Husbandry advances

The preliminary dates for the 2012 IAC Husbandry sessions are Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 September.

Click here for the preliminary programme.

Abstracts of presentations

Animal training at Mare Nostrum Aquarium, Montpellier-France

By: Nicolas Hirel, Aquarium Curator
Institution: Mare Nostrum Aquarium, Montpellier, France

Many facilities around the world train terrestrial and marine mammals and birds, but few people think it is possible or indeed useful to attempt the same level of training with fish as trainers do with dolphins or sea lions. From the beginning of the Mare Nostrum Aquarium, it was decided that animal training of emblematic fish and penguins under veterinarian control would be part of the aquarist's duties, in addition to life support system control, cleaning and feeding, and visitor edutainment.

Animal training at Mare Nostrum Aquarium, Montpellier-France (340.98 KB) Download the full abstract

Can captive breeding stock an entire public aquarium?

By: Chris Brown
Institution: Merlin Entertainments, SEA LIFE, UK

While zoos have been sourcing most of their animals from captive breeding programmes for decades, and nearly 90% of the freshwater fish trade is now supplied by captive breeding, most public aquariums still collect marine creatures from the wild. Public aquariums should be leading the way in developing captive breeding programmes so that the aquarium trade stops depleting wild fish stocks. Considering this challenge, is the entirely captive-bred public aquarium a realistic prospect?

Can captive breeding stock an entire public aquarium? (332.46 KB) Download the full abstract

Early rearing of four scombrid fishes including Bluefin Tuna at Tokyo Sea Life Park

By: Ryosuke Mimori
Institution: Tokyo Sea Life Park, Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Sea Life Park (TSLP) has exhibited four scombrid fishes, Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus orientalis), Kawakawa (Euthynnus affinis), Skipjack Tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) and Striped Bonito (Sarda orientalis), all of which have spawned in the displays. Learning to raise these species from eggs may enable TSLP to reduce collection of wild specimens. Exhibiting scombrid development in the aquarium may deepen visitors’ understanding of these fish and contribute to their sustainable use.

Early rearing of four scombrid fishes including Bluefin Tuna at Tokyo Sea Life Park (349.40 KB) Download the full abstract

Fish health management by husbandry training

By: Takaomi Ito, Shuji Sodeyama, Satoshi Takeuchi, Kiyoko Onda, Hiroshi Obata & Kiyonori Nishida
Institution: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka, Japan

In an effort to sustain fish biodiversity, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan has developed a health management method for handling fish in captivity and for collecting physiological and behavioral data as a part of in- and ex situ conservation activities. 

Fish health management by husbandry training (340.15 KB) Download the full abstract

Keynote – Collaborative marine ornamental fish propagation efforts

By: Allan Marshall (1), Dr Matthew Wittenrich & Eric Cassiano (2)
Institutions: 1) The Florida Aquarium, Florida, USA; 2) University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, Florida, USA

The Rising Tide Conservation initiative aims to develop techniques to breed marine ornamental reef fishes, in order to reduce the collection of wild specimens for public and home aquariums. Most individual institutions have been unable to achieve this because of economic constraints, and challenges experienced at every stage of breeding and rearing these species.

Collaborative marine ornamental fish propagation efforts (333.48 KB) Download the full abstract

Keynote – Conservation value of having a white shark on exhibit

By: Randy Hamilton, Vice President Husbandry
Institution: Monterey Bay Aquarium, California, USA

Since 2002 the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been collecting biological data on the white shark, (Carcharodon carcharia) in order to improve understanding of its life history, to educate the public on the role of this top-level predator in the ecosystem, and to place young-of-year sharks on public display. Ultimately, this information should assist with management of the species, which is currently considered vulnerable and protected by the State of California. 

Conservation value of having a white shark on exhibit (337.41 KB) Download the full abstract

Managing animal husbandry globally

By: Robin James, Senior Curator
Institution: Merlin Entertainments, SEA LIFE, UK

Good animal husbandry is essential to the health and longevity of aquarium animals. It results in fewer issues, the need to collect fewer animals, and a better chance that animals may breed and help to sustain captive populations. To ensure good husbandry it is vital to invest in the training and development of curatorial staff.

Managing animal husbandry globally (331.92 KB) Download the full abstract

New minds in 21st Century: The new attraction ‘Grand Aquarium’ in the Ocean Park Hong Kong

By: David Lai, Suzanne M. Gendron, Grant Abel, Paolo Martelli, Nimal Fernando, Walter Tang, Lell Luk, Yvonne Lim, Lam Cho Hee, Ho Kam Fook & Wong Tin Po
Institution: Ocean Park Corporation, Hong Kong, China

A new exhibit ‘The Grand Aquarium’ was opened in 2011, doubling the water volume of the former aquarium and increasing the number of species to 400. 2 000 fishes were moved from the former Atoll Reef exhibit and many new species were introduced. The Grand Aquarium aims to highlight the importance of sustainable use of marine resources by presenting a harmonious multispecies community to inspire visitors to treasure the ocean.

