Backyard Bayou – Shreveport Aquarium

Hi I’m Jake Wood and welcome to Shreveport
Aquarium’s Backyard Bayou! This edition, we are taking you here to Shreveport Aquarium
and we’re going to take you along on a journey that some of our fish took from the middle of the
Florida Keys right after Hurricane Irma all the way up here to Shreveport, Louisiana!
We’ve got to rewind about 3 weeks to show you where the trip began on our way to Florida. So certainly an aquarium is no aquarium without
the fish and that’s one thing that we’re doing right now, myself and our Director of Husbandry
Operations for Planet Aqua Group, Chris Spaulding, we’re taking this big truck you just saw all
the way down to Marathon Key, Florida. In a normal car, that’s about 20 hours. In this
big behemoth, we’re look at about a day of driving each way and to keep those fish safe
and alive all the way from Florida to Shreveport, we’ve got some special equipment inside the
truck. I’ve got Chris in here, he’s working on the
final preps for us to get on the road. Chris tell us what we have in here! So what we’ve
got here is basically a simple tank that’s a plastic tank it holds around 300 or 400
gallons of water for the fish to travel back in connected to some simple filtration. We’ve
got a pump that operates some 12V boat batteries right here and of course we wouldn’t travel
a long distance like that carrying live animals without some oxygen to provide the fish, to
keep them healthy and safe all the way back! 1,235 miles starts right now! One of the more unfortunate but awe inspiring
parts of this trip is going through the Keys to see the destruction in the wake of Hurricane
Irma, but even more impressive, the resilience of the residents of the Keys and the clean up efforts that
have happened only just a week after the hurricane made landfall. We gone past almost two weeks since you saw
us last. This is our final shipment that we brought in. These things had to get loaded
on an airplane. This is our shark transport tank its come all the way from Shreveport,
well to Dallas. We had to take it from Dallas to Shreveport by way of Australia. We have
some Gray Reef Sharks in here that you’ll see inside of our Ocean Tank, so we’ll let
you see those guys soon! So these are all of the boxes that just came
off of the truck! We’re opening all of the boxes. We’re making sure that everyone is accounted for.
We’ve got our attendee list and we want to make sure that everybody is here at the party, so we’re going
through all of the boxes in sequence to make sure that everyone made it here safe and sound,
then they’ll begin their acclimation process where we start to introduce them to the water
that they’ll find in their new homes and once everything balances out, then they’ll get to go
see their new friends in their brand new tanks. As you can tell, we’ve got a lot of work to
get done, so we’ve got to get these guys acclimated to their tanks so we’ll see you guys soon. Now that all the fish are ready, come on inside,
let’s take a look at them. So we’re about to hang out with some guys that really everybody wants to know and I’m kind of super excited to be able to go behind the scenes
with them today. The first one that we’re going to meet is the big chief, the head guy.
He’s paid to look at fish for a living. This is Nate Carpenter. Nate’s the curator for
Shreveport Aquarium and we caught him right in the middle of what I like to call “fish
looking,” but you have a scientific name for it? Well I don’t know about scientific, but
its called a basic health check. Basic health check. I’m going to be basic health checking fish all day. Well after we do the basic health check, then we’re going to do a life support check. And
basically these fish don’t have the ability to survive without the life support, so its
very important that its all running properly. The life support system is the backbone of
the Shreveport Aquarium. All of the tropical systems with the exception of just a few run
through that system. Now its not only just a few filters, there’s an entire network of
filters, sterilizers, protein skimmers, everything that takes the stuff that shouldn’t be in
the water and takes it out to keep the delicate saltwater fish alive. Nate, quick question for you, what does the
big red button do, and can I push it? So the big red button is the emergency shut off and I will strangle you. So we better not touch the big red button. So as beautiful as these guys are, they pack
quite a punch. Right above the top of these guys is a row of hypodermic needles full of
venom that won’t kill you, but I can guarantee it’ll make you wish that you were dead. They are absolutely gorgeous and one of the
reasons why this tank has a plate of glass going right through the center of it, you can see these guys are very interested in the fish that are on the other side. And that
exactly illustrates what this tank is about. The Lionfish is incredibly invasive. One of
the most invasive species to hit our part of the world in recorded history. Welcome to my new happy place! This is area
above all of the large concrete tanks. The area above the WOW Gallery is where we are
at right now. Part of the health and habitat systems for the fish here at the aquarium
is a series of lights that are over every tank and what these lights do is they help
simulate daytime and nighttime to keep these guys on their own natural rhythms. Right now I’m standing on the edge of the
med pool and this is the behind-the-scenes pool that acts sort of as a penalty box,
if you will, for animals that might not play well with others, animals that might be sick,
animals that we might stress out too much by picking them up completely out of the water
in bringing them into our back of house husbandry area. So as you said, this acts kind of like a penalty
box or another way to think of it is a hospital room for fish for sick fish. So right now we have two residents
in this particular medical pool. We have our juvenile Zebra Shark and we have a Whitespotted
Filefish. Now both of these animals are currently here for the same reason. We’re worried about
their diet. The juvenile Zebra Shark, we’re worried about his diet simply because because
he’s a juvenile and we can’t feed him enough, so if he’s in the big exhibit with everything
else, then getting food to him can be very difficult. So he’s just like any other teenager. You
just pile food into them until they just quit eating. To a certain degree that’s true! There
is a point at which he’s fed too much food. You don’t want to reach that point. However,
he is a growing shark. He’s currently about two and a half feet long, he will get to be
about six feet long, so since he is new and we have not really established a baseline
with him in terms of how much he should be eating and how often, we’ve got him isolated
where we can easily work with him. We’re going to show you some of his really really
big roommates just on the other side of the tank a little bit later because I hear that
we’re going to come back and there are some shark feedings! This is the part of the visit that i’ve been
dreading. The fun part of feeding includes the not so fun part of food prep. I’m going
to give you to Kayla and I’m going to get out of here for a second. Kayla is going to
tell you what she’s doing. Hey guys, so today we are prepping food for
our Gray Reef Sharks, so the big guys in the Ocean Tank. They are going to get a variety
of things. We’re going to give them a couple of slices of Blue Runner, they really like
that, so we want to have something that we know that they’ll eat. We also have some Herring
and Bonito in here to see if they want some of that. These guys are pretty new to the
aquarium. Right now we’re offering them a variety of things to kind of get a feel for
what they like to eat and what they don’t like to eat. All of our fish here are going
to get a variety of seafood all of the time, so throughout the week we have a schedule
of things that we’ll pull. We’ll pull a squid one day, Mackerel another day, Herring, all
of the things that we have. Its all restaurant quality so the fish eat really well here.
