Let's Do the Zoo
  (or at least the aquatic parts of it)

 
Amphibians
Axolotls
Caecilian Worm
Chaco Toad
Mud Puppies

Newts General
Newts Eastern
Newts Golden

Newts Mandarin
Salamanders
Suriname Toad
Tadpoles
Terrarium I
Terrarium II
USA Toads
Water Dogs
Misc. Toads

Frogs
Bull
Clawed
Dumpy
Dwarf
Fire-Belly
Floating
Green Tree
Leopard
Pac Man
Pipa pipa
Pyxie
Red-Eyed Tree
Tomato
Misc Frogs 
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV

Misc Frogs V

Animals
Bunnies
Bunnies II 

Cat-N-Around Cat Club
Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2007 Annual Show
Hawkeye Cat Club 2004
Hawkeye Cat Club 2005
Chinchillas
Degus
Ferrets
Ferrets by BOB
Gerbils
Ground Squirrels
Guinea Pig
Hamsters I
Hamsters II
Hamsters III
Hamsters IV
Hamsters V
Hedgehogs
Kittens
Kids & Kittens
Mice
Mice Pets II
Parasites
Rats I
Rats II
Rats III
Rats, Hairless
S-T Opossums
Siberian Chipmunks
Sugar Gliders
Sugar Gliders II
Water Bottles

Bugs
Crabby 500
Crab 04 Results
Centipedes
Cray/Lobsters
Crayfish II
Crayfish III
Cray, Yucatan
Fiddler Crabs
Shrimp, Algae
Shrimp, Aqua
Shrimp, Orange Bee
Shrimp, Red
Shrimp, Flower

Shrimp, Ghost
Shrimp, Rudolph
Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs II
Madagas Roach
Mantids
Mini-Clams
Mini-Crabs
Patriot Crabs
Giant Millipedes
Red Claw Crabs
Reiman Butterfly
Spider, Black Widow
Snail, Apple
Snail, Colombian
Snail, Land
Snail, Malaysian

Snail, Mystery
Snail, Trapdoor 
Scorpions
Tarantulas
Tarantulas II
Tarantula Night 2006
TarantulaWeen VII
TarantulaWeen 9
Walking Stick
Misc. Bugs
Misc Bugs II  

Birds
Breeding Tips

Button Quail
Canaries

Cockatiels
Dove, Diamond
Dove, Ringneck
Finches
Love Birds
Parakeets
Pelleted Foods
Quaker Parrots

Parrot Pictures
Parrot Pix II

Parrot Pix III
Dave's Parrots


Lizards
Alligators
Anoles
Bearded Dragon

Beardies II
Calotes
Chamel, Jackson
Chamel, Panther
Chamel, Veiled
Crested Geckos
Gecko, Golden

Gecko, House
Gecko, Leopard
Gecko, Tokay
Horned "Toads"
Iguana New
Iguana Dragons
Iguana Q&A I
Iguana Q&A II
Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
Knight Anoles
Monitors, Nile

Monitors, Savana
Monitors, Water

Salmonella
Skinks
Skinks Blue-Tongue
Tegus
Uromastyx maliensis
Water Dragon
Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
Misc Lizards 3
Misc Lizards 4
Misc Lizards 5

Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9
Misc Lizards 10


Snakes
Anacondas
Boa, Rosy

Boa, Red-Tail
Corn Snake
Garter Snake
Green Snake
Kids/Corn Snakes
Kids/Red-Tail Boas

Kids at Pet Expo 1

Kids at Pet Expo 2

Kids at Pet Expo 3

Kids at Pet Expo 4

Kids at Pet Expo 5
King & Milk
Python, Ball
Python, Burmese

Snakes Alive
Snakesgiving
Snakesgiving II

Misc Snake Pix
Misc Snakes II

Misc Snakes III  

Turtles/Tortoises
Box, Asian
Box, USA
Races
Snapping

Spiny

Sulcata
Water

Western Painted

Live Foods
Blackworms
Blood Worms
Br Shrimp I
Br
Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
Crayfish 2
Crayfish 3 
Crickets
Dandelions
Daphnia
Earthworms
Feeder Goldfish
Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
Bubbles
Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
Quarantine Tank
Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

