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Vladivostok Aquarium Vladivostok Aquarium

Discussion in 'Russia' started by Chlidonias, 16 Aug 2013.

  1. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    The Vladivostok Aquarium (also variously called the Oceanarium or Terrarium, depending on which publication and translation you are reading) is in the northwest of the town, almost on the shore of the Amursky Gulf. Entry is 250 Roubles which is a little steep for what's on offer. I don't know when it opened but it looks quite old and in need of some upkeep. Most of the inhabitants are either local salmonids and cyprinids, or general tropical fish. There is also an attached aquarium fish shop selling tropicals and goldfish and various equipment.

    Upon entering I was directed to head towards the left and loop around, which was a little confusing as that's not how the floor plan works! To the left there is in fact only a smallish Nile crocodile (maybe five or six feet long) in a small barren enclosure comprised of an unfurnished pool and a patch of unfurnished land; and next to it a souvenir stand (one of three (!) in the tiny building). Heading back to the right is a row of tanks for commonplace tropical marine fish such as humbug damsels and clownfish. All the tanks in the building are small to large rectangular ones set into the mock-rock walls apart for a few small stand-alone rectangular tanks and one giant cylindrical tank (more on that later). Signage for some is of the computer-screen type (a photo of the fish scrolls on to some text about it, but all in Russian of course) but most tanks just have a simple plaque (again all in Russian except the scientific name).

    After the tropical marine are coldwater marine for local species. These all suffered from heavy condensation on the glass making photography of the fish inside impossible (chilled water in warm weather conditions isn't an easy problem to get around). Most of the species here were fairly nondescript kinds such as blennies and cods, but there was also a giant octopus (in the typically barren tank octopuses always get) and Kamchatka king crabs which make a nice change from Japanese spider crabs. Some smaller rocky shore species including starfish and anemones were in three stand-alone tanks rather than tanks set into the walls. Also here was another souvenir stand (actually in plain line of sight to the first souvenir stand!); some jungly-themed but unattractive fibreglass pools for red-bellied short-necked turtles Emydura subglobosa (labelled with the synonym Emydura albertisi); and a Steller's sea cow!!!! Sadly not a live Steller's sea cow, sadly not even a life-size one, just a small model (“small” as in about the size of a real-life African manatee, which I have seen....you know, just saying). Still, I'm counting Steller's sea cow on my zoo list :p

    After a somewhat token tropical freshwater section (parrot cichlids, silver sharks, African cichlids, that sort of thing), you can either go to the left where you end up in the aquarium fish shop I mentioned, or to the right and down a few steps into the “Oceanarium”. This is a circular room with large rectangular tanks set in the walls and a large cylindrical tank in the centre. This centre tank has three absolutely monstrous kaluga sturgeons Huso dauricus along with some smaller Acipenser schrenckii. Unfortunately for the giant ones the middle column of the tank is bulky rockwork so they don't get a lot of room. Mostly they swam lazily in one direction but occasionally they tried to turn around and had a right difficult time doing so, like a horse trying to turn around in a stationwagon. Amazing fish though. The other tanks were a mix of random tropicals (e.g. one had hundreds of neons, harlequins and other small school fish; another had loads of baby oscars; another some big pacu and catfish) and coldwater freshwater fish (lenok, sterlets, cyprinids, catfish, etc). An interesting one here were some largish freshwater crabs, Eriocheir japonica. Also perhaps of note was a pool for dozens of red-eared terrapins which had a revolving island for some reason.

    Up the stairs to the second floor you find a museum which is quite good. The corridor is a circular one bringing you back to the stairs again, and arranged on both sides are glass display cases for stuffed seabirds, mostly local species (gulls, cormorants, alcids, ducks, but also some penguins, albatrosses, boobies and others), as well as marine mammals (sea otters and seal pups), sea turtles, dry- and wet-preserved fish (including snipe eels), and invertebrates (shells and preserved cephalopods etc). There was a life-size model of a coelacanth up here which was neat.

    Then you return to the first floor and that's it. It's not a big Aquarium nor particularly cheerful but if you're a fish person then it's worth a visit, with the caveat that most of the species are standard subjects (but it's the random unusual ones that make it worth it). If you're not really an Aquarium person then you wouldn't get much from it. There were quite a lot of locals with their kids there so it seems popular (fortunately it was nowhere even close to being as busy as the Seoul COEX Aquarium!).

    There's a zoo in Vladivostok as well, apparently 30 minutes away by train. I found a pamphlet at the information centre and it looks more of a circus-y type zoo than a good zoo so I'm giving that one a miss.

    If the attachments work, below is a photo of the big tank for Huso dauricus (note the people to the left for scale) and a Steller's sea cow (the photo makes it look huge but it is only manatee-sized).
     

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  2. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I didn't see any Mekong giant catfish, no.

    I had actually heard there was a big oceanarium being built on Russky Island but I don't know if it is finished or not. I'll try to find out but that's not easy given the lack of English here.
     
  4. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.

    It was scheduled for the end of 2012 but there was never any public hype, so I guess it was just pushed back. The website still looks like the place is under construction.
     
  5. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  6. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  8. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    photos are now in the Vladivostok Aquarium gallery. There's not a wide selection due to difficulties in taking photos in the darkened building (I was just using a point-and-shoot, not a "proper" camera) and because the coldwater tanks all had heavy condensation.
     
  9. condor

    condor Well-Known Member

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    While randomly going through TV channels, I stumpled upon a National Geographic program where Vinnie Jones (former footballer turned actor) participated in contruction work in Vladivostok. Much of it was apparently taped earlier this year and featured him working on the outside of the new aquarium. My knowledge of construction work is limited, but based on how it appeared I suspect opening summer 2014 or perhaps even 2015. Belugas were already held at a temporary site.
     
  10. Bib Fortuna

    Bib Fortuna Well-Known Member

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