Exiting the “fish tunnel” at the Fort Kijkduin aquarium, the first thing I see is an open tank that might be described as a “petting zoo with fish”.
The tank is long and it’s possible for children to put their hands inside the water.
There are small crabs that can be picked up, it’s possible to watch flat fish hiding themselves in the sand, achieving an amazingly camouflaged state and the creatures prompt a lot of excitement as they kids discover that they dare to stroke a crab shell back, …or that they don’t at the last moment.
Other tanks line the walls in the same room, and the more you look the more fish and crustations you see.
I looked for a while in one tank for a while whilst I had a rest and was constantly surprised when all of a sudden something near some seemingly plain rocks would suddenly move.
After a while I saw more and more, but am well aware that not every occupant of a tank is active at the same time of day so there were definitely many more that I missed. The colourings and camouflage of the fish speaks to how their lives depend on how well their ability to hide works. Another tank catches attention for another reason: it’s bright pink. Closer inspection reveals that it’s full of seahorses. Several, male ones are visibly pregnant, their little “bumps” clear to see. Like the tanks before now, once my eyes ajust to what I am looking for, I see more and more of them in amongst the leaves and photograph them there.
Information about the various fish in the tanks is displayed on the wall…