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Florida Native Zoo/Aquarium

Discussion in 'Fantasy Zoos' started by 1 and only Drew, 18 Apr 2016.

  1. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    If you could design a Florida native zoo and aquarium, what would be in it? I would someday like to own something like this, and I've found really nothing to base one off of. Essential exhibits would include:

    • Manatee lagoon, with fish as well (central exhibit)
    • Brown pelicans, roseate spoonbills, ibis, etc
    • Nurse sharks, stingrays, green moray, goliath grouper, tarpon, etc
    • Possibly sawfish
    • Native gamefish
    • Native crocodilians (american alligator and american crocodile)

    In addition, an invasive species area is something I've not seen before and would make an interesting display. An exotic freshwater gamefish section is in order as well. While out of place, an amazon area featuring reptiles, birds, and of course large amazon fish would be nice as well.

    So given these exhibits, what would you stock them with? And would you add any exhibits?
  2. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

    10 Feb 2009
    Arizona, USA
    The Florida Aquarium is native Florida only (I think - I visited two decades ago). Some Florida zoos, though not exclusively Florida, do have excellent Florida sections. Palm Beach Zoo, Lowry Park Zoo, upcoming Zoo Miami. Also Flamingo Gardens is all native Florida wildlife.
  3. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Interesting, I kind of like these sections. So for a zoo, how about a combination of:
    -Fl Aquarium
    -Palm Beach Zoo
    -Lowry Park Zoo
    -Jungle Island Miami
    For the native florida section, along with somewhere that has large native freshwater fish, and more everglades birds (pelicans, spoonbills, etc)

    Then the amazon section can likely be a spin-off of Dallas World. Plus an exotic bird section, and maybe a reptile section as well, focusing on larger lizards.
  4. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Here's the Rainforest Section species list:

    Large aquarium
    -Redtail catfish
    -Niger catfish
    -Tiger shovelnose catfish
    -Black pacu
    -Banded leporinus
    -Red shouldered severum
    -Silver arowana
    -Peacock bass (unsure of a species, possible the temensis because ocellaris is already in the FL section)
    -Motoro stingray
    -Leopoldi stingray

    Large cage
    -Jamaican fruit bats

    Small-medium wall tanks
    -Stick insects
    -Madagascar hissing cockroaches (oddball in the SA/CA theme)
    -Black ghost knifefish, festivum cichlid, freshwater angelfish
    -Colombian rainbow boa, green and black poison dart frogs
    -Emerald tree boa, amazon tree boa, and dyeing poison dart frogs
    -Tiger rat snake and bumblebee toads
    -Brazilian rainbow boa
    -Blue morpho butterfly cocoons

    Larger wall tanks
    -Penguin tetras, lemon tetras, red eye tetras, electric eel
    -San francisco piranha, black neon tetra, royal panaque, serpae tetra, regan's pink cichlid, gold marble bristlenose pleco, gold nugget pleco
    -Tiger stingray, payara, marbled headstander, jurupari cichlid, spot-faced pink cichlid, sailfin pleco, red-shouldered severum
    -Green anaconda and diving lizard
    -Stick insects (in very tall terrarium)

    Walk-through rainforest
    -Hyacinth macaws, double yellow-headed amazon parrots, blue fronted amazon parrots, pacific parrotlets, scarlet ibis
    -Two-toed sloth
    -Blue morpho butterfly
    -Red footed tortoise, plumed basilisk lizard, hilaire's side neck turtle
    -Tiger stingray, leopoldi stingray, royal panaque, jurupari cichlid

    Appropriately-sized cage
    -Goeldi's marmoset

    Large pool with glass viewing window
    -Yacare caimans
    -Red hook silver dollars, black bar silver dollars, eight-banded leporinus, banded leporinus

    Simulated tree trunk with small terrariums built in
    -Mexican rustleg tarantula
    -Chilean rose tarantula
    -Greenbottle blue tarantula
    -Brazilian red and white tarantula
    -Brazilian fire red tarantula
    -Giant cockroach
    -Haitian giant centipede
    -Whip spider
    -Peruvian black-headed centipede
  5. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

