Hatchery

In the constantly changing exhibits of the hatchery, a variety of fish are raised from egg to fingerling. After growing to a considerable size, they will be transferred to other exhibits within the Flint RiverQuarium.

 

Greater Siren

The Greater Siren is the largest of the sirens, often exceeding 3 feet. Their bodies are long like an eel. They have external gills as well as lungs, so they can breathe underwater or at the surface. The color of the Greater Sirens is olive green to black with a light belly. Young sirens have a light stripe on their sides, which is lost over time. They lack hind limbs and have relatively weak fore limbs that are not used in swimming or crawling. Their tail is laterally flattened and appears to have a fin around the edge. The Greater Siren ranges from Virginia south along the Atlantic Coast through Florida and into the gulf coast of Alabama. They spend most of their time buried in mud or sand. Captive sirens have lived to be 25 years of age.

 
   

Bluegill Sunfish

The Bluegill is one of the species of fish that is most commonly called "bream." They can grow up to 16 inches in length. They prefer clear, warm lake habitats with rooted vegetation. Their diet consists of small invertebrates and fish. They are native to a wide range of North America, from Quebec to northern Mexico.

 
   

Two Toed Amphiuma

This eel like animal is actually an amphibian not a fish! The amphiuma has lungs and can breathe air. They are commonly misnamed "Ditch eels" or "Congo eels". If you look closely you may see that they have 4 tiny legs each with 2 toes.  The Two Toed amphiuma inhabits acidic swamp water areas of the south eastern coastal plain.  These animals are nocturnal and like to spend their day hidden under rocks, in thick vegetation, or burrowing in the mud.  Amphiuma lay eggs in shallow damp depressions hollowed out under debris. The female curls herself around the eggs which may number up to 200. Incubation is about 5 months.

 
   

Channel Catfish

The Channel catfish typically grows to 5 to 10 pounds but can reach a weight of 58 pounds. These fish are native to North America where they live in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. They feed on small crustaceans, fish, clams and snails. They also will feed on aquatic insects and small mammals.  The Channel catfish is North America's most populous catfish species and is highly fished for its meat. It is most active in the evening. These fish have a very strong sense of smell and taste. They have odor-sensing organs on their nostrils, taste buds located all over their bodies and four pairs of barbels that allow for stronger taste buds.

 
   

Percula Clownfish

Percula clownfish often lives in association with sea anemones. Percula clownfish can grow to be 11 centimeters in length. They can be recognized by three white lines across their bright orange bodies, with no distinction in color between sexes. This species can be mistaken for the similar species of clownfish, A. ocellaris.  All clown fish are born males. But when a female dies, the most dominant clown fish changes itself into a female. Percula clown fish dances when it comes into contact with the anemones for the first time.

 
   

Colonial Polyps

These polyps have the ability to sting other polyps or corals. While the sting is not strong, they are semi-aggressive and need to have space between their colony and any neighbors since they tend to crowd them out. They are easy to maintain, making them a good choice for beginner reef aquarists. They require a moderate light level combined with a medium water movement within the aquarium. They will adapt and become more brightly colored under intense lighting. For continued good health, they will also require the addition of iodine and other trace elements to the water. They will reproduce easily in the reef aquarium by budding (splitting off a portion of their base or mouth), which will increase the size of their colony. They contain the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae providing almost all of their nutritional requirements.

 
   

Ocellaris Clownfish

Ocellaris clownfish grows to be about eight centimeters. They are common aquarium fish. They are noticed by their orange bodies and three white bars. They live in anemone as a host for protection. The Ocellaris clownfish is an omnivore and will accept most foods including marine flake food.  A popular movie has greatly increased the Amphiprion ocellaris popularity within the last four years; making this particular species the most commonly exported marine species today. Amphiprion ocellaris living in hatcheries often developed retinal degeneration and other eye problems due to a Vitamin A deficiency in their diet. Ocellaris Clownfish secretes a type of mucus, or slime, from their skin.

 
   

Banded Coral Shrimp

This shrimp-like crustacean, reaching a length of a little more than 2 inches, is the fish groomer of the deep. Found in the western Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and in Australia, it is known as a cleaner shrimp and advertises its services to passing fish by slowly waving its long white antennae. It uses its three pairs of claws to remove parasites, fungi and damaged tissue from the fish.

 
   

Whitespotted Bamboo Shark

They can grow up to 93 centimeters. They are relatively harmless to humans. These sharks are found on coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean. These sharks feed at night, preying on small fish and invertebrates. They are small size and bottom-dwelling lifestyle. They are one of the more common species of sharks to be kept in home aquariums.

 
   

Coral Catshark

The Coral Catshark is recognizable by its slender body, short head and tail, two dorsal fins angled backwards and numerous black and white spots on its back, sides and fins. The spots sometimes merge to form horizontal bars. The Coral Catshark is sometimes known as the marbled catshark.  The Coral Catshark can be found on coral reefs in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean from Pakistan to New Guinea.