They eat better than I do. I mean you’ve got to make sure that they get all of the nutrients
that they need, so in the wild they would eat whatever they can find. So here we have
some live Brine Shrimp. These guys are for our finicky eaters, our pike fish who have really
little mouths and our shrimp fish. They are members of the Syngnathidae family which means
that they have fused jaws, so unlike our big bigger fish that can take lots of bites of things,
these guys have to eat everything whole which is why we have these really tiny food items. So what looks like a snow storm inside of
the tank right now is actually those Brine Shrimp that we just showed you in the cup,
so they’re swimming around for the guys with the little mouths to have breakfast. Kids, let this be an important reminder, even
the fish have to eat their vegetables. This is one of my favorite parts of the day
here at Shreveport Aquarium. This is shark feeding time and who doesn’t like to see a
shark eat. Its like Shark Week every day here. So these guys are swimming around in this large ocean tank right now in what is known as their swimming pattern. And it really is the perimeter
that they swim all the way around, so we’ve got one of our guys up top putting some fish
in their swimming pattern. Let’s take a look at these guys getting their snack for the
afternoon. We’re going to catch up with Planet Aqua Group’s
Director of Husbandry Operations, Chris Spaulding. Chris is the one ringing the dinner bell right now. Let’s take a look and see what he does. Today we’re feeding kind of a variety. We’re
always trying to offer a little variety so it doesn’t get boring for them. A little bit a Bonito,
which is a type of tuna, Blue Runner which is another type of bait fish basically. Sound
pretty good doesn’t it? Like a bite? Uh, we’ve already been through the food prep
thing. Still recovering from that. So what Chris is doing right now is he’s putting
in a special shark vitamin. Just like us they need to have their essential vitamins and
nutrients and they get their One A Day as well, so we want to make sure that both of
these Gray Reef Sharks get their daily vitamin and we’re going to do that by hiding it in
a piece of fish. So this guy right now is taking his medicine. One thing people always ask is in this simulated
ocean environment, do the sharks ever eat their roommates? And the answer is uh, yeah sometimes, but what we do is we make sure that they are not hungry where their roommates don’t look too appetizing, so we’ll feed these guys on a regular basis, they’ll expect the food to
come from us instead of having to pick it off of the next door neighbor. What time did this guy schedule his dentist
appointment…tooth hurty. This is one of our Cownose Rays. These are
the rays that took the trip with us all the way from Marathon Florida up here
to the Shreveport Aquarium. They are happy and healthy in their new environments. They are
going to be part of the Contact Cove touch experience, so you’ll actually be able to
touch these guys and I hear that you’ll be able to take part in the feeding process as
well. This is our Reticulated Whiptail Ray. These
guys came on the shipment from Australia and I think we are feeding them shrimp right now,
so since they are Australian we can say let’s put another shrimp on the barbie. Don’t eat
the GoPro. So one of the craziest things about the Shreveport
Aquarium’s construction plan was it originally did not include the iconic dome and as part
of the downtown Shreveport cityscape, we knew it had to be included so what you’ll see inside
of the dome is a tribute to our corner of the state. Its our Dome on the Bayou where
you can learn about all of the flora, fauna, and fish that live right here in northwest
Louisiana. Welcome to SALT, the riverfront restaurant
right here at the Shreveport Aquarium. SALT stands for Sea, Air, Land, and Time. All critical components to every dish that we have right here on the menu. Its important to us to have sustainable, and local items on the menu to show you what the farmers, the fisherman, and the
families behind the food, right here, put on our plates for us to enjoy and really what
you can make with these excellent building blocks that you can find just over at the
neighbors house. We’ve got dishes here with influences from all over the world, so while
we may be New American, you can expect a taste of the entire globe. So there you have it! Shreveport Aquarium!
We’re just about open. Tickets are on sale now at We want you
to come see us. Its so much fun bringing you guys behind the scenes to take a look at everything
that’s been going on here. Even taking you down on the trip with us down to Florida.
We can’t wait to see you in the next edition. We we’re able to bring it to the front yard here for Backyard Bayou and we’ll be back out and about and we can’t wait to for you to join
us again. This is a little high…should I finish climbing
it now or later?

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