    10 Nov 2015
    Virginia, USA
    I like your fish list, but I must say, that is a pitifully small bird list. That wouldn't be a very entertaining walk-through.
  6. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Well, I will agree it is quite small. However - I will get to that once I do a little "FAQ/Planning" post on the aquarium/zoo. You'll see why it's so small.
  7. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    The next area of the aquarium is the manatee lagoon/Florida invasive species section. This is separate from the main aquarium building, and sort of gives it a zoo like feeling. The actual manatee lagoon is outdoors (with glass indoor viewing as wall as outdoor viewing), and the crocodile and alligator enclosures have access to outdoors. Exhibits are:

    The manatee lagoon
    -West Indian manatee
    -Spotted, longnose, and florida gar
    -Redear and bluegill sunfish
    -Largemouth bass
    -Grass carp
    -Channel catfish
    -Florida softshell turtle
    -Roseate spoonbill, wood stork, cattle egret, great egret, snowy egret, tri-colored heron, little blue heron, great blue heron, green heron, yellow-crowned night heron, black-crowned night heron, white ibis

    The alligator exhibit
    -American alligator
    -Alligator gar
    -Blue catfish
    -Redear sunfish
    -Golden shiner

    The large turtle tank
    -Mississippi map turtle
    -Western pond turtle
    -Florida cooter
    -Barbour's map turtle

    Single-species exhibits
    -American crocodile
    -Baltimore oriole
    -Land hermit crabs
    -Florida pine snake
    -Two-ted amphiuma
    -Gray rat snake
    -Greater siren
    -Green tree frog

    Other native multi-species exhibits
    -Loggerhead musk turtle and mosquitofish
    -Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, yellow rat snake, and corn snake

    Exotics/invasive species exhibits
    -Green basilisk lizard and knight anole
    -Brown anole and cuban tree frog
    -Blue tilapia, spotted tilapia, mayan cichlid, midas cichlid, oscar, jaguar cichlid, sailfin pleco, peacock bass, bullseye snakehead
    -Cane toad
    -Argentine black and white tegu
    -African rock python
    -Burmese python
    -Nile monitor
    -Green iguana
  8. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    I guess next I'll detail the sea turtle lagoon. I'll get into it later, but the aquarium's main goal is conservation. It is funded and built on conservation. Sea turtles and of course manatees are the main species, so here's the sea turtle lagoon.

    It will have top viewing and glass underwater viewing. There will be a beach of decent size, so this will be a pretty large exhibit. The underwater section will be modeled after a lagoon.

    Species List (one single exhibit)
    -Green sea turtle
    -Hawksbill sea turtle
    -Bermuda chub
    -Gray triggerfish
    -Creole wrasse
    -Royal gramma
    -Spanish hogfish
    -Bluehead wrasse
    -French angelfish
    -Blue chromis
    -Four eye butterflyfish
    -Glassy sleeper
    -Florida slipper lobster
    -Brown pelican
  9. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Alright, brace yourselves because this one will be long. This is the saltwater aquarium, featuring the large shark tank that will be perhaps the main way to attract visitors. I'm not yet sure if the tank will have viewing windows or an acrylic tunnel - that would depend on the funding of the aquarium. If possible, a tunnel is the way I would like to go. If a tunnel is not an option, scuba diving and/or snorkeling in the tank is definitely a viable option for better views of the tank.

    Large fish species in the shark tank
    -Sand tiger shark
    -Sandbar shark
    -Nurse shark
    -Blacktip reef shark (blacktip sharks don't do well in aquariums, this is a suitable replacement)
    -Gray reef shark
    -Galapagos shark
    -Scalloped hammerhead shark (this shark, gray reef shark, and galapagos are all wishlist species, the tank would need a decent expansion to accomodate those fish)
    -Green moray eel
    -Great barracuda
    -Southern stingray
    -Goliath grouper
    -Sawfish (going to be a hard one to get)
    -Jack crevalle

    Smaller/filler fish species in the shark tank
    -Round/silvery species (spadefish, permit, lookdown)
    -Grunts (cottonwick, french, porkfish, spanish, bonnetmouth, boga, striped, smallmouth, saucereye porgy)
    -Tangs (blue tang, doctorfish, ocean surgeon)
    -Snappers (yellowtail, schoolmaster, blackfin, glasseye)
    -Damsels (brown chromis, sergeant major)
    -Filefish (scrawled, orangespotted, whitespotted)
    -Small bottom fish (sand tilefish, harlequin bass, tobaccofish, indigo hamlet, barred hamlet, sky hamlet, butter hamlet)
    -Angelfish (french, blue, gray)
    -Scads (bigeye, mackerel)
    -Butterflyfish (reef, spotfin, longsnout)
    -Wrasses (yellow head, puddingwife, hogfish, bluehead, striped parrotfish, redband parrotfish)
    -Squirrelfishes (longspine squirrel, common squirrel, blackbar soldierfish)
    -Goatfish (spotted, yellow)
    -Others (balloonfish, sharksucker, creolefish, scrawled cowfish, sargassum triggerfish)

