Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Hi there, fish-fans! My name is Chris Corpus and I’m very excited to be joining the team of bloggers here at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
I have been studying and caring for fish as a hobby for over 10 years. I have volunteered at the Aquarium for almost 2 years now, most of it as an aquarist in the Husbandry department. What does an aquarist do? Well, essentially being an aquarist is simply being a glorified janitor for fish!
Haha, just kidding! Actually, an aquarist is someone who takes care of fish, invertebrates, and the exhibits they live in. We prep the food for the fish and invertebrates that you see in all the exhibits around the Aquarium! We also clean the exhibits and maintain excellent water quality. We do this inside each exhibit by wiping down the glass on the inside, scrubbing algae off the décor, and hydro-vacuuming the sand and gravel. Outside of the exhibits, we clean the filter equipment and conduct water changes. These are all the same things you do for your aquariums at home, just on a much larger scale!
And of course, we pay attention to the animals! We’re always watching to see if there’s any new pregnancies or spawning occurring. The aquarists here are always very excited by opportunities to raise a new generation of fish and invertebrates. We also keep a close eye for any sicknesses or parasites that might slip in.
Behind the scenes there are several enclosures called Quarantine Facilities. These are used to house animals while we medicate them or help them recover from sickness or injury. We also use these enclosures to quarantine new arrivals before placing them inside the display exhibits. This is done to avoid any outside parasites or diseases sneaking in to our healthy setups! (Just as a side note, you can check out some of the quarantine areas and our filter/equipment setup when you take our Behind The Scenes tour – take it, it’s fun!)
So, while I joke about being merely a glorified janitor, there’s clearly a lot more to being an aquarist than simply cleaning up after the fish. We are responsible for maintaining the health of the animals in our exhibits and to make sure that their environment is both healthy and clean as well. It’s a serious responsibility, but a fun one!
As a child I always wanted to be a zookeeper, but my collegiate decisions and resulting career took me on a different path. Getting the opportunity to volunteer at least once a week as an aquarist has helped me obtain my personal goals, while keeping my career intact! If you have ever considered volunteering at an aquarium, zoo, nature preserve, or animal shelter – I urge you to do it, it’s extremely fulfilling! You can find out more about volunteering at the Aquarium of the Pacific here.
So that’s a little about me, I look forward to sharing my experiences with you in the future. As a volunteer aquarist, my area of responsibility is in the Southern California/Baja Gallery of the Aquarium of the Pacific. I love this area, because these are all the fish and invertebrates you can find right here in Southern California!
In future blogs, I will be discussing many of these animals and what you can look forward to finding in your travels along our shores. Thanks for reading, fish-fans, talk to you again soon!
Have Something to Say? Leave a Comment!
All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.