Coastal Tank fish by Garold W. Sneegas
 

Visiting Sea Center Texas

Coastal Bay Aquarium

Coastal Bay Aquarium

Coastal Bay Aquarium contains species such as
Hardhead catfish, Southern flounder, Black drum,
and Atlantic croaker

At the Coastal Bay Aquarium, species such as redfish, hardhead catfish, black drum, and grunts cruise over an oyster reef bottom. The 2,200 gallon exhibit represents an important feature of the Texas coast- its bay or estuary systems. Actually, although Texas bays are not commonly referred to as estuaries, they fit the description very well. An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal body of water that has a river entering the system at one end and an open connection to ocean waters at the other end. Texas bays (Sabine Lake, Galveston Bay, Matagorda Bay, San Antonio Bay, Copano-Aransa Bays, Corpus Christi Bay and the Laguna Madre) are broad, shallow coastal estuaries that are nearly isolated from the Gulf of Mexico by barrier island peninsulas. The average depths of the bays ranges from 1.2m - 2.4m.

Atlantic croaker

Atlantic croaker

Texas coastal bays serve as important marine nurseries to thousands of plants and animals. Many types of fish, turtles, seabirds and mammals are not permanent residents of these estuaries, but spend only part of their life cycles there. Many aquatic species breed and produce young in the Gulf of Mexico, then the newly spawned fish or shellfish migrate to the bays. One reason estuaries are such good nursery areas is because they are fed by nutrient-rich waters from rivers. For more information the benefits of freshwater inflows, read An Estuary's Need for Freshwater Inflow.

Seahorse

Seahorse

Tropical Fish Aquarium

This 250 gallon exhibit features corals, invertebrates and fish. The favorite among visitors is the seahorses that can be seen with their tails wrapped around the tubes of feather duster worms and clinging to the edges of corals. Observant visitors will notice sea stars, sea cucumbers and tiny hermit crabs living among the leather, cup and star corals.