Friday, August 08, 2008
The best thing about these fish is that they are not at all picky about their food. If it fits in their mouths, they will eat it. Shrimp, clam, squid, sardines, mahi-mahi, krill etc. You name it, they will eat it. For this reason you have to be careful about what kind of fish you give them as roommates. Of course, you would not keep a snapper with small damsels, blennies or ornamental shrimp because they would be quickly devoured. It is also because of their ravenous nature that snappers are so well suited for life in an aquarium. As many of you out there already know, getting an aquatic animal to eat is of the utmost importance in maintaining its health. Snappers will eat no matter what. Because of this, you can load their food with medicine, vitamins and whatever else you want the snapper to ingest. Keeping snappers happy is pretty easy. Keep them fed and keep their environment clean.
There are three kinds of snappers at the Aquarium that I find particularly interesting but this is by no means the only kinds we have at the Aquarium.
Like their name suggests, red snappers are red. Right now, we have one in the Shark Lagoon swimming with the large sharks and several in the Big Tropical exhibit. During feeding time at Shark Lagoon, you have to watch the red snapper carefully because after finishing his own food, he will try to steal food from the sharks. This guy is a bottomless pit.
As far as I know, we have only one threadfin snapper. He lives in the Big Tropical Exhibit and can be viewed on the smaller side from the tube. He shares his space with barracudas, an olive ridley sea turtle, and various other wet buddies. It is very important to keep this species with peaceful roommates because of their long, flowing dorsal fin which can be almost as long as the rest of their body. Aggressive tankmates will be prone to nibble on the snapper’s fins, which is not good for the snapper. This is a very active fish. I had to work hard to get a good picture of this guy because he does not hold still.
The blueline snappers live in a large school in the same place as the threadfin snapper. There are well over ten of them in the Big Tropical exhibit. Unlike the other animals in the Aquarium, they still school together. However, each week I see them, their school slowly falls apart. Fish use schooling as a defense mechanism. Slowly, most animals at the Aquarium realize that there are no dangers at all in their habitat and will stop performing any defensive behavior. Slowly, the snappers are realizing that they have nothing to fear so they go their separate ways. I feel this is a shame because I really love seeing them swim in a formation.
Side note: Another animal that behaves really wacky are the sea horses. The sea horses at the Aquarium swim happily about in their habitat without a care in the world! This is quite odd because sea horse hardly ever swim in their natural environment. It is only when they hold perfectly still that they are camouflaged from predators. Swimming around makes them easy targets for all the animals that want to eat them.
Snappers are pretty awesome fish, especially at chow time.
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