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Best freshwater aquariums

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by temp, 24 Aug 2014.

  1. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    Whenever there are discussions on this forum about aquariums, most of the top contenders are only marine (seawater) or with very limited freshwater exhibits. This is perhaps understandable because sharks and coral reefs are big draws for aquariuams, but a bit unfortunate since almost half the worlds fish are from freshwater.

    What are the best and most complete freshwater aquariums? It is irrelevant if they have marine exhibits or not and the same is the case for land-only exhibits that could belong in a normal zoo. To limit it, I have found four requirements to be on the list. I realize that there are many aquariums that only fail in 1-2 of the requirements and that is the very idea of having them:

    * General good exhibits.
    * Good collections of both large (at least 60 cm or 2 ft) and small (smaller than 30 cm or 1 ft) fish.
    * At least one aquatic vertebrate that isn't a fish (e.g. turtle, crocodile, newt, river otter).
    * Good collection of species from all five main freshwater ecoregions of the world: 1. North Hemisphere Temperate (North America+Europe+North Asia); 2. Neotropics (Central America+South America); 3. Africa; 4. Southern Asia; 5. Oceania (Australia+New Guinea).

    Examples could be: 1. Mississippi or European Lake (e.g. sturgeon, trout, shiner, pond slider); 2. Amazon Basin (e.g. Neon tetra, arapaima, piranha, caiman lizard); 3. Lake Malawi or Congo River (e.g. Malawi/Tanganyika cichlid, bichir, elephantfish, dwarf crocodile); 4. Mekong River or Western Ghats (e.g. gourami, loach, snakehead, small-clawed otter); 5. Murray River or New Guinea Rivers (e.g. rainbowfish, Australian lungfish, pig-nosed turtle).

    Three aquariums that comply with the requirements are:

    Berlin Zoo Aquarium
    Chicago Shedd Aquarium
    Tennessee Aquarium

    What other aquariums belong on the list?
     
  2. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I think Singapore River Safari would meet most of your requirements, although its not really an aquarium as such.
     
  3. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. River Safari has a world class collection of big fish from around the world but little in smaller fish, i.e. it doesn't really comply with the second requirement. Perhaps the rules are too strict? I can think of perhaps a dozen aquariums that comply with all but 1-2of the rules I proposed, but perhaps the three aquariums I posted in first post are the only the truly comply with all?
     
  4. Zoovolunteer

    Zoovolunteer Well-Known Member

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    Although it is not as big as some, Bristol Zoo has quite a good aquarium. Freshwater species on show include American Paddlefish in the new tunnel exhibit, a West African tank with Freshwater Butterflyfish, two tanks for fish from Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi, Madagascar cichlids (which have spawned on show), Fly River turtles and a good Archerfish display with a cricket-dispensing feeder which provides them with live food.
     
  5. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    The fluvial aquarium in Zaragoza, Spain, seems to fit your list.
     
  6. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the additions. Bristol Zoo's aquarium is quite nice with good exhibits but some way from completing the suggested requirements in the first post. Worldwide, I suspect there are perhaps 50+ freshwater aquariums with a coverage that is comparable to this zoos. The second European zoo aquarium that may be closest to all the requirements is Leipzig if you combine the aquarium building and Gondwanaland. The only place where they fall a bit short is North Hemisphere Temperate.

    Aquarium of Zaragoza is nice but just like Singapore's River Safari their coverage of smaller fish is somewhat limited. With the exception of the locals mostly species you could find by visiting a few good aquarium stores. Regardless, especially their big aquarium is impressive and was supposedly the world's largest freshwater tank until Singapore River Safari opened their Amazon Manatee tank. 47 m long and the deepest section is more than 8 m. Dimensions more typical of ocean tanks! It's also among the big public aquarium tanks where you'll be most confused if you try to find the volume:

    Tanque central - Río Mundo 1,5 million liter if you believe the headline. 2 million of you believe the text.
    Inmersión en el Acuario Fluvial de Zaragoza | ZCO-Zaragoza Club Odisea, 1999 1,8 million liter. I suspect this is the most accurate figure as this was the number provided by a keeper on my visit a few years ago.

    Are there other really good freshwater aquariums that deserve a mention? Doesn't matter if they fall short on one or two of the requirements in my first post.