National Geographic : 1921 Jan
TREASURE-HOUSE OF THE GULF STREAM and uncontaminated salt water itself be transported from miles out in the ocean to the tanks of the city aquariums in the north, but the water must be kept heated the year round to the proper temperature of their southern habitat. More fortunate is the Miami Aquari um, which is located within a few hun dred yards of the outlet of Biscayne Bay into the old Atlantic; for it has salt water from the Gulf Stream itself available for changing in the tanks at every turn of tide, if necessary, and there is no neces sity for artificial heating all year around, as the water is never below 63° F. in winter nor above 85° F. in summer. THE MIAMI AQUARIUM HAS EXCEPTIONAL EQUIPMENT The Miami Aquarium is equipped with fifty exhibition tanks, each with a visible area of4x6 feet. One of the glass front tanks is 36 feet long, 15 feet in width, and o1 feet deep-probably the largest display tank in the world. In it may be shown fish up to 12 feet in length. The exhibition tanks are ar ranged along corridors, in the general form of a Maltese cross, with a central rotunda. The only light is that admitted from skylight openings directly over each ex hibition chamber, so that the sun's ravs filtering through the waters of the tanks give the interior of the aquarium the atmosphere of the ocean bottom itself, and the multihued and wonderfully beau tiful fish citizens of the tropics stand out in their regal colors and without the optical distortion which arises from artificial illumination against glass. To further create the atmosphere of the natural habitat of these fish, the tanks are lined with coral rock and festooned with living specimens of the wondrous flora of the ocean bed. This plant life also is needful to make the captured specimens feel at home in their new environment, and, with such peaceful and customary surroundings, most of them soon become domesticated and seemingly unaffected by their trans planting. Indeed, they are relieved of the burden of the high cost of living and are even willing to give up their pursuit of prey, since their natural food is sup plied at regular intervals. Most people who live far from the sub tropic seas, especially those in inland America, have little conception of the wondrous beauty of the colored fish of our southern waters. FISH TINTS THAT CHALLENGE THE RAINBOW Elsewhere in this number will be found a series of four-color reproductions of life portraits of some of the more com mon of these richly colored specimens. These studies (see Plates I to VIII, pages 61 to 68) were made by a noted artist, who watched the fish within the tanks of the aquarium day in and day out, studied their color phases, and the ability of many of them to change their tints and hues, as does the chameleon, until he was able to transfer a suggestion of their rainbow coloring to the canvas. To the student of ichthyology, the com pletion and opening of the Miami Aqua rium early in January, 1921, will be an occasion of moment, for this station is the only one of any size on the entire South Atlantic seaboard, and is located but twelve miles from the axis of the Gulf Stream.* The Biological Labora tory, equipped with tables for individual or class use, offers opportunity for the scientist and student to pursue these en grossing studies with every convenience of supply and equipment and with their study subjects ever available under most favorable conditions. The institution will specialize in the investigation of the mi gration of food-fish and the artificial cultivation of the spiny lobsters, stone crabs, et cetera. Instead of having to go to the great Italian station at Naples, or the Museum of Oceanography at Monaco, students of fish life will be offered the facilities out lined, in their own country, for our own subtropic waters have all that the Medi terranean affords and much besides. THE PERSONNEL OF THE AQUARIUM The director of the Miami Aquarium, Mr. L. L. Mowbray, has acquired an ex tensive knowledge of warm-sea fish in studies extending over many years. He *See "The Grandest and Most Mighty Ter restrial Phenomenon: The Gulf Stream," by Rear Admiral John E. Pillsbury, in the NA TIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for August, 1912.