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Sea Center Texas
 

Visiting Sea Center Texas

Artificial Reef Aquarium

Cottonwick

As visitors approach the 5,000 gallon artificial reef aquarium, they will be amazed by the multi-colored sponges, corals, and bryozoans and oysters attached to legs of a miniaturized replica of an offshore oil and gas production platform. Hiding among the legs of the platform are fishes such as rockhinds, shrimp eels, and soapfish. Fish swimming nearby include lookdowns, puffers, pompanos, and jack crevalle.

Texas has been involved in placing artificial reefs since the late 1940’s to provide more fishing opportunities. Objects such as oyster shell, tires, automobiles, construction rubble, clay pipe barges ships and drilling rigs have been employed.

The steel jackets of offshore oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico create dynamic “artificial reef” ecosystems by providing hard substrate and a physical presence. In the mid-1980’s the Rigs to Reef Program was created as an avenue through which obsolete production platforms could be left in the marine environment as artificial reefs. These structures provide attachments sites for invertebrates such as barnacles, oysters, mussels, bryozoans, hydroids, sponges, and corals and provide shelter and food for fish that live around them all year long. Artificial reefs also attract open water species which may be present at the reef for periods of a few hours to a few days.


Coral Reef Aquarium

Clownfish

Opposite the larger Saltmarsh and Coastal Bay aquariums, is a colorful and eye-catching exhibit of fish from tropical waters. This small 200 gallon aquarium displays tropical fish from the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can enjoy viewing clownfish, damsels, cardinal fish, anemones, blue surgeon fish and yellow tangs.