aquariumheaderaglantis__large.png

We’ve Moved!

Aglantis has found a new home, but we don’t want to spoil the surprise! Rest assured, our fishy friends are enjoying their new location. Stay tuned and follow Texas Sea Grant on social media for the big reveal.

The Tank

Aglantis, a 300-gallon saltwater aquarium, is located on the lower level of the Texas A&M University Memorial Student Center under the Memory Cloud. It is maintained by Texas Sea Grant to educate people of all ages in the Brazos Valley about the Gulf of Mexico and its connected waters. Established in 2013 as an Earth Day gift to the Brazos Valley, the tank is home to many species of fish and invertebrates. The residents were made Aglantis species ambassadors to ito promote ocean awareness and inspire the preservation of the world’s oceans for future generations.

The aquarium is 10 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep. It was created and designed by The Fish Gallery of Houston.

Aglantis Ambassadors

Aglantis contains animals from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Scroll down to learn more about our residents and their wild counterparts!

 

Banded Coral Shrimp, Stenopus hispidus

BandedShrimp_KimberDeSalvo.png

Description: The banded coral shrimp is also known as the “boxing shrimp” because of the large pincers on its third set of legs. It often holds its pinchers up like a boxer ready to fight.

Habitat: Found throughout the tropics in the Indo-pacific from South Africa and the Red Sea all the way to Australia. They can also be found in the western Atlantic from the north coast of South America and southern Florida to Bermuda and are commonly found in the Caribbean.

Diet: Scavenger species. Will feed on algae, detritus, carrion, and parasites.

Behavior: Very shy but aggressive towards competitors. Juveniles pair up and stay together for years. It has the ability to break off its claws and regenerate them.

Bio: John David Crowstacean spends much of his time behind the rocks, but will come out during feeding times. He’s named after the famous Aggie Former Student and Heisman winner John David Crow.

 

Bluehead Wrasse, Thalassoma bifasciatum

Bluehead-Wrasse - Aglantis

Description: This species gets its name from its blue head separated by black and white bars. The rest of its body is either green, yellow, or blue.

Habitat: Caribbean Sea and its adjacent waters (Florida, Bermuda, and the Gulf of Mexico)

Diet: A generalist forager that eats a variety of prey. Known to forage for small invertebrates and crustaceans on the reef’s surface, target individual zooplankton in the water above the reef surface, and clean the parasites off of larger species. 

Behavior: This species is capable of switching sex and has a very complex mating system that has been the topic of scientific study for decades. 

Bio: Ol’ Sarge is named after Texas A&M’s veteran mascot and comic character.

 

Bubble Tip Anemone, Entacmaea quadricolor

Bubble Tip Anemone

Description: Although they are sometimes called the “flowers of the sea”, anemones are actually animals! Bubble tip anemones have tiny algae that live inside them (called zooxanthellae) that can photosynthesize energy from the sun. 

Habitat: Indo-Pacific area, including Red Sea

Diet: Primarily a filter feeder, it will try to eat whatever comes in contact with its stinging tentacles. It also eats the waste and debris cleaned from the surface of any clownfish that it hosts. Ours gets fed a piece of squid twice a week.

Behavior: Bubble Tip Anemones are known to wander around the tank. Once it finds a spot it likes, it uses its pedal disk to hold on. 

Bio: Kyle is a new addition to the tank and likes to move around a lot. Once he grows large enough he will hopefully host one of our clownfish pairs!

 

Caribbean Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus

Caribbean Blue Tang - Aglantis

Description: Juvenile blue tangs go from a bright yellow to a pastel blue to a dark blue as they reach adulthood.

Habitat: Found mostly in Caribbean waters around the reefs.

Diet: It is a constant grazer that feeds on algae and seagrass.

Behavior: In the wild they have a symbiotic relationship with green sea turtles where they remove parasites from the turtles skin. Juveniles are solitary while adults will live in pairs or small groups.

Bio: Named after the heroine of the 2001 film Atlantis, Kida is naturally curious and can be found moving in and out of the rocks, keeping an eye on all the tank’s affairs.

 

Coral Beauty, Centropyge bispinosa

Coral Beauty - Aglantis

Description: The coral beauty is a dwarf angelfish species, which means it is smaller than other species like the queen angelfish. It is predominantly orange with purple barring, but some individuals are predominantly purple.

