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What fish and other animals can you spot today in the tank in the Batham Lab?  Do check in on feeding days: Tuesday and Friday mornings!

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Discussion topics

What makes a fish a fish?

What can you see in this tank?  A fish?  A starfish? A crayfish?  What exactly makes a fish a fish?  You might see many different kinds of animals and plants in our fish tanks during the year as the animals we hold can change over the seasons ... so keep checking in!



What happens at night?

Try checking the Webcams at night to see if anything is visible.  Some animals are more active at night (for example the octopus) so there may be enough background light to see the movement.  Some animals that live in the ocean glow – deep sea fish and krill.  We have not got any deep sea fish in the aquarium tanks, but there may be some glowing krill in the seahorse tank!  And then there is the big question ... do fish sleep?


What do fish eat?

As you watch the fish and other animals in the tank you will see them searching for food – snapping at things swimming or floating by, rummaging under rocks and in the substrate, grazing in the seaweed, all according to their different tastes.  They all have different adaptations for finding and eating their favourite foods.  In the wild the animals have to hunt for their own food, but at the Marine Studies Centre the Aquarists prepare their meals.  Some animals will only eat live prey (eg the octopus eats crabs, the seahorses eat zooplankton and some seastars eat live cockles and crabs).  But many of the fish are fed on chopped fish meat (though they would all enjoy a feed of fresh krill if there was any available).  The fish all look forward to their meals and get very excited when they see the Aquarist approaching the tank with a bowl!


  • Watch this space for a video of feeding time at the marine studies centre


There is often an octopus in the tank at the Marine Studies Centre – sometimes a large common octopus, and sometimes a midget octopus.  They can be hard to spot.  They come out mainly at night, and they can change their shape and colour to blend in with the rocks and gravel in the tank.  However the octopus is very likely to show itself if it is feeding time, or if the aquarist is cleaning the tank.



Looking after marine animals

The design of a fish tank is important.  You will see that our tanks are many different shapes and sizes and they contain different plants, substrate and rocks to suit the animals held in each one.  The Marine Studies Centre tanks are all sea water tanks.  Some of the tanks have flow-through systems and some are re-circulating.  All of them need to be cleaned very regularly to keep the animals and plants in good health.


  • Watch this space for a video about the design of the tanks at the marine studies centre
  • Watch this space for a video about how the tanks are cleaned


  • What was happening when we weren't looking?

See more clips of our animals in action and other short films about marine life and research.

  • Fishy news

Find out what's been happening in the marine world.

  • Educational resources

Check out the marine ID guides, educational activities, and worksheets - all free for you to download.

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