>On Saturday April 19, 2003, the IL-IN local chapter
>of NANFA met at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
>Ryan DePauw, IL-IN NANFA chapter chair, had arranged for this trip
>with Kurt Hettinger, fisheries biologist at the Shedd and
>NANFA member. It was a pleasant day and we had about 17 people
>Kurt takes care of the Illinois Lake and Rivers Gallery at
>the Shedd (the native fish) and gave us a behind-the-scenes
>tour of the facilities. I will describe the places we visited
>in order (as best as I can recall).
>First, we stopped by the Hospital/Veterinarian facilities.
>There are 3 full-time Vets on staff who take care of
>fish illnesses. Recently, they worked on a 150Lb Grouper
>which had cancer in its head.
>There are four water quality technicians who take about
>200 water samples a day in the more than 100 different
>water systems. The four main water systems are Temperate
>Fresh, Temperate Salt, Tropical Fresh and Tropical Salt
>with ways to control temps in each individual display tank.
>The water is gravity fed down through enormous mixed-media
>filters into large holding tanks two levels underground.
>That water is then pumped up, through de-aeration towers and
>sent back into the tanks. The tanks also have individual
>undergravel filters which provide backup filteration.
>We were then given a peek at the latest, greatest exhibit
>- Wild Reef - which opened this year. It's floor to ceiling
>panaromic views of a coral reef (90,000 Gallons) and a HUGE
>shark tank with several shark species, barracudas and other
>reef fishes (20 ft high concave viewing wall, 60-80 wide?).
>All the walls were decorated with fibreglass corals to give
>the experience of being underwater inside a reef. Amazing
>exhibit, that. One display wall was approx 5" of acrylic.
>Next, we walked past the Quarantine facilities where all
>incoming fish are observed and treated for parasites
>for a minimum of 45 days. Non-staff weren't allowed inside
>and even staff take precautions not to get in contact with
>that water and take it to other tanks. All fish are treated
>for ecto-parasites. Later, the muck on the bottom of the tank
>is settled and extracted and examined for any parasites. When
>there are no more parasites in the muck, the fish are released
>into the display or rearing tanks.
>Several plants - terrestial, marsh and aquatic plants are also
>grown for use on the displays. I saw an exceeding cool tank
>(6ft long standard aquarium) full of Venus fly traps in a
>damp, marshy type environment.
>We then visited some of the breeding facilities where amphibians
>from South America (Eel/snake-like, aquatic amphibians),
>endangered turtles, corals, salt-water shrimp, live foods (guppies,
>zebra danios, ghost shrimp) are bred. Apparently, quite a bit
>of the corals on display have been captive-propagated. Others
>were obtained from other aquariums or are US-Customs confisticated
>Then we went over to the Illinois Lakes and Rivers exhibit
>behind the displays. We were shown several interesting
>fish that were off-display :
>- Rainbow trout (hatchery raised)
>- Yellow perch
>- European Sterlet (cousin of Sturgeon) - a Customs confistication
>- Northern Pike (Silver)
>- Colorado Pike Minnows
>One interesting diplay were the year-old sturgeon that were
>being raised for release. They had been collected as eggs,
>hatched and raised for a few months by a WI-area aquarium.
>The Shedd got a few hundred babies that they are rearing
>for re-introduction pending approval from State of Illinois.
>Every few days, a sample of the baby sturgeon are captured,
>measured, tested etc. Apparently, the scales on the baby sturgeon
>are razor sharp and Kurt was showing us the cuts on his
>fingers from handling the sturgeon which take a really long
>time to heal.
>We also got a chance to feed the Rainbow trout - and some
>who got too close to the tank got splashed well.
>Kurt also showed us the F. notatus fry that he is rearing right
>now. He also showed us the stream environment he setup for his
>Rainbow darters (very similar to the one described by the gentleman
>from Michigan in the AC).
>We also saw the huge 'fridges housing the frozen food and the
>kitchens used to prepare the feed.
>Kurt has bred most of the native fish that he has on display -
>longear sunfish, darters, etc. He also has raised bowfin from
>fry and maintains several kinds of turtles.
>All in all, it was an enjoyable way to spend a morning.
>All the participants are appreciative of the time and effort
>by Kurt Hettinger and the Shedd for giving us this opportunity.
>Thanks are also due to Ryan for arranging the event.
>If I have inadvertently left out anything, I request any of
>the other participants to chime in.
-- Jeremy Tiemann Illinois Natural History Survey Center for Biodiversity 607 E. Peabody Dr. Champaign, IL 61820 Phone: (217) 244-4594 Fax: (217) 333-4949 /----------------------------------------------------------------------------- /"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily / reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes / Association" / This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association / nanfa_at_aquaria.net. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word / subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to / nanfa-request_at_aquaria.net. For a digest version, send the command to / nanfa-digest-request_at_aquaria.net instead. / For more information about NANFA, visit our web page, http://www.nanfa.org </x-flowed>