Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hungry, hungry mudfish

Brown mudfish. Photo: Angela Fox.

Our mudfish are masters of camouflage, can you tell there are 11 fish in our tank?? Mudfish got their name because they are often found in shallow, muddy waters such as those in swamps, shallow ponds and even drainage ditches. In the summer, these pools can dry up completely, leaving mudfish buried in the soil under roots and vegetation where they can survive out of water for 2 months or even more!

We don’t make our mudfish go through that stress. In fact, our mudfish live in very clear water so that we can share them with you. Our tank is filled with a generous amount of leaf litter, fern fronds and logs that you would normally find in waterways so that they have many places to hide and hide they do! If you have a keen eye, you might see a fin or a tail wiggling under the logs or eyes poking out from under the leaves, but the best time to see them is during our weekend public feedings.

Hand-feeding mealworms to the mudfish. Photo: Angela Fox.
Every weekend we feed our fish during public opening hours so our visitors can get a special chance to see our often elusive animals. The mudfish have been trained to feed from our hands and when they hear the top of the tank open and the water ripple, almost every fish starts to emerge from their hiding place. Sometimes they are very impatient and snap at the water’s surface to let us know they are hungry and sometimes we have to move our fingers close to the leaves to wake them up. The variable behaviour – being sometimes very active at feeding time and other times being completely uninterested – is a bit of a mystery to us, but we record behaviour every day in order to help identify what our fish like and what they don’t.

Two mudfish hiding in the leaves. Photo: Angela Fox.
Many people ask us if our fish are breeding. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any signs of reproductive behaviour in our mudfish yet, but we also know that our fish are still relatively young. We will do our best to make sure our fish are healthy and happy and maybe one day we will spot a female with a belly full of eggs!


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  2. Awesome, can't wait to come down on the long will this exhibition run for? 😀