An Enquirer.com Special Section FRIDAY, MAY 14, 1999
Hours, prices, and other information were current at time of publication and may have changed.

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]
World Rivers
Discover the diversity of our planet's fish kingdom in eight international areas

        Ride down the escalator and walk under the conch shell archway into World Rivers. Eight international areas and the creatures — all fresh water varieties — that live there are represented in eight separate tanks.

        They are South America, Australia, Indo-West Pacific, Central America, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Africa and our own Licking River. A map on the wall indicates the area where each body of water is located. Habitats modeled after the specific rivers are in each tank.

        Listen to the sounds of rushing water and look at the stalagmites that jut out of the ground where the Blind Cavefish swims. Trees, roots and plant life make up the majority of the other tanks.

        The Hellbender Salamanders and all the fish in the Licking River display were collected at nearby Thomas More College.

        Turtle Island is the centerpiece. A small rocky formation sticks out of the center of a small, elevated acrylic pool. Between 20 and 25 small turtles inhabit the island. There are four varieties of these aquatic reptiles: Midland Painted Turtles, Red Eared Slider Turtles, Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtles and Common Map Turtles.

        Before you leave, look at your feet. The floor here was designed to look like a dry, cracked river bed.

Origins
        Hellbender Salamanders live from southern New York State to Alabama and Georgia. The Blind Cavefish swims in Texas, Mexico and Central America. The Cardinal Tetra is native to Brazil. The Spiny Eel is from Southeast Asia. The Heckel Discus swims primarily in the Rio Negro River in Brazil.

Costs
        The elevated acrylic pool in Turtle Island is 8 feet in diameter and cost $28,000.

What fish eat
        The Salamander's diet consists of crayfish, earthworms and aquatic insects. Blind Cavefish are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat and plants. Cardinal Tetras eat primarily aquatic animals. Spiny Eels munch mosquito larvae, white and earth worms, small crustaceans and fish.

How big do they get?
        Hellbender Salamanders can be up to 29 inches long. Blind Cavefish reach maximum lengths of 31/2 inches. Cardinal Tetras grow to 2 inches while Spiny Eels can get to be a little more than a foot.

What you won't see
        The environment created for the animals is as exact as aquarium staffers can make it, right down to the vegetation. In order to grow naturally, as it would in the wild, aquatic plants must receive the same light and nutrients. A special lighting system mimics sunlight filtering through the water to the plants. A special system of layering gravel was used to attract nutrients to the plants' roots.

Exhibit by the Numbers
        20 turtles live on Turtle Island

        859 pounds of acrylic used to build Turtle Island

        1,000 freshwater plants

        900 gallons of water in each tank

        1,800 eggs laid by a Greenside Darter in a single spawn.

Stars of the Tank
        Hellbender Salamanders: Many believe the Hellbender Salamander to be poisonous. Actually, it is harmless. Pollution has wiped the Salamanders from large parts of their range.

        Blind Cavefish: Cavefish live primarily in dark caves and, thus, have no need of eyes or skin pigment. Young are born with eyes but eventually lose them. They depend on an acute sense of smell to find food.

        Cardinal Tetra: Locals in Brazil depend on the trade of the Cardinal Tetra for their livelihood. They are prized by hobbyists due to their rosy color.

        Spiny Eel: Spiny Eels have stout, isolated spines in front of each dorsal fin. They search the substrate for invertebrates with a fleshy extension of their snouts.

        Heckel Discus: The Heckel Discus has an interesting method of child-rearing. Both the male and female look over the eggs. After hatching, the young swim to and adult Discus, attach themselves to the skin and feed on a mucus secreted from the adult's flesh.



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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