Learning about the different habitats and all the crazy-cool creatures that live here, is a lot of fun. But there’s nothing more exciting than being here when it’s feeding time!
Phil, what do we have on the menu?
I don’t know. Let’s look at the menu. This is the menu for the week. We’re going to feed shrimp. We have bigger fish. We have lots of little fish, and we need to cater to both of them. We need 11 grams, so the first thing is to go ahead and put 11 grams in there, and then we’re going to chop it up into little pieces. Let’s see.
All right, Peter, this looks pretty appetizing to me. Are you ready to go feed some fish?
Oh, yeah! Let’s go!
The mullet and other small fish in the sea grass waste no time boggling up the lunch that Bill and I prepared for them.
Other little fish, like this one, wait for tiny shrimp to drift down to them near the bottom of the tank. This is not a good place to drop your food! There’s always another fish ready to boggle it up.
The fish seem to know when it’s feeding time.
This cornetfish swims to the top of the tank, ready and waiting to eat.
With all the hungry fish swimming around near the surface, Bill has to use a mechanical arm to make sure that the bottom feeders, like the sea robin, can actually get their food.
Mussels are on the menu for this Giant Hermit Crab. With his powerful arms, he can do what the fish cannot: Rip open the shells to get at the dinner inside. The fish have to wait for the crab to do the job before they can grab a bite!
You can really see nature in action here. You can see predation in our exhibits sometimes planned, and sometimes not planned.
Feeding time is fun to watch in every area here, but the best place to see predators in action is in the mangrove tank. These are the mosquito fish we caught earlier. And here at the aquarium, they are on the menu!
Juvenile Lady Fish, like the big one that I caught in the lagoon, trawl along the bottom, and then circle in for the kill.
What’s it like to be at the bottom of the food chain, where the odds of survival are 1 in 20,000? Immerse yourself in a world of mud dwellers, bottom foragers, algae-eaters and expert predators all fighting for survival in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. Host Peter Schriemer takes you on a journey through this 156-mile inland waterway where Smithsonian biologists are working to unlock the secrets of a hidden world. What they learn will help us better understand how to protect and preserve this aquatic wonder.