 
   

Cinnamon Clownfish

The Cinnamon Clownfish can be found in Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, southeastern Polynesia and the Great Barrier Reef.  The Cinnamon Clownfish is identifiable by its dark red to orange coloring with a dark brown "saddle" on its back. Adults and juveniles have a white band around its head; this band turns from white to blue as the clownfish ages.  The Cinnamon Clownfish is territorial and aggressive. It lives among sea anemones. Although it is an omnivore, the Cinnamon Clownfish eats mostly zooplankton. It is adaptable to home aquariums where it can thrive on brine shrimp, flakes and algae.

 
   

Striped Bass

The Striped Bass has a streamlined, silvery body marked with longitudinal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail. They have a maximum size of 6.6 feet and a maximum recorded weight of 125 pounds. Common mature size is 3.9 feet. The Striped Bass is believed to live for up to 30 years. Striped Bass are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water.  The Striped Bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. It is the state saltwater fish of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Hampshire.

 
   

Eastern Mud Turtle

This is an abundant and common turtle of the eastern half of the United States. This is a semi-aquatic freshwater turtle that prefers shallow soft-bottomed, heavily vegetated areas of ponds, rivers, lakes, bogs, roadside ditches, streams and salt marshes. Mud Turtles can grow up to 5 inches in length. They eat anything they can catch such as fish, worms, insects, grubs, crustaceans, tadpoles, berries, other aquatic plants and carrion.  The main cause of death for these animals is car strikes and habitat destruction. This turtle has a strong enough beak to crush small mollusks and shells of snails and crabs.

 
   

Eastern River Cooter

The River Cooter is a freshwater turtle native to the central and eastern United States. They are normally found in rivers with moderate currents, as well as lakes and tidal marshes. River Cooters enjoy basking on logs or sun warmed rocks. The term Cooter is believed to have come from an African word 'kuta' which means turtle in the Bambara and Malinke language.  The River Cooter is omnivorous and will eat practically anything; plant or animal, whether it is dead or alive. Their diet seems to be determined by the available food items. The River Cooter cannot swallow out of water. It will leave the water to retrieve a bug or worm and then return to the water to swallow. They are also known to enthusiastically chase, kill and eat small fish.

 
   

Yellow Bellied Slider

Yellow Bellied Sliders are land and water turtles. It can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including slow-moving rivers, floodplain swamps, marshes, seasonal wetlands, and permanent ponds. The yellow bellied sliders are popular as pets. Males can reach up to 5-9 inches while the female can reach 8-13 inches. It feeds mainly in the morning and frequently basks on shore, on logs, or while floating, during the rest of the day. At night, it sleeps lying on the bottom or resting on the surface near brush piles, but in all cases it prefers to stay in the water. In the wild its life span is 30 years, but in captivity its life span can reach 40 years.

 
   

Barbours Map Turtle

The Barbour's map turtle is a very interesting species of turtle that is found in the Flint River area. They are called map turtles due to the map-like markings on their faces and legs.  Female Barbour's map turtles grow from 7 to 12 inches in length; male Barbour's map turtles are smaller, growing from 3 ½ to 5 inches in length. The males and juveniles have black spine-shaped projections on the tops of their backs, giving them a saw back appearance. These spines wear down with age, giving older females a smoother look.  The Barbour's map turtle is found in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. They occur in the Flint, Chattahoochee, and Apalachicola River system. They prefer streams and rivers with logs, deadfall, and numerous mollusks for them to eat.

 
   

Yellow Tang

They can grow to 20 centimeters. The male tends to be larger than the female. Yellow tang feed on algae and other marine plant material. Yellow tang provide cleaner services to marine turtles. They do this by removing algal growth from their shells. They are mostly found in shallow reefs up 2 – 46 meters deep.  They are commonly kept as a saltwater aquarium fish. During the night, its color fades. Its bright yellow color returns rapidly when the fish wakes up. Group-spawning as well as pair-spawning by territorial males has been observed with this species.

 
   

Maroon Clownfish

This is one of the species of clownfish the Flint RiverQuarium has on display. It is found in the Indo-Pacific oceans of the world. This species can grow up to 6.5 inches in length. They feed on plankton and algae.  These are very aggressive clownfish and don't typically tolerate other species and its own kind unless it is part of a mated pair. Clownfish find shelter in sea anemones. Sea anemones provide the shelter and protection from predators while the clownfish attracts prey to be eaten by the anemone. The clownfish do not get stung by the anemone either because it secretes a thicker than normal mucous slime so the anemone's tentacles cannot penetrate its body or the clownfish is immune to the sting of the tentacles. Scientists still don't know.

 
   

Black Ocellaris Clownfish

The Black ocellaris clownfish is a man-created variation of the ocellaris clownfish. The ocellaris is hardier and less aggressive than its cousin. Both species are found in coral reefs of the Indo-pacific and often live in association with sea anemones.  The clownfish was popularized by the child's movie Finding Nemo. Our Gift Shop has a tank dedicated to the fish found in the movie.

