18 Sep 2009

Fishy Fridays ep.2

Welcome back to Fishy Fridays and our ongoing visit to the Liège Aquarium!

Today we're going to start with Aquarium Tank #1:

This is one of the starting points in an Aquarium visit (we have 4 different points we can start the tour at, depending on the number of groups we're taking around simultaneously), so I'd usually start by giving you the general intro I did last week (see here). I'd also mention the fact that our fish are divided into four sections depending on the waters, and we're starting in the first section:
  1. Temperate (cold waters) marine fish
  2. Tropical (warm) marine fish
  3. Tropical freshwater fish
  4. Temperate freshwater fish (local species)
Today I'm just going to talk about the star of the tank: Sparus aurata, the gilthead sea-bream or Daurade as we call him around here (dorada en español)! Clicking on his name will send you to his Fishbase page.

This guy is native to the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic, as you can see on this distribution map from www.aquamaps.org:

Now although these have been hanging around in this tank for longer than I have (so that's over 10 years) and have grown to an impressive size (as you can attest from the "ooohs" people say when coming in), they could still tack on a few more centimetres since in the wild they can reach up to 70cm (and 17kg!)! Fishbase tells us they're

Found in seagrass beds and sandy bottoms as well as in the surf zone commonly to depths of about 30 m, but adults may occur to 150 m depth. A sedentary fish, either solitary or in small aggregations. Mainly carnivorous, accessorily herbivorous. Feed on shellfish, including mussels and oysters. One of the most important fishes in saline and hypersaline aquaculture. Utilized fresh and eaten steamed, pan-fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved and baked.
Can I add that broiled in the oven with white wine and lemon = YUMMM!!! ;o)

A little history note: mankind has been exploiting the Seabream for millennia! It's one of the oldest relationships between man and fish on record... the Romans already had primitive aquaculture / fish farming techniques they developed for these guys: they built feeding tanks near coastal cities, kind of like these (from an archaeological site near Alicante):

They'd deposit live, freshly caught seabreams in them and then feed them, fattening them up so they'd always have fresh fish on hand... A tradition that has continued to the present as this fish is one of the most common found in fishfarms across coastal Europe!

Hmmm, anyone hungry? These guys are, it's meal time! Check out this squid that's just floating around waiting to be eaten:


Sorry, no video available for this tank... I probably skipped over it with the kids when my friend was recording (I sometimes skip it when I start at a different point in the Aquarium and I'm running tight on time).

Remember, if you want to participate in Fishy Fridays just write something "Fishy" and leave me the link in the comments! I link up to it here:


  1. LOL! I love how you introduce the fish and then show us his delicious edible form.

  2. That guy had an interesting face.

  3. I was hoping to provide a "wild" sample as well... but they're so common when I go diving I guess I never thought to take a picture of them! :p

  4. Lily, if you think that guy has an interesting face... wait 'till we get up close and personal with a shark! ;o)

  5. Hi Cris! Fishy Friday is a great idea! Funny, I almost ate fish and chips yesterday...I guess that may have fallen into this theme? LOL...great post!

  6. hey Rain! yeah, it could have qualified... it is fishy after all! :p

    I wonder when this Anglo love affair with fish and chips started (I'm not a fan of cod so...), might be interested looking into... ;o)


Hey there! Yes you! The quiet one in the back... I'd love it if you hung out for a bit and shared your thoughts!

I might stop by your place with an answer, but I'm more likely to reply right here so click on "email follow up comments" if you'd like to see what I and others have to say and come continue the conversation! ;o)