Sea Diary’s monthly Q&A – a great way to connect with Aquarium experts as you fish for more information about all things Ripley’s.

 

Matthew asked…

Q: How much do the sharks in Dangerous Lagoon eat, and when do you feed them?

A: On average, the Husbandry team prepares around 800 pounds (360 kilograms) of food for the animals EVERY WEEK! This is about a quarter of what is eaten by Aquarium guests every week in the cafe. The food comes from a restaurant supplier so its human consumption grade. About 65% of that food feeds the sharks, stingrays, sawfish, green sea turtles and other small fish that live in the Dangerous Lagoon. These feeds occur on Tuesday and Thursdays. Find the times here. 

Learn more about how we feed the animals in the Dangerous Lagoon here.

shark-feed-aquarist-maude

Diane asked…

Q: Where does the water in the Aquarium come from?

A: All of the water in the Aquarium comes from city water. However, we have a special process to remove added chlorine, fluoride and ammonia. From there, we can do whatever we want with the pure water. For the freshwater tanks, that’s essentially nothing. For saltwater tanks, we added a tremendous amount of salt. This is done in our salt mixing room! Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has our own secret salt water recipe, mixing about 15 different types of salts and minerals! The most common salt is sodium chloride, or what most people know as table salt. Once this water is fully mixed and passes the water chemistry tests, it is moved to another holding basin where it can be sent to any system that requires it.

In total, we are able to recycle about 99% if the water we filter. In fact, we’ll actually lose more water each day from human sources (i.e. washrooms, cafe, etc.) than we will from the actual tanks.

Have a question about the Aquarium, or something you would like to see on Deep Sea Diary? Email us at deepseadiary@ripleys.com for the chance for your question to be featured in our monthly Q&A post!

Drop Us a Line – September Q&A

You ask, we answer! Welcome to Deep Sea Diary’s monthly Q&A – a great way to connect with Aquarium experts as you fish for more information about all things Ripley’s.

 

Anna asked,

Q: How many types of fishes call Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada home?

A: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is home to over 16,000 fish and invertebrates, as well as two green sea turtles. Nine galleries showcase a cross section of saltwater and freshwater environments from around the world – starting with species from Toronto’s backyard, the Great Lakes basin. The Dangerous Lagoon is our largest exhibit with 2.9 million liters of salt water, and Rainbow Reef is the most diverse, with over 100 different types of tropical fish.

Learn how we take care of the animals in our largest exhibit, the Dangerous Lagoon, here.

Patricia asked,

Q: What is the most common place that is photographed at the Aquarium?

A: One of the most iconic and photographed places inside Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is Planet Jellies, specifically the wall of sea nettles. The giant floor to ceiling kriesel stops everyone in their tracks, and is the perfect location for a selfie or silhouette photo against the stunning blues, purples and pinks.

We want to see your Aquarium photos! When sharing your photos of Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, be sure to tag us @RipleysAquaCA and use our hashtag, #RipleysAquaCA.

Learn more about how to capture the perfect photo at the Aquarium here.

 

Is there something you’ve always wanted to know about Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada? Drop us a line in the comments below for the chance to be featured in our monthly Q&A !

Drop Us a Line – August Q&A

 

Deep Sea Diary Q & A

You ask, we answer! Welcome to Deep Sea Diary’s monthly Q&A – a great way to connect with Aquarium experts as you fish for more information about all things Ripley’s.

 

Paige asked…

Q. What is the most invasive species at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada?

A. The lionfish, a popular fish in tropical home aquariums, is a flourishing invasive species in the US Southeast and Caribbean coastal waters.  Native to the Indo-Pacific, it is believed that they were likely released into the Atlantic Ocean and/or Gulf of Mexico on purpose when people no longer wanted them in their home aquariums.

This invasive venomous species has the potential to harm reef ecosystems because it is a top predator that competes for food and space.  In the US, the lionfish population is continuing to grow and increase its range. Juveniles have been collected in waters as far north as Long Island, New York. This expansion in range is largely due to the fact that lionfish have no known predators and reproduce all year long. A mature female releases roughly two million eggs a year!

Be sure to check out the lionfish that call Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada home, located in the Gallery!

Jackie asked…

Q. How do jellyfish eat? Do they have a mouth?

A. Jellyfish eat by catching prey with their oral arms (the ones that hang down from the center of the body) or their tentacles (found along the margins of the body). These oral arms and tentacles  are covered in specialized stinging cells, called nematocysts. These nematocysts function like a spring-loaded venomous harpoons, piercing pierce anything that brush up against them.

Prey caught in the central oral arms will be moved up canals in the arm to the mouth (which is an opening into the body at the point where all the arms meet in the middle) and then into the inner gastric pouch, where it is digested. If the prey is caught by the marginal tentacles, it is moved to canals in the body that then transport it to the center.

Jellyfish are passive hunters, which means they collect food as they move through the water. They feed on a steady diet of plankton and even other jellyfish.

Stay “tuna-d” for an upcoming Deep Sea Diary post on how we take care of the jellyfish at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada!