Habitat: Native to the Indo-Pacific from East Africa through French Polynesia to Lord Howe Island in the South Pacific

Diet: Algae

Behavior: Appears individually or in small harems of 3-7 individuals.

 

Engineer Goby, Pholidichthys leucotaenia

Engineer Goby - Aglantis

Description: Despite its name, it is actually not a goby or a blenny, but rather one of two species in the family of Pholidichthyidae. Juveniles of this species resemble the venomous, striped catfish. This is a form of deceptive coloration called Batesian mimicry, in which a harmless species mimics a toxic or dangerous one.

Habitat: Shallow lagoons and on coastal reefs in the west-central Pacific Ocean

Diet: Carnivorous, prefers mysis and brine shrimp

Behavior: Adults live secretly in burrows and will create intricate tunnels in the sand, hence the name “engineer goby.”

Bio: Zach can be found on the right side of the tank under rocks. He likes to poke his head out from time to time but he always comes out for food! His name comes from our Zachry engineering complex, which is the largest building campus.

  

Flame Hawkfish, Neocirrhitus armatus

Image-Coming-Soon-1.png

Description: The flame hawkfish is a hardy, little fish with a bright red body and dark markings.

Habitat: Australia, Fiji, Cook Islands, and other west and south Pacific waters.

Diet: Carnivorous with a diet preference for small crustaceans, some sessile invertebrates (immovable, like coral), and invertebrates that can move.

Behavior: It is a predatory bottom-dweller that lacks a swim bladder so it sit on top of rocks or corals to keep watch for any prey that swims too close. Hawkfish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning all individuals are born female. When there is a group of females with no male, the most dominant one will change sex and become the male.

Bio: Fuego hangs out around the left side of the tank and can be seen hopping around the rocks and zooming along the bottom.

 

Lightning Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus

Lightning Maroon Clownfish

Description: The lightning maroon clownfish is a wild strain of Premnas biaculeatus (maroon clownfish). Only two specimens were collected from the wild in Papua New Guinea. All Maroon lightning clownfish are descendants of those two collected. 

Habitat: Two were found in New Guinea. All others are only captive bred. 

Diet: Omnivorous, it will eat zooplankton and algae.

Behavior: It is typically the most aggressive of all the clownfish species. The Lightning clowns we have are pretty nice so far! They like to move around the tank and hang near the top.

Bio: Our two clowns can be found all over the tank near the top. They haven’t paired up yet, but once one switches to female they will probably pick a spot and make it their nest.

 

One Spot Foxface, Siganus unimaculatus

One Spot Foxfish - Aglantis

Description: The foxface rabbitfish has a distinctive long snout. It is yellow and white with black bands and one black spot. Its tall yellow spines in its dorsal fin have venom capable of delivering a painfuls sting. 

Habitat: Found on coral reefs in the Western Pacific and Western Philippines. 

Diet: Algae growing on dead bases of branching coral

Behavior: By the time an individual reaches 3.9 inches (10 cm) in length, it will pair up with another individual. These pairs are believed to mate for life. The adults are typically seen in pairs, while juveniles tend to form schools and seek shelter in coral.

Bio: Foxy and Felix are a mated pair and can often be found hanging around the tank snacking on algae. Sometimes if they get startled, they will flare up their dorsal fins to show off their spines.

 

Orange Clownfish, Amphiprion percula

clownfish.jpg

Description: Orange clownfish are famous for their bright orange bodies and three white stripes. They are very popular in the aquarium trade. However, they are wild-caught which puts a serious strain on wild populations of clownfish.

Habitat: Pacific and Indian Ocean on coral reefs

Diet: Algae, zooplankton, worms, and small crustaceans.

Behavior: In the wild, these fish engage in a symbiotic relationship with a multitude of anemone species, giving them the nickname anemonefish. They develop immunity to the toxin in the anemones by touching the tentacles with different parts of their bodies unitl they build up a layer of mucus.

Bio: Mr. and Mrs. Sharp have a nest in the back right corner of the tank, so they stay very close to the nest. Sometimes, if you look closely, you can find the eggs!

 

Pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides

Pinfish-Aglantis

Description: Pinfish are a common baitfish species that can be found along the shallow waters of the gulf coast. They are vital to the fishing industry and ecosystem because they are one of the main prey items for sportfish, such as speckled trout, red drum, and grouper. 

