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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to be featured!