4 Dec 2009

Fishy Fridays ep. 8

On our last Fishy Friday episode we had finished off with the temperate (or cold) sea water section (with the moray eels, the grouper and the scorpionfish). I'm sure those of you who, like me, are entering into the depths of winter now would enjoy a little bit of warmth... so it's time to start up with the TROPICAL SPECIES! Still marine species, mostly from the Red Sea or the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Be prepared for bright colours and snazzy defense systems!

We're going to start off small: small aquarium and small critters!

Sadly they're also critters who WON'T STOP MOVING!!! So the pictures might be a tad bit fuzzy... :p (I need a good tripod, but they're too damn expensive!)

As per usual clicking on a name will take you to its FishBase page for more scientific info,a dn clicking on a photo makes it bigger! And now, on with the show!

Funky, huh?! Wait 'till you see them close up! ;o)

Let's start off with those razor-thin guys who appear to just be floating around nose-downwards:

Aeoliscus strigatus - better known as the Razorfish or Shrimpfish (Poisson-rasoir ou Canif en Français)
Gotta love those snouts! Perfect for slurping up small crutaceans and planctonic larvae in the coral reefs and zoostera prairies (a seagrass) in the Red Sea and the Indo-Pacific oceans. The whole body is covered in transparent bony plaques (like seahorses) and they can grow up to 15cm. Definitely congenial guys, they're usually together in small synchronised swimming groups, with their heads pointed downwards unless it's time to make a swim for it or there's something interesting to nibble on the roof of a cavity. A frequent hiding place from potential predators is amongst the needles of the Long-Spined Sea Urchin Diadema savignyi:

Careful! You definitely don't want to prick yourself on one of those needles! They break easily and contain an irritating toxin... :p

Those guys are all newbies to our Aquarium, but their neighbour has been around for much longer (or cousins of his) and is real popular with the visitors. And with a funky name and a head like this:

who can blame them? ;o)

The name? Lactoria cornuta a.k.a. the Long-horned Cowfish! (as if we needed someone to point out those horns to us, lol!) (Poisson Vache Cornu in French)

Also hangs out in the Red Sea and Indo-Pacific oceans. Munches on plants, small invertebrates and the eggs of molluscs or fish. We feed him (and his tank-mates) live Artemia salina. It's a lot of fun to see them "dashing" around trying to suck the tiny critters up!

He looks pretty small now, but can grow up to 50cm. The bony plates covering the body give it that boxy look. They have a tendency to lead a rather solitary life, which is probably a good idea 'cause when this guy gets stressed out he releases a "cloud" of toxins that could kill anyone who gets too close! It actually happened here once with his predecessor... Poor guy got stuck in the algae and some of the other fish started bugging him (or so I'm told). He freaked out, got all toxic... and everyone else in the aquarium died!!! He didn't make it unscathed either. I'm guessing in the wild if he releases his stuff he'd be making a quick getaway, right? I don't imagine being stuck in the midst of a toxic cloud would be such a good thing for one's health, huh? :p

So for years this poor guy was all alone... here's to hoping the razorfish don't go looking for trouble! ;o)

Hey! Guess what? I've got video again!!! :o)

I really like seeing this guy swim around, so doofy! Not really going to get very far, is he? Just ignore my voice (I wanted to try and edit this, but no time!)... unless you want to hear about the porcupine fish you won't be seeing anytime soon. He was in the next aquarium, but we haven't gotten hold of his replacement yet...

PS: hey! where'd the Blogger video uploader go?! I had to do this through YouTube :o(

PPS: I've discovered a slight problem with my Fishy "Fridays" series... I'm having trouble getting it out on a Friday! :p Seriously, Thursday is my most hectic day of the week, I have 6 long hours of class with almost no lunch break, and then try and get some physical activity in the early evening. By the time I'm back in and done preparing Friday's classes... no way can I sit down to write these posts! And then Friday... well for some reason something always pulls me out and downtown on Fridays (today I'm heading out to Luxemburg for the weekend) and when I get back it's too late! ;o) Am going to have to get more organised and prepare these the weekend before. uh-huh...


  1. I love the long horned cowfish. He is sooo cute.

  2. Ohhh - I'm all too familiar with those sea urchins, but that one looks nasty!

  3. Awesome! I love visiting aquariums and seeing all the amazingly odd creatures.

    And where did the video upload go? Mine's been gone a while!

  4. I loved the video of the cowfish swimming around. Such amazing creatures we have living in our oceans.

    I'm in the mood for some Speculoos (a cookie) from Belgium, someone posted the recipe today and they look soooo good! She said there is even an ice cream there with Speculoos in it, sounds yummy Cris, if you see some around you better try it and let me know how it was!

  5. Glad you guys enjoyed!

    For the next edition I'm hesitating between following the regular order or skipping an Aquarium (which I would later come back to) and going straight to the seahorses... Just because there are so many different species to talk about in the "big" tank I'm worried I might not have time to put it together since that's the same week I'm packing up and heading back to Spain...

  6. @Rhonda: Speculoos are YUMMMMMMY!!! Particularly with a nice cup of Earl Grey tea! ;o)
    Definitely one of Belgium's specialties, I already have a box set aside to take home in two weeks!

    There are two "versions" you mights say, the "homemade" ones you can buy in bakeries which are thick and rather moist, or the Lotus-store brand which are thin and crackable, kind of like graham crackers? (if I remember those aright!) In fact when I first tasted them they reminded me a lot of graham crackers!
    Anyhow Lotus always gets out a "special edition" for St Nicolas (tomorrow), instead of regular oval-shaped cookies, all the cookies are shaped as St Nick! I have friends in Alicante who love this version so I stocked up (since I'm driving back... no weight-restriction worries!)

    I haven't tried the spread yet, but I'm staying at a friend's in Luxembourg at the moment and she says she's got some so we'll be having it with breakfast. I'll report back after! ;o)

  7. Hi Cris, I thought I would post Nicky's blog post with the recipe in case any of your readers are interested in making Speculoos. She lives in Belgium. She tried to get to your blog from an email I sent and it wouldn't work. Don't know what I did wrong.

    Homemade Speculoos

  8. Oh Thanks Rain!!! I'll have to try and make some when I get home! miam! those thick ones are much better than the thin store-bought ones! :o)

    Oh, and Rhonda? The Speculos spread is devilishly yummy! :p


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