New minds in 21st Century: The new attraction ‘Grand Aquarium’ in the Ocean Park Hong Kong (336.49 KB) Download the full abstract

Seadragon husbandry in the new millennium: Lessons learned from the past will create a sustainable future

By: Paula Branshaw Carlson, Director of Husbandry
Institution: The Dallas World Aquarium, Texas, USA

The Dallas World Aquarium (DWA) has displayed Leafy Seadragons (Phycodurus eques) since 1994 and is a leader in the husbandry of these popular syngnathids. In 1997 and 1999 the DWA shared husbandry information with industry professionals at national zoo conferences. These meetings led to worldwide collaboration between aquarists struggling to understand the specialized husbandry of these fish, and resulted in the publication of the first Leafy Seadragon Husbandry document in 2005. In 2008 the DWA hosted the first Seadragon Husbandry Symposium, which was an invaluable forum for information exchange. 

Seadragon husbandry in the new millennium: Lessons learned from the past will create a sustainable future (342.64 KB) Download the full abstract

The effect of sedatives on large-sized elasmobranchs

By: Yosuke Matsumoto, Atsushi Yamashiro, Keiich Ueda & Hirokazu Miyahara
Institution: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Japan

Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus), Alfred Mantas (Manta alfredi) and Bull Sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) are the largest elasmobranch species in the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Maximum total lengths are 8.5 m, 4.0 m and 3.0 m respectively. When conducting health care programmes, their large sizes present problems. They struggle vigorously when being caught or transported and during routine health checks. They rub and beat against the capture nets and walls of transport cages and aquarium tanks, injuring themselves. These injuries can delay onset of feeding, and may even cause death. Their struggles are also potentially dangerous to their keepers. It is therefore imperative to find safe and effective methods to sedate them.

The effect of sedatives on large-sized elasmobranchs (344.14 KB) Download the full abstract 

The future of selection and introduction of new aquarium species

By: Rob Hicks
Institution: Merlin Entertainments, SEA LIFE

Public aquariums are under pressure to justify why they keep animals in captivity and source specimens from the wild, and are often criticised for being consumers rather than protectors of aquatic life. Many see captive breeding as part of the answer but, because we are unable to manipulate the reproductive cycles of most species, it is unlikely that captive breeding will entirely supplant collection from the sea. Furthermore, aquariums are by nature pioneering organisations and are unlikely to stop exploring the collection and display of new species.  

The future of selection and introduction of new aquarium species (340.37 KB) Download the full abstract

Working towards optimising oral praziquantel for treating monogenean ectoparasites of captive fishes

By: David Vaughan (1) & Sandy Bye (2)
Institution: 1) Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town, South Africa; 2) Biochemical and Scientific consultants cc, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Monogeneans are parasitic flatworms responsible for disease or host mortality in public aquariums. New species have been discovered due to their negative impacts on the health of their captive hosts. Various treatments have been explored to control monogeneans, notably the anthelmintic praziquantel. It is a registered treatment against schistosomiasis and cysticercosis in humans, against Trematoda and Cestoda in animals, and has been used to treat monogeneans on fishes in aquariums with varying degrees of success.

Working towards optimising oral praziquantel for treating monogenean ectoparasites of captive fishes (333.61 KB) Download the full abstract

Downloads

Animal training at Mare Nostrum Aquarium, Montpellier-France
Can captive breeding stock an entire public aquarium?
Fish health management by husbandry training
Collaborative marine ornamental fish propagation efforts
Conservation value of having a white shark on exhibit
Managing animal husbandry globally
New minds in 21st Century: The new attraction ‘Grand Aquarium’ in the Ocean Park Hong Kong
Seadragon husbandry in the new millennium: Lessons learned from the past will create a sustainable future
The effect of sedatives on large-sized elasmobranchs
The future of selection and introduction of new aquarium species
Working towards optimising oral praziquantel for treating monogenean ectoparasites of captive fishes
Early rearing of four scombrid fishes including Bluefin Tuna at Tokyo Sea Life Park

9 to 14 September 2012
Cape Town International Convention Centre
Cape Town, South Africa

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Did You Know

The last IAC (7th IAC), which was held in Shanghai, was attended by 700 delegates representing over 290 aquariums and institutions from 45 countries and regions from around the world.