Minnesota Zoo – Reef Fish Tank

The Minnesota Zoo has a really nice aquarium area.  One of the tanks is a reef fish tank that is packed with fish.  When Matthew and I visited with our friend, Ken Balfanz, in the Fall of 2010, we were given a tour of the facilities.  One of the highlights was being on hand when this big aquarium was being fed.  Notice the albino sharks!  They were born in this tank, and are apparently quite rare.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus ‘Njanje’

This is a really old video (about a year ago) shot with our Flip video camera.  The production is bad, but the subject is great.  I no longer have this fish (I really wish I still did).  Since I am learning this whole video-making art I thought I post this to remind myself of where I started.  This variety of P. taeniatus relatively new on the scene.  It was first collected in 2008 (I believe), and was not first exported from Cameroon until 2009.  When I was in Cameroon in February of 2009 we probably drove within 10 km of this population and never even new that they were there.  It is very similar to the Muyuka variety that is extinct in the wild, which is the variety that the finder of this Njanje location was hoping to rediscover.  The word is that the Njanje location is very small, so extensive collecting for export should be discouraged.  It is a very prolific strain, however, so if you have them keep on breeding them (and let me know wen you have some available).

Astronotus sp. ‘Orinoco’

The community in this video is a mix of six Astronotus sp. ‘Orinoco’, four male Archocentrus multispinosa (rainbow cichlids), a male Ameca splendens and a male blue gouramie, all in a 75-gallon tank filtered by a Poret foam wall (air driven).  The aquarium was established for the oscars, which were wild-caught, that I purchased at 2″ from Tangled Up In Cichlids (Jeff Rapps) in August, 2010.  All the other fish were intended as dithers/targets for the oscars.  I will eventually will get the other fish out of there, but so far everyone is cohabiting peacefully.  In fact, the shyest fish in the tank are the oscars.  This video is what happens every morning when I turn on the lights and toss in some floating pellets.  It takes a few minutes before any of the fish venture out for breakfast, and the first to emerge is never an oscar.  As soon as one fish braves the open water, the oscars come pouring out to gather up most the food.