Well this is probably going to be a shortish post mainly because while I have more photos of fish from the New England Aquarium that I will be sharing–the identification of the fish is taking quite a while (it’s hard when you type in a color and hope to see your fish within the first twenty or thirty photos).
Anyway today’s photo winner(s) are the garden eels.
Garden eels are members of the subfamily Heterocongrinae within the conger eel family Congridae. These eels are found in the warmer oceans (mostly in the Indo-Pacific area, but also in the Caribbean & eastern Pacific).
They are small eels that live burrowed in on the sea floor. Since they live in groups, when they all poke their heads out—they look like plants in a garden—hence the common name: Garden eels. Their coloring varies between species, and the average length is about two feet (twenty four inches). There are also about thirty five different species in two different genera.
Unfortunately it is difficult to tell from the picture what color the garden eels were—but I’m pretty sure that they are the yellow garden eel (Heteroconger luteolus). But when they’re all out and bobbing at the same time—they do look like a garden of eels.
One goal is going to try to figure out what the different fish are in most of the photographs. This is for several reasons: 1–so that I can share them as more than just a pretty picture of a fish, and 2–so that I can also learn something new and share that as well.
So today marks the sixth year of recognition for World
Wildlife Day (as it was established on December 20 2013 by United Nations)1.
The theme for 2019 is “under the water”. This makes sense,
when you think of the fact that approximately seventy-five percent of the earth
is covered in oceans, and I’m sure all the fresh water makes up another five to
ten percent in covering the earth as well. But the main focus is on the
seventy-five percent—or the oceans.
While currently there are approximately 200,000 identified
marine species, the actual number probably is at least two or three (if not
more) times that—especially since some of the deepest trenches in the ocean
haven’t been explored, and also some species can’t survive being brought up
(they actually thrive under the extreme pressures found at the bottom of the
oceans) to the surface.
In terms of the oceans and gulfs, I’ve been to the Atlantic
Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. I’ve
got pictures of some of the unique wildlife one can see from most of them (I’m
just lacking pictures from my trip to the Caribbean—that was before I got a
digital camera, so none of them are digital and I know I didn’t get any of
aquatic life while we were there).
So what types of animals did I get pictures of?
When I was out in Boston, I did one or two of the whale watching tours. I enjoyed doing this, though they were crowded (and at times I did get sea sick). So I managed to see whales coming up to the surface to breath. I’d still like to go on a whale watching tour up in Alaska to see the killer whales.
Also during one of my many walks along the freedom trail, I decided to sit and basically stare into the water for a while—and after awhile I noticed that there were numerous little jellyfish swimming around.
When we took a mini vacation down to Padre Island, I managed
to get some pictures of probably hermit crabs in different shells, and what I
think was a nautilus. This was the first time using a digital camera that could
actually be submerged in the water.
Then from my solo vacation to Hawaii years ago, I managed to get several pictures of a sea turtle (probably the green sea turtle), crabs, and different fish.
One of the things that I would love to do, is find a good snorkel mask that I can wear over my glasses (since I don’t wear contact lens, and I think it’s silly just to get contact lens for that possibly one time I’m trying to snorkel), and make it back to Hawaii, the Caribbean, or even Australia and see what type of pictures I could possible get of the marine life.
But things aren’t all sunshine and flowers for the oceans
The oceans face numerous threats today from over-fishing, hunting (there are still some countries that hunt sharks and whales), climate change (warming of the oceans; coral reefs bleaching, melting ice bergs), runoff of agricultural wastes into the rivers which feed into the oceans, and then plastic garbage finding its way into the ocean. There is a patch of plastic garbage between California and Hawaii named The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, covering roughly 1.6 million square kilometers2, and while one would think that we could just head out and clean up the area—we’re (and I’m referring to all humans) are allowing between 1 and 2.5 million metric tons of plastic to enter the ocean each year. These are things that make it into the rivers and watersheds and find their way to the oceans. This is why there has been such a push to get rid of straws and single serving plastic utensils, and a better drive at plastic recycling.
I know that where I live there are only certain plastics
that are taken in recycling—and they’re the ones that company can make the most
profit off of with their contacts. That leaves about half the plastics not
being taken and winding up in the trash. If we’re lucky—it makes to the trash
dump and hopefully gets buried. If not, wild animals might rip open the bags,
and then some of the plastics could find their way to different water areas and
become a problem.
So what I’m going to start doing to help the oceans, is
declining straws at restaurants, saying no thank you to the one serving plastic
utensils, and figuring out a better way to dispose of the silica gels packs
that come with various things instead of allowing them to be tossed in the
garbage (and possibly winding up in the oceans). What will you do to help the
oceans and it’s inhabitants?
So with the fact that a minor winter storm blew in this afternoon, and I really didn’t feel like going outside–the winners for today’s photography challenge are the three fish in the large aquarium.
