S.E.A. Aquarium

If you’ve been reading my blog for some years, you might have realised by now that I like zoos and I like aquariums. (This renders me somewhat incomprehensible to my young Singaporean cousins who show minimal interest in zoos and aquariums.) For reference: Aquaria KLCC in KL (which I’ve been to about three times already), Deep Sea World in Edinburgh, and the Tokyo Sea Life Park. And now, the new S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore!

The S.E.A. Aquarium is supposedly the world’s largest aquarium. I don’t know how true that is, but it’s certainly larger than Deep Sea World and Aquaria. Probably bigger than the Tokyo aquarium because of the Open Ocean display, but as I don’t have a habit of measuring tanks and counting fish and corals, I can’t really say. It certainly felt a little bigger… But then Tokyo’s had the outdoor section with the penguins, so that does mess with my sense of size as well.

I went to this new one last weekend and whiled away slightly more than three hours there. Mind you, this is three hours without my camera. I left my camera at home on purpose because I knew I didn’t have all day to sit around and stare at fish, and if I had my camera with me, I just know 3 hours wouldn’t be satisfactory. So the camera stayed home and I made do with my iPhone. It was nice in a way – freed me up to appreciate the fish with my own eyes instead of constantly gazing through a viewfinder.

An aquarium prerequisite: the glass tunnel.

I really did not notice that one section had a glass floor. I only realised the fact when I overheard some people passing by me remarking on it. And look, there was a small shovelnose ray swimming on the bottom!
(If I was alone in there, I would have just ended up lying on the floor and watching fish swim underneath…)

This was cool. They had a few tanks with “magnifying lenses” built in so that you could see the small fish better… like these seahorses.

Coral reef tanks are always so pretty~

Giant spider crabs! Hugeee.
(This photo is in black and white because I thought the original blue was too blinding…)

A pair of nautilus

No, just little blue sea jellies in a tank where the lights most annoyingly kept changing colour – bright green, bright pink, electric blue… I was always relieved when the light turned white because I stayed at that tank staring at the small jellies (smaller than my palm, I should think) for quite a long while and the colours made my eyes hurt.

When the lights went white, it was much easier to look at them. Jellyfish are somehow mesmerising to watch.

Sea nettles with long trailing tentacles were popular with aquarium visitors. I think the tank is maybe a little too small for these jellyfish, because several of them had their tentacles entangled…

Poor tangled sea nettles.

Moon jellies look so ethereal… and rather like liquid frosted glass.

Moon jellies, side view.

Upsidedown sea jellies. I never knew such things existed.

After the jellyfish displays, I came upon the Open Ocean tank.

If I was an anime character, I would have had sparkles in my eyes. I gasped and all I could think was: LOOK AT THE BIG RAYS. IS THAT A MANTA RAY?? LEOPARD SHARK! EAGLE RAY? LOOK AT THE RAAAAYSSSS.

Okay, it isn’t as though I’ve never seen rays in an aquarium before. There were some small blue spotted rays in one of the reef displays in this aquarium, but these… These were big rays. Manta rays, eagle rays, stingrays, shovelnose rays (that I kept thinking of as shovelnose sharks but later found out they were rays), and others I can’t remember…

Look at the size of that ray! Not sure what species this is. A stingray of some sort?

I love how these looked like a flock of birds in flight.
Cownose rays, if I remember correctly. Not a very elegant name, but oh, such elegant motions! I liked watching this group “fly” round the tank.

A reef manta ray glides past.

They didn’t have many reef manta rays but these were certainly the ones that really stood out. At first I thought: Ooooh manta rays! …But they’re kinda small, aren’t they? They look like mantas though… Upon checking the info displays, I found they were reef mantas, which explained the size difference (the giant oceanic manta rays are the biggest rays in the world, reef mantas are the second largest).

Reef manta ray and an admiring audience. (And a whipray of some sort tries to grab some attention too.)

A whipray zooms past. I can’t decide if this is a leopard whipray or a reticulate whipray… Ugh, their patterns are so similar! (And the aquarium had both leopard and reticulate whiprays.)

I’m pleased with how this shot turned out, actually. I was trying for a panning shot and it’s actually not half bad, all things considered.

Goliath grouper taking a nap beside a couple of leopard sharks.

And at another spot, a shovelnose ray and a whipray (leopard or reticulated, I don’t know) take a nap side by side. Lots of sleepy fish around. haha

Possibly my favourite shot of the day. A reef manta glides through the water and there were no other fish in the way! (There were some inconvenient reflections on the glass but I Photoshopped them away~ haha)

It was also one of my last photos from the Open Ocean tank.

(I just checked the timestamp on my photos. It seems that I underestimated the amount of time I spent staring at jellyfish and rays. I thought I spent about 20 minutes with the jellyfish and a little over half an hour at the Open Ocean tank, but turns out that I had at least half an hour of jellyfish time and one whole hour at the Open Ocean tank. Huh. I’m surprised at myself. o_O )

After peeling myself away from the Open Ocean tank, it was back to reef tanks.

Small prawns of some sort. Very colourful.

Moray eels! If there weren’t so many people crowded around the tank or if the tank had been bigger, I would’ve spent more time watching the moray eels… or not. They were one of the last displays and I knew I was running short on time already, having lingered so long with the jellyfish and the rays. heh

Conclusion: I like this aquarium and would love to go back again. The Open Ocean tank is calling me~

Got anything to add or say? :D