The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is a public aquarium located in the centre of Shanghai next to the Pearl of the Orient Tower. It is not only home to an Oranda goldfish named Bruce Lee, which measures 44 cm TL, but it hosts the longest underwater tunnel in the world. Located at 158, Yincheng Road (North), Pudong, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is a high-tech tourist project newly constructed. Heiko, during his most recent visit to China, was invited by the SHOU students and the Shanghai aquarium curator to visit it. Here his report.
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium in the centre of Shanghai has in its newly constructed modern building with 22.4 000 sqm floor space. And it is made up of 8 major areas with 28 large-scale theme marine life exhibition areas, displaying 300 species and ten thousand more rare fishes from all over the world. Some of them are most unique freshwater and marine life; others are rare aquatic life forms unique of China. All these give visitors a pleasant impression of “experiencing the wonders of the five continents at the bottom of the sea” – and Heiko was kindly invited by these great students of the Shanghai Ocean University.
Some of the freshwater themes and Chinese fishes:
Two of the endemic Chinese sturgeon species, here in a giant aquarium with other Yangzi River fishes (top two). There is also the only Asian catostomid, Myxocyprinus asiaticus, which has a quite different colour pattern when juvenile (lower). But not only its colour changes with its age, also the dorsal fin changes its shape (upper).
Sinibotia superciliaris, female (upper) and male (lower).
Leptobotia pellegrini, male (upper) and female (lower).
Liobagrus marginatus – in order to get its prey this catfish species play dead most of the time, as seen here (also for protection).
Sarcocheilichthys parvus, male (above) and female (lower).
Chanodichthys erythropterus (Erythroculter ilishaeformis is a synonym of the latter) – a very large cyprinid.
Macropodus opercularis (Macropodus chinensis is to be a synonym of the latter).
The Chinese Aligator is endemic but only living now in captive breeding program it is said to be extinct in nature. Here shown at a nice display.
This display of the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest in the world, reaching a length of 180 cm (6 ft), although it rarely – if ever – reaches that size today. It is considered critically endangered due to habitat loss, pollution, and over-collecting, as it is considered a delicacy and also used in traditional Chinese medicine.
The Silver Carp, Grass Carp, Bighead Carp and Black carp and their polyculture system is well displayed here.
Some shark (fin) education for Chinese and visitors and fossils:
One large section is dedicated to the terrible worldwide decimation of sharks for their fins (Chinese delicacy the shark-fin soup), to the overfishing in the Oceans of the world and decimation of fishes, as well as there is a touch tank and the breeding program of sharks is displayed.
There is also a large display of well preserved fossils of fishes and other animals.
Amazon and Australia theme display:
There is a large section dedicated to Amazonas, even with an interactive (computer – touch screen) zone where one can find out more about it, next to a large aquarium display and…
…in this area they have continuous films showing about the Jungle animals and fishes, they have theme displays with (almost) natural biotopes under which there is a detailed description of the species in it. There are also some rare and predatory fish species on display like the São Francisco River endemic catfish Lophiosiluris alexandri, the large characoids such as Boulengerella and Ctenolucius species as well as Hydrolycus tatauaia – the Amazon dog fish and Loricariids.
There is a special tunnel under a large Amazon River habitat with Arapaima gigas, Colossoma macropomum, large freshwater stingrays as well many more Amazon fish species…
…and there was a great display for the large Amazon electric eels Electrophorus electricus.
They have built a tunnel over the escalator going down to the Australian theme. There is a Pristis microdon – a freshwater sawfish Heiko Bleher discovered in 1982 on display and several Barramundi Lates calcarifer. They have a mangrove biotope display with Toxotes, Scatophagus and Monodactylus species and some gobiids. Then there is large aquarium with rainbowfishes, unfortunately all mixed and the majority are terrible coloured hybrids (above).
African freshwater displays:
The Africa section consists of a aquarium with a mixture of West and Central African fish species and a Lake biotope mixed with fishes from the lakes Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi place in one.
Southeast Asia biotope displays:
Also the fishes of India have been mixed with other fishes from Asia in a single habitat.
Beautiful and well done was a single aquarium – specially protected – for Polynemus paradiseus which Heiko Bleher was the first to introduce this amazing fish into the aquarium hobby many years ago and hardly ever seen in a public display anywhere else.
There were also snakehead displays, here Channa pleurophthalmus (upper) and a Iguana…
There is also a Asian aquarium display with very large fishes, like different Pangasius species, black and albino ones, as well as large gouramis and specially with the northern Borneo endemic species Osphronemus laticlavius (upper is male, lower female).
Some of the many marine displays:
Here some of their beautiful designed and informative section. They have information on the venom in sea snakes, the most poisonous puffer fishes, about the terrible spines of some scorpion fishes and details about the horrifying deadly gargoyle Synanceia horrida (above) as well as answers…
…and also replicas of different coral reefs and…
…there is also a giant aquarium with rays and mantas, and the longest marine tunnel aquarium in the world in a public aquarium (over 120 m long). The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is worth visiting and it is right in the city centre next to the giant Oriental Pearl Tower finished in 1995 and 468 m high.