Habitat: Coastal waters from Cape Cod, MA south through the Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula.

Diet: Shrimp, fish eggs, insect larvae, amphipods, and plant material. 

Behavior: Pinfish are notorious bait stealers and are often used as live bait by anglers fishing for larger fish. Pinfish begin their lives as carnivores but as they mature they become completely herbivorous.

Bio: Usually, Chomper will come to you, just hoping for a bite to eat. He definitely earns his name at meal time!

 

Queen Angelfish, Holacanthus ciliaris

Queen Angelfish - Aglantis

Description: These colorful fish get their name from the black spot on their head that resembles a crown. As juveniles, they are mostly blue, but as they grow older, the blue is replaced with a stunning yellow. In the wild, queen angelfish can grow to be 18 inches in length.

Habitat: Found mostly in the Caribbean, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico waters.

Diet: It eats a variety of marine invertebrates including sponges, tunicates, corals, plankton and algae

Behavior: Queen angelfish are territorial but are known to set up feeding stations. This is where smaller fish will eat parasites off of larger fish in exchange for not getting eaten.

Bio: As the ruler of the tank, Queenie is usually spotted cruising her kingdom and visiting her subjects.

 

Royal Gramma, Gramma loreto

Royal Gramma - Aglantis

Description: The royal gramma is also called the fairy basslet and is a very popular aquarium species due to their peaceful nature. They are half violet/purple and half vibrant yellow.

Habitat: Western Central Atlantic and Caribbean 

Diet: Zooplankton and phytoplankton

Behavior: This species likes to hide in coral caves and can be territorial to other species. They often position themselves with their bellies toward a solid substrate, so they can often be seen hovering upside down or at other strange angles. 

Bio: Mike and Ike can be fairly shy and are usually found darting in and out of rock hidey holes and crevices.

 

Sailfin Blenny, Salarius fasciatus

Sailfin Blenny - Aglantis

Description: The sailfin blenny is a smaller species with a blunt head and large eyes. It is also called the algae Blenny, jewelled blenny, and the Lawnmower Blenny.

Habitat: Native to the waters of Fiji and Indonesia.

Diet: As some of its other names suggest, this species is an algae eater and is known for its ability to help keep aquariums free of algae overgrowth.

Behavior: Like most blennies, this species lacks a swim bladder which is why it perches on rocks or scoots along the bottom.

Bio: Aglantis has two sailfin blennys named Howdy and Hullaballoo after our favorite Aggie jargon. Look for them hiding among the rocks and keeping our tank clean of algae!

 

Yellow Tang, Zebrasoma flavescens

Spirit yellow tang.jpg

Description: The yellow tang is one of the most popular aquarium fish due to its bright, yellow color. Like all tangs and surgeonfish, it has a sharp spine on its tail that its uses to defend itself from predators. This spine resembles a surgeon’s scalpel, hence the name surgeonfish.

Habitat: Range includes the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. 

Diet: Algae and invertebrates.

Behavior: Yellow tangs are algae feeders that play a crucial role in coral reef ecosystems. By keeping algae in check, they prevent fast growing seaweeds from choking out the slower growing corals.

Bio: Named after the hero of the 2001 film Atlantis, Milo Thatch loves to explore and discover new patches of algae.

Aglantis Sea Lessons

K-12 STEM Literacy and Development Materials

Texas Sea Grant is excited to announce a new K-12 education outreach initiative to match our STEM Education strategic goals. We plan to foster the imagination and the STEM literacy of Texas students, through the periodic distribution of educational material packets. These will be lesson plans, worksheets, and other great classroom material on a wide variety of topics that are free to use. 

Teachers and Students are welcomed to download and use these resources in their classrooms. 

 

Educational Material Packets


Climate & Debris 
Whales
Meteorology
Climate Change and Oceans
Geography and Exploration
Marine Animals and Habitats One
Marine Animals and Habitats Two
Marine Animals and Habitats Three
Marine Animals and Habitats Four
Marine Animals and Habitats Five
Marine Animals and Habitats Six
Sea Turtles
Solar Power

Sponsors

 
 
 Mac Resources Logo 

Urban Aquatics logo
The Office of the Provost is the sponsor of the Ocean Awareness Initiative making the Aglantis aquarium possible.
 
Chloe Dannenfelser

For More Information:

Chloe Dannenfelser

Program Assistant

cdannenfelser16@tamu.edu