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.
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.
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
By David Marshall, Ryedale Aquarist Society