So we originally bought this 55 gallon aquarium when the koi fish was getting to big for the smaller aquarium in the family room and we didn’t want to donate it to the local botanical garden for their koi pond. Needless to say that fish passed a couple of years ago (we’ve gone through a couple of shubunkins since then). The algae eater adapted to the aquarium quite nicely (though we learned that they don’t like to be caught with the fish nets when they’re adults).
The larger algae eater in the back was the one I had in the aquarium in my room. But alas, the pump went out on the aquarium (and they no longer make the pump), so I moved it over to the aquarium in the other bedroom.
The cats enjoy going in there every so often to watch “fish tv” for a couple of hours–especially when the algae eaters are cleaning the front of the aquarium.
I’ve realized that once Pancakes and I move, I will have to set up an aquarium for her so that she has her fish tv to watch, since I’m not sure there will be many birds around for her to watch.
So the winner for the photography challenge today are the algae eaters–Jaws and Cletus (I’ll let people guess which one is which). We actually have three algae eaters–Jr is in the aquarium in the family room.
Jaws and Cletus became “housemates” when the aquarium pump in one aquarium quit working (and they no longer made that type of pump). So I had to move Jaws in with Cletus and the shubunkin (not pictured). Ever try to catch a basically foot long algae eater that didn’t want to be caught? I had to use a juice pitcher (after removing basically 98% of the water), and he still almost won the battle.
It will be interesting to see how big they get and how long they will live–they’re both about 5-8 years old (and way to big to flush down the toilet if they go belly up). Once they pass–there will be a fish planting in the backyard or on the side of the house.
Decided that today’s entry for national pet week would be one of the fish, and Jaws won the draw. While fish can’t do a lot of things for people that cats and dogs (and probably to some extent other types of pets [birds, reptiles, rabbits, and others]), they are still usually a part of most families, at least as children are growing up. I’m pretty sure that a lot of us had the little goldfish in the bowl on the counter as a child.
I like having fish (because besides the ease of care), they also provide entertainment for the cats–I know that Pancakes enjoys spending time watching the fish eat, and she also likes trying to say hello to them as well. Also depending on your work schedule, where you live, if you’re allergic to animals–fish can also be a great way to have a pet (but without the pet dander, and with minimal fuss [unless you’re setting up a salt water aquarium or something fancy]). Also, did you know algae eaters can live 10-15 years (that’s basically the same age limit that cats and dogs have as well), so again–at least for algae eaters, they are an investment of both time and money (best for aquariums when you know you aren’t going to be moving every six months (unless you can figure out a way to move the algae eater with you)).
So today’s photography challenge is brought to you by Jaws the algae eater. We actually have three different algae eaters (one in each aquarium), and Jaws is the one I take the most pictures of, mainly because it is in the aquarium in my room, and I think its also probably the largest of the three algae eaters (I got a rough measurement of about 11 and half inches a couple of weeks ago)–though I haven’t tried to measure the other two–mainly because I never have a tape measure on me, when they’re cleaning the front of an aquarium where I could try to measure their length.
Jaws was having a snack this evening as I was doing my workout (or trying to show off that it could do an head stand, while I can’t do a hand stand). Its been an active fish lately in trying to clean up the gravel in the front to where this is like the third time that I’ve seen it “standing” on its head while eating.
I’ve thought of getting some other fresh water fish for the aquarium, but they don’t seem to live as long as algae eaters do. Who knows, the next aquarium might have a few little gold fish along with an small algae eater, so that Pancakes will have her fish tv to keep her company when I’m at work.
Well I might be having to invest into that new camera soon rather than later (unless I can figure out where I put the charge cord that plugs into the computer). I thought I’d set aside the correct cord (I have two that are of similar lengths but for two different things), but I didn’t pick the correct one–so I either need to remember where I put them (its always that safe spot that you can never remember when you need to); or I need to figure out if I can afford a nicer camera and buy it (though I’m waiting to hear if the cord I saw on amazon will fit my particular camera [it wasn’t listed in the large group]).
So, the double picture for yesterday and today is of Jaws, my algae eater. Right now he is the only fish in the aquarium because I haven’t spotted any fish at any stores that I like to buy to give him some company.
Right now Jaws is somewhere between 10 and 13 inches long. How do I know this–I wait until he is cleaning the front of the aquarium and I measure with a tape measure (not the best way–but it does give a somewhat accurate measurement).
Pancakes loves watching all three algae eaters (we have one in each aquarium, where the other two aquariums also have either a goldfish or a koi in it as well), and she taps the aquarium every so often to say “hello”. She also has a liking for the fish food, so if any is dropped, she cleans it up (if algae pellets are dropped, its usually Chewi cleaning those up).
I’m trying to figure out how large of a “fish TV” I’m going to have to get her when we move (either this fall or next spring). I know that there will be an algae eater in it, and then possibly one or two goldfish. I’ve given up on trying to keep a salt water aquarium going (too much water changing, and the fish are extremely expensive).