6th July 2016
The entrance fee of around 16,-€ per person for the Churaumi and the Expo area including a dolphin show, sea turtle tank and Manatees tank as well as using their beach is not too expensive, you can spend your time the whole day there, it´s a huge area. The park is located directly at the ocean side, everything seems to be very clean and nicely decorated, a really lovely place. The Churaumi Aquarium is supplied with fresh sea water directly from the ocean, the suction pipe is 300m from the coast away at a depth of 20m in the ocean. The drain goes back to the ocean. The first tank at the entrance has sea stars and sea cucumbers where you can touch them. The next tank is a beautiful coral reef tank with colourful fishes. The tank looks very healthy, it is lighted directly by sun and some additional lamps for a cloudy day. I think it´s easier to keep the corals when you have direct access to the fresh water and a direct sun light, you just need to know which fishes to keep in a coral tank. Next door are the bigger fishes which also eat corals, that why you will find only soft corals in this tank. There are some sea bass, moray eel, parrot fishes, etc. Also some Rabbitfishes and Orange band Surgeonfish can be seen there. In another tank, they keep different kind of crayfishes. There is also an area where they show different kind of species which could be dangerous to humans and what to consider and how to behave when swimming around the Okinawa islands. Everywhere they show about sustainability and inform the visitors about the threat to our oceans. All the tanks are decorated with real corals, it´s really pretty. There is also a tank with different type of giant shells Tridacna. But in some special tanks I have the feeling that the space could be much more for the animals, it´s pretty small. The main tank is huge, they keep 3 whale sharks inside. Well, to me already 1 whale shark is too much in a tank, but 3? I think they want to try to breed them in captivity, same like the manta ray. As the first Aquarium in this world they successfully breed one manta ray in captivity which nowadays still lives there. Also other different species they successfully breed them in captivity. They show some awards for successful breeding of some species in Churaumi.
At one of the whale shark I saw an infection at the fins, probably bacteria or mycosis caused. Hopefully they can treat the whale shark properly. At the end of the guide, there is a special exhibition about species which are preserved. The teaching effect here is quite good, you can learn a lot about marine life, it´s also written in English. And very often they inform the visitors about the threat to our oceans causing from humans. There are training classroom and laboratory available. But sadly they keep also dolphins and make some shows with them. There is also a tank with sea turtles, including sands for their spawn, Manatees from Mexico are also kept there.
Also positive to me was the possibility to see the background of this aquarium, there is a time where you can use a lift to go to the top level of the main tank and see more detail of the technology. There are different quarantine tanks available and huge piping system. Overall it´s the most beautiful aquarium I have seen yet during my travel.
24th June 2016
From the outside the building appears huge. The admission price of around 22,-€ includes a metro day-ticket and I think it´s reasonable. When you enter the building, you first have to use a quite long escalator to go upstairs, the exhibition goes spirally over 4 levels down. They do not only show marine animals, but also animals from the continent like the South American Capybara. They keep some Pacific white sided dolphins, different kind of seals, penguins, otter and a whale shark. Also here big disappointment about corals, there are only few kept in a tank and not really nice arranged. The Great Barrier Reef tank is only decorated with plastic corals and are already covered green with algae. Furthermore they put mirrors inside the tank, I guess to let the tank looks bigger. Unfortunately the mirrors cause permanent stress for some fishes, I guess males because they see themselves and think there is another rival. Also disappointing for me is again that they keep big mammals, some tanks are overcrowded, not much about sustainability and teaching effect. Partially some special tanks are too small. There is a room made for kids, but there they make the tank design similar like in the movie finding nemo, too small, not appropriate to the species and no learning effect. Actually I think that tank animates the kids to have one as well. Diversity you can find there, also deep ocean animals, but not sure how long they can survive, like some anemones they are not opening their tentacles. Also lot of different jellyfishes available. The main tank is huge but I think for a whale shark too small. I think they shouldn´t keep such animals in captivity.
23th June 2016
Few pictures of some animal at the island which I could find