Christy asked…

Q. How large can an octopus grow at the Aquarium?

A. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is home to a giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). This species of octopus is the largest of 300+ known octopus species. There is a huge variation in size that depends on the individual, but the average for this species is considered around 15-18kg (33-40lb), with an arm span around 4m(12-14ft) when stretched out. Of course, we can’t talk about size without mentioning the world record – OVER 130kg (300lb) and 9m (30ft) wide! There has also been the occasional “fisherman’s tale” of even larger individuals, but the proof isn’t quite there yet.

The giant Pacific octopus can live to be about four years old, with both males and females dying soon after breeding. Females live long enough to tend to their eggs, but they do not eat during this months-long brooding period, and usually die soon afterwards.

Check out our giant pacific octopus, located in the Canadian Waters gallery!

Is there something you’ve always wanted to know about Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada? Drop us a line in the comments below for the chance to be featured in our monthly Q&A !

 

Drop Us a Line – July Q&A

Deep Sea Diary Q & A

You ask, we answer! Welcome to Deep Sea Diary’s new monthly Q&A feature – a great way to connect with Aquarium experts as you fish for more information about all things Ripley’s.

 

Trevor asked...

Q: Do you feed any of the animals live food?

A: In order to keep our animals’ diets as balance, nutritious and varied as possible, we do keep a few different live food sources on hand. They are packed with protein and vitamins, and are also a great way to provide enrichment for our animals!

Artmeia, also know an brine shrimp, are the same exact “Sea Monkeys” you may have had as a kid. We use both their adult and larval forms, called Nauplii. Adult Artemia are enjoyed by many of the smaller fish and anemones, and Nauplii are fed to the jellies.

Another shrimp-like crustacean, adult Mysids are fed to the cuttlefish, seahorses and reef fish. This zooplankton is found in just about every environment (marine and freshwater), and is often used as a bioindicator because they are so sensitive to pollution.

Learn more about what and how the animals are fed, here.

Roy asked…

Q: How and why does the electric eel generate a current?

A: Electric eels inhabit the Orinoco and Amazon river basins in South America, and are commonly found in areas where the bottom is mussy and the water is stagnant. They are obligatory air breathers and do not need high amounts of oxygen in the water.

The electric eel is not a true eel, but a member of the Knifefish order and more closely related to catfish than eels. Knifefishes use electric organs to generate currents that help them locate prey in murky waters. The electric eel uses three different organs to generate its shock (and can even control the intensity). The Sach’s organ emits low-voltage discharges (great for electrolocation) and the main and Hunter’s organs emit high-voltage discharges during predatory attacks and defense. These electric organs take up nearly 3/5 of the animal’s body!

The electric eel that calls Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada home can be found in The Gallery.

ripleys-aquarium-electric-eel

Natalie asked...

Q: Where are the turtles?

A: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has two resident green sea turtles that live in the Dangerous Lagoon. They have free reign of this nearly 2.5 million litre tank, and may not always be easy to spot.

Of the seven species of sea turtles, green sea turtles are one of the largest, with adults averaging 400-500lbs! Young green sea turtles are omnivorous, eating crustaceans and small fish. As they mature, they become primarily herbivorous, and they will adjust to their surroundings. Our residents enjoy a daily balance diet of protein, leafy greens and veggies.

Green sea turtles are an endangered species, historically taken for their meat and shell. Their threats nowadays are many, including habitat alteration, boat strikes, disease, nest disturbance and predation and fisheries impact, especially as bycatch from large trawlers.

Learn more about the animals in the Dangerous Lagoon, and how they are fed, here.

ripleys-aquarium-green-sea-turtle

On the last Thursday of each month, we feature commonly asked questions from our Aquarium guests and Deep Sea Diary readers.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to know about Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada? Email us at deepseadiary@ripleys.com for your chance to be featured!

Drop Us a Line – June Q&A

Deep Sea Diary Q & A

You ask, we answer! Welcome to Deep Sea Diary’s new monthly Q&A feature – a great way to connect with Aquarium experts as you fish for more information about all things Ripley’s.

 

James asked…

Q: How much food do you feed the animals at the Aquarium every week?

A: Each week, approximately 800 lbs. of restaurant-quality seafood is prepared and fed to the animals that call Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada home. About 60% of that is just for the sharks, rays and other fish in Dangerous Lagoon!

 

Geoff asked…

Q: How much water is at the Aquarium?

A: The total volume of water at the aquarium is about 5.2 million litres. That’s more than 25,000 bathtubs! Dangerous Lagoon is our largest exhibit and contains 2.9 million litres of water.

 

Rose asked…

Q: How often is the water at the Aquarium cleaned?

A: Collectively, we have 10 pumps that deliver water to all of our larger exhibits. In total, they pump over 68,000 litres of water per minute. This is approximately 98 million litres of water every day! The 2.9 million litres of water in Dangerous Lagoon, our largest exhibit, turns over in just 75 minutes.

On the last Thursday of each month, we feature commonly asked questions from our Aquarium guests and Deep Sea Diary readers.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to know about Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada? Email us at deepseadiary@ripleys.com for your chance to be featured!