    Native gamefish aquarium
    -Bonnethead sharks
    -Southern stingrays
    -Gag grouper
    -Spot-tail pinfish

    Stingray growout tank
    -Southern stingrays (grown out as babies here for larger tanks)
    -Atlantic stingrays
    -Atlantic needlefish

    Stingray touch tank (sort of)
    -Spotted eagle rays
    -Cownose rays
    -Southern stingrays
    -Guitarfish (not sure of the species yet, possibly bowmouth or shovelnose)

    Shark touch tank (sort of)
    -Brownbanded bamboo shark
    -Whitespotted bamboo shark
    -Epaulette shark
    -Coral catshark
    -Zebra bullhead shark
    -Zebra shark (grown out in here, grows very slowly - will be moved to large ray tank)

    There are multiple other tanks in the aquarium, however I have not come up with a species list for them yet. Here's the list of tanks that will also be in the aquarium:
    -A large artificial reef
    -An anthias tank
    -A clownfish/anemone tank
    -A giant pacific octopus tank
    -Sea nettle and moon jellyfish tanks
    -A sea dragon and seahorse tank
    -A seahorse tank
    -A schooling fish tank (thinking bumper)
    -A porcupinefish tank
    -A flounder tank
    -A native shore fish tank
    -An indo-pacific reef featuring whitetip reef sharks
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2016
  10. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Alright, I seriously need sleep. Before I go, here's the final section - a large parrot/exotic bird section. Mainly to bring attraction to the aquarium/park, as well as to educate about the care of exotic birds as pets, and as a sanctuary.

    Rose breasted cockatoo (1)
    Greater sulphur crested cockatoo (1)
    Moluccan cockatoo (1)
    Greenwing macaw (1)
    Scarlet macaw (1)
    Military macaw (1)
    Hyacinth macaw (1)
    Blue and gold macaw (2)
    Harlequin macaw (1)
    Keel billed toucan (1)
    Toco toucan (2)
    White peacocks (?)
    Blue peacocks (?)
    Von der decken's hornbill (1)
    African grey hornbill (1)
    Trumpeter hornbill (1)
    South African penguins (8)

    Budgerigars (11)
    Cockatiels (5)
    Sun conure (1)
    Black-capped lorikeet (2)
    Peach-fronted conure (1)
    Pineapple conure (1)
    Green-cheek conures (4)
    Nanday conures (2)
    Gold cap conure (1)
    Double yellow headed amazon parrot (1)
    Rainbow lorikeet (1)
    Ring-necked parakeet (1)
    Yellow crowned amazon parrot (1)
    Red-lored amazon parrot (1)
    Congo african grey parrot (3)
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2016
  11. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

    10 Nov 2015
    Virginia, USA
    For your sea turtle lagoon, it wouldn't be unwise for you to net it and have it double as a shorebird sanctuary, beyond pelicans.
    I really like your shark tank idea.
    The stingray touch tank is where I see the biggest "issues". I wouldn't recommend spotted eagle rays in a touch tank- it takes a lot of training and acclimation. I've only seen it done in one place (Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters). They're also a pain to acquire. Your options generally are:
    Florida permitting to catch one (likely to be denied)
    Catching one elsewhere (expensive)
    Getting one captive bred (very stringent breeding- few and far between, even with a SSP).
    I also wouldn't recommend bowmouth guitarfish for a touch tank. They are also hard to acquire. Wild capture is expensive, and the permitting process isn't very fun. They've only been successfully captive bred once, but hopefully Newport Aquarium will work its magic some more. The rest of your ideas are pretty solid. :)
  12. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    I don't see why the sea turtle lagoon couldn't be a shorebird sanctuary as well, I like the idea of it. Pelicans would be the main focus though, one of my favorite birds.

    As for the spotted eagle ray, I'm not sold, I'm not turned off of it yet. Shark Supply is a company based out of South Carolina and there is Dynasty Marine in Florida who both supply them to public aquariums. Miami Seaquarium has one growing out in a touch tank.

