July 17, 2013
Exotic tropical reef fish at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium have been given their own underwater vegetarian café.
The ‘green’ feeding station is the idea of displays supervisor Paul Strachan who devised the floating café after coming across a washed up buoy on the beach.
A selection of vegetables and salad greens is attached by rope to the buoy which is then dropped in to the aquarium’s giant ocean display.
“It’s great to be able to recycle flotsam and jetsam that washes up on the beach to create such a simple, but highly effective, piece of environmental enrichment,” said Paul.
“Although many of the ocean display’s residents, like the sharks and rays, are confirmed carnivores a lot of the reef species feed exclusively on plant life.
“In the wild they would graze the coral reefs, picking off tiny algae and seaweeds so we decided to mimic those conditions here at the aquarium.
“At the moment I’ve got them feeding on broccoli but I’ll be introducing other vegetable and salad including lettuce, cucumber and spinach.
“As well as providing them with a varied diet and encouraging them to use natural foraging behaviour, it’s also a useful way for them to get a boost in vitamins and minerals too,” he added.
Among the fish benefitting from the ‘café’ are the angelfish, regal tangs and sailfin tangs – all of which would normally help keep algae growth on coral reefs under control by grazing on them.
Overlooking one of Cornwall’s most popular beaches, Newquay’s award-winning Blue Reef Aquarium takes visitors on a fabulous undersea safari through the oceans of the world.
At the aquarium’s heart is a giant tropical ocean reef tank. The 180,000 litre display has its own underwater walkthrough tunnel and is home to hundreds of brightly-coloured reef fish.
Visitors can enjoy incredible views into the reef display both from inside the tunnel and also through a series of underwater viewing windows a huge concave viewing platform.