Exciting news! This week, the Adventure Aquarium team successfully released nine dolphinfish (also known as Mahi-Mahi) into our 760,000 gallon Ocean Realm exhibit. In addition to the nine currently on exhibit, the team plans to release an additional three before the end of this year.
The fish were moved from a holding system area to their new home during a transfer carefully monitored by Adventure Aquarium biologists and veterinary staff. During the process, the tank holding the dolphinfish was crane-lifted three stories to the top of our Ocean Realm exhibit.
The fish were then carefully transferred by biologists and placed in a temporary holding area that is connected to the exhibit until they were evaluated and ready to be released into exhibit.
When ready to go into Ocean Realm, biologists slowly and carefully used a net (like a moving wall) to gently encourage the fish to swim out into their new home when they were ready. This is really important since the sharks that live in the exhibit can detect the smallest vibrations that an excited fish may give off.
“The dolphinfish are doing really great,” said Husbandry Director Marc Kind. “They’re healthy; swimming strong and comfortably, and eating well -which tell us that they are acclimating to their new surroundings.”
Watch a quick video of the release, captured by Husbandry Director Marc Kind:
The addition of the surface-dwelling subtropical/tropical dolphinfish, native to the Atlantic, is an effort by the Adventure Aquarium team to provide guests a glimpse into colorful sea life teeming in local waters.
Said Kind, “Our goal is to return Ocean Realm to its former theme of a pelagic environment. This environment is neither close to shore nor near the bottom – it’s the open sea. This exhibit tank was specifically designed to have the potential to house animals that live in these environments. These are species that guests would never see at many aquariums.”
Known as Mahi-Mahi, meaning “strong” in Hawaiian, dolphinfish are found in off-shore, temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Their familiar name often gets them mistaken for the same-sounding mammal, but dolphinfish are – in fact – much different than their marine cousins.
You can easily spot them inside Ocean Realm during your next visit courtesy of their beautiful coloration – a sort of green/yellow/blue hue. They also have a distinctively long dorsal fin that extends for nearly the entire length of their bodies. A fast-growing fish, dolphinfish can reach average lengths of three feet! And because their body is slightly slender and long, they make for fast swimmers – known to swim as fast as over 55 miles per hour!