NOT ON EXHIBIT
At the Aquarium
How do you keep a coral reef exhibit clean? Our aquarists try to mimic relationships that exist in the wild, keeping everything in balance. Snails and hermit crabs are introduced to help scour exhibit surfaces. Tangs and surgeonfishes pick, tear and rasp away at the rocks to keep algae in check. There’s even a fish nicknamed the lawnmower blenny that scrapes away at brown algae film on the rocks. “All these animals have jobs to do,” says Curator Paul Clarkson, “consuming things we don’t want in the exhibit, and helping keep the coral healthy.”
All bicolor anthias start out as females. But this fish is a “hermaphrodite”—a dominant female will eventually become a male and preside over a “harem” of females. Males are showy; they’re bright red, while females are a more muted peach color.
Hundreds of bicolor anthias gather in schools and “burst” out of the coral reef in large numbers to feed on plankton.
The bicolor anthias lives in tropical coral reefs—a living oasis where spectacular sea life thrives. This beauty and bounty provides food and shelter for those who live nearby, including fishes.
While the bright colors of coral reefs are a sign that they’re healthy, warmer ocean waters are killing some corals, leaving only bleached-white skeletons. Corals build rocky skeletons from calcium and carbonate, chemicals found naturally in the ocean. But oceans are absorbing enormous amounts of carbon pollution, making them more acidic, which soaks up loose carbonate. Without that critical building block, it's much harder for corals to form a reef.
If we slow down ocean changes now, we can give the whole community a chance to survive.
Learn more about our “Hot Pink Flamingos” special exhibition.
During spawning, the bicolor anthias releases eggs that float with the current until hatching.
It gets its name—“two colors”—because the upper half of its body is usually yellow or orange, while the lower half is a darker purple or blue.
The bicolor anthias is a “planktivore,” meaning that it feeds on tiny waterborne animals.