Aquatic Plants
Amazon Swords
More Swords
Sword Plants III

Anubias
Anacharis
Aponogetons
A. boivinianus
A. fenestralis
A. ulvaceous
Aquarium/Bog
Banana Plant
Bolbitis
Bunch
Bunch Plants II
Cryptocorynes
Crystalwort
Dwarf Lily
Grassy
Grassy II
Hornwort
Hygrophila
Lace
Java Fern I
Java Fern II
Java Fern III
Java Fern IV
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

Different Watersprite

 
Local Clubs
Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2006

Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2007
Hawkeye State Cat Club 2004
Hawkeye State Cat Club 2005
CIWGA -- Central Iowa Water Garden Association
Iowa Herp Society
MACBS -- Mid America Caged Bird Society
Iowa Aquaria Association
IAA 02.05.05
EIAA -- Eastern Iowa Aquarium Association
MAS 75th Ann. Show
MCA Expo 2006 -- the Fish
MCA Expo 2006 -- the People

Introduction.  Kirk Embree, Senior Aquarist at the Blank Park Zoo, and Matt Brown, M.D. came up with the idea of replacing the Zoo's 700-gallon tank of Iowa sunfish with a 700-gallon tank of African cichlids.  Kirk did the work.  Matt furnished the cash   And Aqualand assisted with the 210 African cichlids at a very attractive bookkeeping fee.  Part of the deal was we'd get a tour of the aquatic parts of the Zoo including the behind the scenes internal workings.  So, one cold day in March we traipsed on over to the Southside and started looking for the newly refurbished African cichlid habitat.  Kirk was in a meeting, so we wandered around finding different stuff for a bit.  LA

LA

No Yellow Brick Road.  As we walked along the concrete path, we saw a quite large display of Madagascar day geckos -- maybe a half-dozen or so.  They had lots of room and showed off very nicely.

LA

Bit of a Jungle.  We strolled thru a jungley room with weird birds in it.   Some were shy.  Others pretty much ignored us.  That plant with the blooms appears in aquariums as the Brazilian sword plant.  They also make excellent terrarium plants.

LA

Bird is the Word.  Not a clue what this strange duck is.  Never saw one like it before.  I'm assuming it's a male because of the crest.

LA

Another Weird Duck.  Here's another un-IDed critter. Never saw one before.   They probably eat these in some countries

LA

This Guy Looks Edible, too.  And that's not all.  Prairie chicken?  Ruffled grouse?  No idea what he is, however he looks edible.

LA

Outside the Window.  We finally saw a bird we recognize -- a peacock in non-display mode.  He was outside on a cold day.  The temp probably affected his attitude adversely.

LA

Back on the Path.  But, wait, there's more.  Still progressing towards the aquatics room, we saw other strange birds.  No doubt there were plenty more we just didn't see.

LA

And Finally a Real Duck.  If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably one of these.  Still, no idea what kind of (probably tasty) duck this is.

LA

Cross Over the Bridge.  We carefully walked across a swinging rope bridge with no trolls beneath it -- just a herd of plate-sized, red-eared turtles.  These are just about as large as they get.

LA

Hole in the Wall Gang.  On the right hand wall we saw a brace of hefty red-tail boa constrictors.  They looked to be about 12-feet long, but we couldn't get in there to measure them.  The state of Iowa and Des Moines both prohibit the possession of snakes over six feet long.

LA

Waterfall Optional.  Since we'd already showered earlier in the day, we walked around this waterfall rather than under it.  The philodendron on the left was nearly 20 feet tall.

LA

Then We found an Amphibian Display.  Easily the ugliest axolotl we've ever seen was loafing in the amphibian room.  There was an equally chubbed-out salamander, too, but only his tail was on display.  He didn't make the cut.