    Perhaps do one spotted eagle ray, who could possible be grown out to live in something larger, maybe even the big shark tank. I'm set on having a spotted eagle ray somewhere, and if the big shark tank doesn't work the sea turtle lagoon could be expanded to include one. That would actually be a really cool display. To finish the touch tank, a pair of southern stingrays and group of cownose rays would be the more friendly species for visitors to touch.

    I'll update the species lists sometime today, hopefully and do a FAQ/Planning
  13. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    8 Sep 2007
    South Devon
    Don't overlook the little ones.


    A full grown Everglades pygmy sunfish is less than inch long, so it should be easy to fit it in somewhere :)

  14. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    How will this aquarium/zoo be funded?
    The main funding for this will be from donations. See, the aquarium is focused on conservation, mostly of manatees, sea turtles, and shorebirds. The removal of invasive species is also a big priority. This, I hope, will allow for most of the money needed to build this aquarium to be handed down through conservation organizations and large benefactors. The Georgia Aquarium, one of the largest in the world, was built almost entirely (I think 80%) off of funds from Home Depot alone. This aquarium will hopefully be built on less than $60,000,000.

    What is the layout of this aquarium?
    Well, the sea turtle/shore bird lagoon is outdoors. Underwater viewing is a large glass/acrylic panel or two or three that are outdoors, but covered by a sunshade so that algae doesn't get too thick on the window.
    The actual manatee lagoon istelf is outdoors. I'm not sure of whether or not it will have free-flight birds of injured birds, or wing-clipped birds - injured birds seems to be the way to go, along with some threatened/rare species like the roseate spoonbills and wood storks. The wall tanks are viewable from a large building, and there is glass/acrylic underwater viewing of the manatees from indoors.
    The tropical bird section is a series of rows of outdoor aviaries. These birds will mostly be adoptions/rescues.
    All of the aquarium exhibits will be in a large building. The shark tank will possibly have an acrylic tunnel, if not scuba diving is almost 100% definitely going to be an option, if you pay of course.
    The rainforest exhibit is in a large atrium-style exhibit, with the walk-through rainforest being somewhat large with glass-fronted ponds to view fish and turtles, and reptiles running throughout the exhibit. The species list will be expanded, don't worry.

    Any off-property shows, etc?
    Yes! To educate people about exotic pets, the invasive species kept in the manatee lagoon area (which are not wild-caught feral animals, they are captive-bred pets) will be brought off of the aquarium property. In addition, the tropical birds (most of which are parrots) will be brought off of the property.
    To bring in extra profits, birthday shows, events, etc can be booked with our animals off of the property. Events can also be booked on the property.

    Who works here?
    I'm hoping mostly volunteers.

    Anything I'd like to expand the aquarium with?
    As of now, I can't think of much. A section featuring large monitors would be interesting, and some exotic crocodilian species would be nice to include.
    I might include a list of birds of prey as well to add, need to come up with a list of them though.

    Hopefully it's in Sarasota, Florida. I plan to live here one day. The only problem is competition with Mote Marine Laboratory, however I don't want to see them as a competitor - I would like to see them more as a friend in the business, and Mote is aquarium-only whereas this aquarium features an Amazon section and a large tropical bird section.

    Feel free to ask any other questions.
  15. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Species to be added to the walkthrough rainforest:

    -A tamandua
    -Blue throated piping guan
    -Grey necked wood rail
    -Andean cock of the rock
    -White faced whistling duck
    -Ringed teal
    -Red capped cardinal
    -Blue and grey tanager
    -Scarlet macaw
    -Hawkhead parrot
    -Blue crowned mot mot

    Not inside of the tropical rainforest, but rather after you leave the walk through aviary, andean condor and king vulture can be seen.

    And to replace the goeldi's marmosets, I would rather do golden lion tamarins. Another exhibit that would be nice to introduce is a large walk-through african aviary. Here's the species:
    -White cheek turaco
    -Lady ross' turaco
    -Violet turaco
    -Red crested turaco
    -Guinea turaco
    -Vulturine guineafowl
    -Western grey plantain eater
    -Adimb's stork
    -Purple swamphen
    -Hadada ibis
    -Cape thick-knee
    -Fulvous tree duck
    -Grey hornbill
    -Cape teal
    -Superb starling
    -A blue duiker

    Side exhibits for great blue turaco, ground hornbill, crowned crane, and african pied crow can be viewed after exiting the walk-through aviary. This part is right near the Rainforest area.

