Sue and Golden Giant Gourami.
Jackie and Golden Giant Gourami.

Koi Angelfish
Large-eyed Rays (Potamotrygon motoro)


The Flamingo Land Zoological Gardens and Theme Park, situated in the Ryedale village of Kirby Misperton, has a hidden aquatic treasure in the form of a lovely aquarium that you will find tucked away beneath the Sealion enclosure.

The 17 display aquaria, which vary greatly in size and dimension, are cared for by our good friend, and Ryedale Aquarist Society member, Jackie Goulder.

As you enter the aquarium you come face-to-face with a large aquarium that is home to a shoal of huge Pacu, an ever growing Arius catfish and a beautiful Golden Giant Gourami. The Gourami lives a very laidback existence among the rush of activity that goes on around him and, as you will see from the accompanying photographs, is a real 'ladies man' and as soon as Sue had ceased petting him, through the glass, he pushed the Arius to one side in order to gain Jackie's attention.

Now we are at an equally large aquarium home to a large shoal of Red-Breasted Piranha. As the fish arrived before the tangled branches and roots that form the décor Jackie had to don her wetsuit in order to put this décor into place and found the fish much less timid than she had imagined they would be in this situation - but, thankfully, Jackie did not form dinner that day.

Now we are onto two Asian exhibits. The first of these contains a number of Rosy Barbs, who emerged as fry from the many plants on the base and are now on their way towards adulthood. The Tinfoil Barbs and Cigar Sharks in the second exhibit are a joy to behold.

A number of cichlid exhibits follow with various Julies, a Sajica family, Kribensis and Koi Angelfish among those exhibited. A beautiful pair of Red Parrots are currently 'off view' and these fish keep spawning away like there is no tomorrow but have yet to produce any fry from the hundreds of eggs laid over the last 12 months.

Seahorses are the only marine inhabitants and captivate their visitors. A mixture of Fancy Goldfish and Rainbowfish reminds me of such mixtures seen on the European Mainland.

New for 2005 is an exhibit featuring 4 beautiful Large-eyed Rays (Potamotrygon motoro) that arrived courtesy of the breeding programme at Chester Zoo. As Jackie fed these fish upon marine sprats Sue and I watched amazed as they enveloped and cloaked their food, beneath the large discs that form their body, before gleefully sucking at and devouring their meal.

The Flamingoland aquarium is well worth a visit and Jackie is always keen to inform her visitors about the various fish species on view.

By David Marshall, Ryedale Aquarist Society



Thanks to John without
his help I could not have made this site