Bringing up baby kelp forest fish
A wild kelp forest, home to numerous animals. Photo: Bill Morgan
Like a giant, underwater apartment building, a
kelp forest provides food and shelter for thousands of animals. In our Kelp Forest
gallery you can see the full vibrancy of an underwater forest where fish are
displayed throughout their life-cycles, so visitors can see how fish change in
size, shape, pattern and color as they grow.
Aquarist MacKenzie Bubel and some future Kelp Forest gallery residents.
The youngest, smallest fish at the Aquarium start out being cared for behind the scenes. This gives our aquarists the opportunity to keep a close eye on their feeding habits and growth. As the little ones grow, they’re usually moved to progressively larger exhibits in the Kelp Forest gallery.
The Seaweed Gardens (left) and Under the Canopy (right) exhibits.
Our Seaweed Gardens exhibit provides an excellent home for small fish to get started in, so this diverse community has become a kind of fish nursery.
After a few months in the Seaweed Gardens, larger fish are ready to graduate to a roomier exhibit like Under the Canopy, the Kelp Holdfast or even the main Kelp Forest exhibit!
The current residents in an exhibit definitely notice when new fish are introduced into their established territory and may react aggressively to the perceived threat of strangers. To avoid this, aquarists rearrange everything in the exhibit just before introduction, so all the fish will be facing a fresh situation at the same time.
The Kelp Forest exhibit.
The result of all this work is a series of vibrant exhibits that showcase the kelp forest ecosystem right outside our deck (and below the waves).
So when you visit, keep an eye out for these classic kelp forest fishes throughout the gallery as they grow up: