BUT I know you guys do want to know all of the cool things I have gotten to do over the last few weeks, and honestly, one of the biggest things I've been doing is cleaning. SO. MUCH. CLEANING.
Just like the health inspector is to restaurants, the AZA is constantly checking in and making sure the aquarium stays in line and is continuing their excellent practices. One of the things we recently were told to clean up a bit was our salt creep. Now, as one can figure, with a basic understanding of the water cycle and knowledge that the aquarium contains salt water, it isn't a secret that when the water evaporates, it leaves behind the salt. The biggest areas we have the most problem with salt creep, are on these bio tanks, (they’re essentially just part of each tank’s filtration system) which are up high above your head, and is usually only reached with a ladder or standing on a nearby deck of a tank. From me to you, trust me when I say that salt creep is a SUPER BIG PAIN IN THE BUTT.
|A giant chunk of salt creep that fell on my face.|
|High-tech transportation for our fish.|
Real quick, I also want to add this really cool bit of information I learned this past week. One of our biologist vets, Jolene, over the past year or so has been conducting research with our freshwater rays and birth-control. Now if you’re like me, you initially thought “heh, come again?” Yep, that’s exactly it. Jolene informed me that freshwater rays have absolutely NO preference and will breed with literally just about anything. You might be thinking “okay, kinda weird, but what’s the problem?” This is a problem because this can create hybrid species, which is a species that is a mix of two distinctly different species that aren’t typically bred together; a common example of this is a liger (tiger+lion) or a mule (horse+donkey). Hybrid species lack the ability to reproduce, and therefore are just kind of a nuisance and can cause problems on the “regular” species. So, Jolene was suggested to try out the effects of the birth-control on the rays, to see if that prevents the formation of hybrid species. We don’t have any official results yet, but either way, this research will be extremely helpful, but it will either inform us that: 1) yes, this BC does help, and can be used on our rays to prevent the forming of hybrids in our enclosures, or 2) no, this BC doesn’t seem to have any effect, but maybe this other particular BC will show changes. As a reliable facility that wants to help the growth, conservation, and breeding of rays, the best way to do this would be to assure “true” rays, and not hybrids that won’t be able to reproduce themselves and be successful in their environments. I can’t wait for Jolene to conclude her experimentation and share her results. I really enjoy getting to shadow underneath her from time to time, because she’s incredibly knowledgeable about all kinds of things, and I love listening to the different stuff she does, day-to-day, for the aquarium.
Now, who wants some calimari?