An Enquirer.com Special Section FRIDAY, MAY 14, 1999
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shark

THE AQUARIUM
- Introduction
- Going there
- The murals
- The music
- Shop and Eat
- Beginnings

THE EXHIBITS

- World Rivers
- Shore Gallery
- Touch Pool
- Bizarre & Beautiful
- Dangerous & Deadly
- Riverbank
- 'Gator Bayou
-Amazon Rain Forest
- Coral Reef
- Jellyfish Gallery
- Kingdom of Penguins
- Ray Nursery
- Repopulation
- Surrounded by Sharks

THE STAFF

- Staff and keepers
Oceanic Adventures Newport Aquarium] [Building image]
Shore Gallery
Experience look and feel of the beach down to the sounds of crashing waves and seagulls

        From the World Rivers, stroll through the Kelp Forest (the first tunnel in the aquarium) into the Shore Gallery. Sit on a bamboo bench and watch the sun set on a beach.

        The sunset is on a projection television. Waves crash and trees sway. Sounds of crashing waves and the call of seagulls are heard here. The light is brighter, too, which helps create the feel of being at the beach.

        The tanks are recessed in the wall and feature water-spitting Archerfishes and Pot Belly Sea Horses along with other creatures that live near shorelines.

        In the “Wet Table” area, there's a microscope so visitors can get a good look at all matters of life likely to wash up on oceanic shores. The images are projected on a television screen.

        The floor looks like sand on which fallen fronds from nearby palm trees have left imprints. Palms decorate the room in both free standing and painted forms.

        The Pirate Theater entrance is accessible from the Shore Gallery as is the entrance to the Bizarre & Beautiful section through the Eel Tunnel.

Origins
        Peacock Flounders are found in Florida, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Brazil. Pot Belly Sea Horses are from southern Australia and New Zealand. Archerfish live in Asia and Northern Australia. South America is the home of Four Eyes, and Lookdowns live in Nova Scotia, Uruguay and the eastern Atlantic.

Costs
        The powers of waves are explained in Waves in Motion, an exhibit that shows how waves are formed. The fiberglass and acrylic on this 1,200-gallon tank cost $27,000.

What fish eat
        Peacock Flounders eat primarily small fish. Pot Belly Sea Horses eat a variety of small organisms. Archer fishes eat crickets, roaches and daddy-long-legs near the surface. Four Eyes also dine on insects. Lookdowns' dietary staples are mollusks.

How big do they get?
        Peacock Flounder will grow to 18 inches. Pot Belly Sea Horses can be as long as 10 inches as can Archerfishes. Lookdowns and Four Eyes might reach 12 inches.

About the artwork
        The mural depicts a daytime look seaward from a grainy beach. Two sailboats appear on the horizon and a beached canoe rests on the sand. Palm trees curve out of the way of tanks imbedded in the wall. The blue sky is interrupted only by a smattering of clouds far off on the horizon.

What you won't see
        Twelve archerfish live in the Shore Gallery, and they are hungry little creatures. On any given day these fish consume 2-3 dozen crickets.

        Feeding them can keep aquarists busy, interrupting their work in order to collect and deliver crickets to the fish tank. The gallery's keeper, Mark Lewin, looked for a more efficient way to feed the fish, and believes a cricket feeder to be his answer.

        He crafted a feeder that houses dozens of live crickets. The feeder periodically releases the tiny crickets onto tree limbs inside the exhibit. Although the archerfish can't climb a tree to retrieve a cricket, it can shoot a stream of water at the insect.

        The force of the water knocks the cricket from its perch into the tank where it quickly becomes dinner.

Exhibit by the numbers
        22 species

        535 animals

        6,120 gallons of water

        2 tons of sand, gravel and crushed coral line the bottoms of the tanks

        4 eyes on each Four Eyes

        10 feet is the distance an Archerfish can shoot water at insects

Stars of the Tank
        Lookdowns: Named because they spend a good deal of time resting above the ocean floor with their nose angled toward the ground, Lookdowns enjoy a compressed body and small tail base that reduce drag as they swim.

        Archerfish: Archerfishes shoot drops of water up to 10 feet in hopes of bringing down flying insects for food.

        Peacock Flounder: Both eyes are on the left side of the Peacock Flounder's head. Its teeth are stronger on the right side of the mouth to protect the fish's blind side. The Flounder will change colors to match the ocean floor, bury itself in the sand and leave only its eyes sticking out to spot prey.

        Pot-Belly Seahorse: A male Pot-Belly Seahorse gives birth to young after carrying the eggs in a stomach pouch. Generally weak swimmers, the sea horses tend to congregate near shorelines.



The Tristate is Goin' Fishin'
Going to the Aquarium
Murals bring seascapes to life
Music sets the mood for 16 exhibits
Shop, eat and watch a movie
The making of an aquarium
World Rivers
- Shore Gallery
Touch Pool
Bizarre & Beautiful
Dangerous & Deadly
Riverbank
'Gator Bayou
Amazon Rain Forest
Coral Reef
Jellyfish Gallery
Kingdom of Penguins
Ray Nursery
Repopulation
Surrounded by Sharks
Meet the staff and keepers

Copyright 1999 The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.
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