LA

More Bug Eaters.  We also saw several poison-dart frogs.  They were fairly small but they had great colors.  That cricket's about half an inch long.

LA

Working Lab, also.  Set in the wall, you'll see Kirk's area where he breeds saltwater critters -- clownfish and seahorses.  You can see the baby seahorses to the left.  He rears different baby foods in the bubbling containers on those shelves in the back.

LA

Some Saltwater Critters.  In an alcove in the same room, we saw these yellow seahorses.  Seahorses are hard to keep.  They won't eat prepared foods.  They insist on a constant supply of live brine shrimp.  This male looks to be incubating a clutch of eggs.  Kirk breeds these seahorses at the Zoo.  He says they are no longer available in the trade.

LA

Seahorse Colts.  Kirk showed us numerous baby seahorses he's rearing on newly hatched brine shrimp. These measure about an inch and a half.  Born black, they turn yellow as they mature.

LA

Baby "Nemos."  Kirk had some baby clown fishes in this 2.5-galon drum bowl.  They eat newly hatched brine shrimp also.  He referred to this alcove as his fun area.

LA

Jail Bird.  He had isolated this destructive trigger fish in this same alcove.  Apparently this guy was too rough to keep in their huge saltwater display in their aquatic room.

LA

Expectant Father.  Here a male clownfish (Nemo) fans a disc-shaped clutch of eggs.  He says they're fairly regular spawners.  Interesting.  Then we wandered over to the Aquatics Room.

LA

Finally, the Aquatics Room.  This huge Amazon tank catches your eye as you emerge into their main Aquatics Room -- especially when the fog machine kicks into action.  When you get closer (and the fog clears) you can see the full-grown Amazon River fish that fill this tank.

LA

Big Fish.  You get some idea of the size of this tank and its inhabitants from this view.  This is the left half of the front of the tank.  We keep telling you Pacús grow too large to keep.  The five in this tank were about three feet long.  Kirk says to mention that they don't need any more.

LA

Really BEEG Pacús.  These behemoths come right to the front and show off.  They seem to realize their audiences are suitably impressed.

LA

Red-Tail Catfish.  Now we know South American red-tail catfish grow to at least four-feet long.  Very impressive fish.  Pretty.  Not the most practical fish to keep at home.

LA

Dwarf Caiman.  Measuring six feet in length, these guys are nasty.  Inspite of his grin, he'd rather bite than look at you.  He's definitely not in the same tank.  Check out that dental work.  Another caiman was loafing in the water. This smiley little guy was looking for something to bite.  Betcha he'd accommodate several foot-long pacús.

LA

Massive Saltwater Tank.  This huge saltwater aquarium takes up this entire wall.  It's a bit murky here because it was just cleaned.  To clean it, Kirk dons a wet suit and diving equipment to jump in and git 'er done.  The shower equipment to remove the saltwater is upstairs on the second floor.  There's an entire support system for all these displays upstairs.

LA

Finally, That Which We Sought.  Here it is -- 700 gallons of water, rocks, and 210 African cichlids, all from Lake Malawi..  Impressive.  They currently average about two inches each.  Lots of room to grow and beat on each other.  About a dozen species of varying colors.  They will grow into an excellent microcosm representing the variety of life beneath the surface of Lake Malawi.

LA

Take a Close Look.  African cichlids like to show off.  You can get an eyeful at our Des Moines Blank Park Zoo -- even in cold weather.  I don't know how much it costs (we get in free).  If you'd like a look at the "back stage," it's upstairs on the second floor.  You can't go there, but you can take a virtual tour in Let's Do the Zoo II -- currently still in the works.  LA

LA

Let's Do the Zoo II Preview.  Also in the Zoo's Aquatics Room you'll see a large columnar column of these surrealistic jellyfish under black light.  Nearly invisible under normal light, the black light enables you to observe these alien appearing creatures in action.  Zoo II will give you more details about these strange looking critters and include some breeding details -- plus other behind the scenes info and pictures.  LA
 

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Pleco Costly VII
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Cichlids
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Pond Info 
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