    Finally, to add to the mix of tropical bird species, a palm cockatoo aviary will be thrown in the mix.
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2016
  16. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

    10 Nov 2015
    Virginia, USA
    Hoatzin are extremely hard to care for, and shoebills are a pain to obtain. You've listed many of my favorite birds.
  17. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Dang, I don't care about the hoatzin too much but that sucks about the shoebill. Oh well, off they both go I guess. I updated the species list for the african birds, shortened it a bit.
  18. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

    10 Nov 2015
    Virginia, USA
    Don't fret too much about the shoebill. A pair at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is likely to hatch some chicks his year.
  19. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Alright, I haven't been able to post this for some reason. It keeps giving me an error. Let's see if third time's the charm.

    This is the species list for the other tanks in the aquarium.

    Artificial reef
    -Flame angelfish
    -Annularis angelfish
    -Maculosus angelfish
    -2x Queen angelfish
    -12x Green chromis
    -6x Blue damselfish
    -6x Yellowtail blue damselfish
    -2x Threestripe damselfish
    -Matted filefish
    -Scribbled rabbitfish
    -Dogface pufferfish
    -5x Yellow tang
    -Blue tang
    -Naso tang
    -Sailfin tang
    -2x Vlamingii tang
    -2x Unicorn tang
    -Assasi triggerfish
    -Niger triggerfish
    -Blue spotted triggerfish
    -Snooty wrasse
    -Paddlefin wrasse
    -Bicolor parrotfish
    -Princess parrotfish

    Whitetip reef
    -Whitetip reef shark
    -Honeycomb whipray
    -Tesselata moray
    -Emperor snapper
    -Fiji blue devil damselfish
    -Pilotfish (aka golden trevally)
    -Giant trevally
    -Bluefin trevally
    -Hawaiian striped squirrelfish

    SPS-dominant anthias reef
    -Royal gramma
    -Yellow tang
    -Powder blue tang
    -Leopard wrasse
    -Golden rhomboidalis wrasse
    -Ocellaris clownfish
    -Candy basslet
    -3x Lyretail anthias (1m 2f)
    -2x Bartlett's anthias (1m 1f)
    -3x Carberryi anthias (2m 1f)
    -3x Ignitus anthias (1m 2f)
    -3x Purple queen anthias (1m 2f)
    -3x Resplendent anthias (1m 2f)
    -3x Red saddled anthias (1m 2f)
    -Maxima clam
    -Skunk cleaner shrimp

    Clownfish harem tank
    -Various morphs and colors of bubble tip anemone
    -40x percula clownfish
    -Maxima clam
    -Starry blenny
    -Skunk cleaner shrimps

    Octopus tank
    -Giant pacific octopus
    -Purple sea urchin
    -Shiner perch
    -Striped seaperch
    -Various coldwater anemones (plumose, fish eating, painted, tube, strawberry)

    Jellyfish tanks (located at entrance to aquarium building)
    -Moon jellyfish
    -Atlantic sea nettle

    Seadragon tank
    -Weedy seadragon
    -Leafy seadragon
    -Pot-bellied seahorse
    -Red seaperch (C. rasor)
    -French hogfish
    -Weedy pipefish
    -Pineapple fish

    Bumper tank
    -Atlantic bumper

    Florida beaches tank
    -Florida pompano
    -Sea robin
    -Hermit crab

    Seahorse lagoon
    -Lined seahorse
    -Masked goby
    -Gold spot goby
    -Dragonface pipefish

    Flounder marsh
    -Southern flounder
    -Sand perch
    -Purple sea urchin
    -Pencil urchin
    -Atlantic croaker

    Oh, the shark tank species list has been changed just a tiny bit. Go ahead and check out that new list if you'd like. I think the species lists are all done now.
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2016
  20. 1 and only Drew

    1 and only Drew Well-Known Member

    15 Sep 2015
    North Carolina
    Here's a few questions I've got

    What kind of profit can the owner/curator of an aquarium like this make?

    Obviously Sarasota has Mote. But do you think there's room for something like this? Would this place survive long?

    The plan is to have it built and pretty much run entirely on donations from large companies. Is this a solid plan? What kind of budget should I be looking at?

    Any other questions for me?
    Questions, comments, concerns, lay 'em on me