 
   

Copper Band Butterfly Fish

The Copper band Butterfly fish, also known as the Beak Coralfish, can be seen on coral reefs, rocky shorelines, in estuaries and inner reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.  Usually found in pairs, they are identifiable by their long, slender snouts, yellow banding, and dark eye-spot on its dorsal fin. An adult Copper band Butterfly fish can reach 8 inches in length.

 
   

Frogspawn Coral

Frogspawn is a large-polyped stony coral native to the Indo-Pacific islands. It has a corallite skeleton with a flabello-meandroid wall structure. Frogspawn coral is a popular species for large and small aquariums.

 
   

Nepthea Soft Coral

Another name for this is tree coral. It can grow to be 11 to 25 centimeters big. They feed on micro plankton; some species may have zooxanthellae. These corals are most commonly found on reefs with high water clarity and steep slopes that have strong surge. Nephthea Tree Corals produce a variety of toxins for chemical defense.

 
   

Sinualaria Soft Coral

Sinualaria corals are similar in shape to colt corals (Cladiella) and tree corals (Nepthea). Sinualaria corals can be identified by the fact that the growth originates from a single heavy stalk unlike Nepthea and the polyps are less feathery than in colt corals. The intensity of the coloration is affected by the amount of lighting the coral receives. The branches are covered with small polyps. Sinualaria can grow quite large.

 
   

Gorgonian

Gorgonian, also known as sea whips or sea fans, are soft corals commonly found in shallow waters in the tropics and subtropics. They are brightly colored with most being purple, yellow or red.  There are 500 species of Gorgonians that can be found in the world's oceans. However, most are located in the shallow waters of the Atlantic near Florida, Bermuda and the West Indies.  Some colonies of Gorgonian can be several feet high and wide, but only a few inches thick. The size and shape facilitate feeding since food is carried to them on the ocean current. Gorgonian polyps consist of eight tentacles that catch plankton and other particulate matter which is then consumed through a process called filter feeding.

 
   

Fire Coral

Fire Corals are colonial marine organisms. Although Fire Corals look like real coral, they are more closely related to jelly fish and other stinging anemones. Accidental contact with Fire Coral by divers will result in intense pain that can last for 2 days to 2 weeks.  Fire Corals can be found on reefs in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They are bright yellow-green and brown and appear in small brushy growth on rocks and coral. Fire Coral have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellaw algae. The alga provides food for the coral while the coral provides protection and access to sunlight.

 
   

Atlantic White Shrimp

The Atlantic white shrimp is a species of prawn found along the Atlantic coast of North America and in the Gulf of Mexico. Females grow larger than males and can reach a length of longer than 7 inches. The antennae can be three times as long as the body, however. Spawning occurs in warm shallow water just a few miles from the shoreline. Spring rains flush the shrimp out into the ocean. In the Eastern United States, shrimp then migrate south towards warmer waters.  Native Americans passed on the knowledge of prawn fishing to European settlers. Commercial fishing for Atlantic white shrimp began as early as 1709.

 
   

The Atlantic Long Armed Octopus

The Atlantic long armed octopus is a very interesting species of octopus that occurs mostly in grass beds in the tropical Atlantic Ocean from Bermuda to the Mediterranean sea and occurring as far east as Western Australia. It is also called the Atlantic white spotted octopus, Grass octopus, or Grass scuttle. The Long armed octopus is named for his proportionally long arms (compared to other octopods). The body of the long armed octopus can grow to 15 cm in length, while the arms can grow to 1 meter in length.  Like most octopus the Atlantic long armed octopus is an expert at camouflage and can change color and body texture at will. These animals eat small fishes, crustaceans, and other mollusks. This octopus is normally shy and retiring preferring to do its hunting at night time.

 
   

Rock Boring Urchin

The Rock Boring Urchin is found in very shallow parts of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It has an elliptical test, or shell. It can grow to a diameter of about three inches and grows larger at the extreme north and south ends of its range than it does in the center. It has moderately short spines with wide bases and sharp tips.  The Rock Boring Urchin is common through the Caribbean Sea and also occurs in Florida, Bermuda and the South American coast as far south as Brazil. They can be found on shallow rocky areas and on coral reefs. It sometimes occurs in large numbers and causes damage to coral reefs through its boring activities.

 
   

Variegated Urchin

Common names are green sea urchin or the variegated sea urchin. They can be found in the warm waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. They can grow to be 7cm. feeds among other things on turtle grass. The animal can hold loose leaves of the sea grass on top with its tube feet for camouflage.

 
   

Slate-Pencil Urchin

The Slate-Pencil Urchin is found in the Atlantic Ocean region. During the day, it uses its large primary spines to anchor itself under or on top of rocks or hide in crevices. They feed primarily on corals and sponges at night. Their reproductive cycle is usually sensitive to both seasonal cycles and around the full moon.