Ryedale members and friends were thrilled when our good friend Jackie Goulder invited us along for a half-term evening visit to the aquarium complex at Flamingo Land. The aquarium is situated beneath the Sea-lion enclosure and comprises of 17 aquariums of various sizes and dimensions. With torches lit we made the walk through the Zoo grounds to the aquarium building.

In the first large tank the Xanthic Giant Gourami, Arius catfish and group of Pacu continue to thrive. Watching these fish feed is a 'not to be missed' experience with the Pacu's swallowing large nuts with great ease.

The second large tank is now home to Jackie's re-housed Red-Breasted Piranha group and they are joined in their 'shoal' by a number of refugees from the Scarborough Sea-Life Centre (a 'swap' which had seen the Batfish and Scats move in the opposite direction).
With a décor of tree branches these beautiful characins are really at home here and Ann Grayson commented on how they are more placid in their new surroundings. Jackie pointed out how important it is for a 'shoal' member not to receive a bite from its tank mates as this would cause a weakness, which may lead to a fatal situation.

Seahorses are now the only marine species on display and span two show tanks. These amazing creatures caused so much interest among the members of our group. In both tanks the social grouping and hierarchy among the Seahorse occupants was easy to see.
For lovers of cichlids here we have a little paradise with various species of Julidochromis (aided in their breeding through the feeding of raw carrot), Angelfish, Kribensis and Sajica cichlids not only thriving but reproducing as if there is no tomorrow. The 'true' Fairy Cichlids (Neolamprologus brichardi) I took Jackie are also growing and are 'bossing' around their tank companions.

With the beautiful pair of Red Parrot Cichlids now 'off show', and spawning on the glass of their new home, their old tank is home to the new Freshwater Stingray exhibit. These fish were obtained from the breeding programme at Chester Zoo. As tank-bred Stingrays they will eat a variety of fresh foods.

What type of Stingrays are these? Potamotrygon motoro from South America.

'motoro' is a blanket name for several species of Large-Eyed Rays.
These fish are mature at a body length of between 10" and 16” (25 to 40cm). These aggressive feeders are known to eat fish smaller than themselves, including youngsters of their own kind. Reproduction is by means of a viviparous method. Apparently the main 'aquarium killers' of Large-Eyed Rays are sudden water changes and certain species of 'L' numbered Loricariids who literally 'suck them to death'.

Such was the growth of the fish in the Asian exhibit that these are now split between two aquariums. The Tinfoil Barbs are a sight to behold but Jackie fears that they will soon be to large for their current home.

Since of last visit several Fancy Goldfish have joined the species of fish exhibited and blissfully share their home with several Red Rainbowfish; apparently this is quite a popular combination in parts of the European mainland, but the first time I had witnessed such a display on 'home soil'.

Thanks Jackie for organising this visit for us we had a wonderful time.

The Flamingo Land Zoological Gardens and Theme Park is situated in the village of Kirbymisperton, which lies halfway between the North Yorkshire market towns of Pickering and Malton just off the A169.

Last updated March 2005

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