CretAquarium (Thalassocosmos)- Public Aquarium
Since I decided to spend my short vacations in Crete (Herakleion), it was obvious that I would visit the Crete aquarium. This complex is located several km out of the city of Herakleion - actually it is on the same location the US militare base used to be. Once you get off the cat, you see a very well built construction with high standards. Once you enter the complex, you will see a coffee shop at left and a restaurant at right, which will give you the opportunity of a coffee or even lunch before or after your tour.
Having been in many European public aquaria I was expecting to see something equally beautiful and interesting. Once I passed the entrance to the show tanks I saw the usual darkness which brings out the contents of the tanks even better. In some places you would also see some joysticks which allowed you to control the cameras which were in the tanks so you could see the interior from different angles, something which is rarely see in similar constructions. I was nicely surprised to see that there were special tables with the scientific name of every species as well as the common name in more than 5 languages, starting with Greek.
I would like to note that this, seemingly
simple thing is not present in many public tanks in Europe, making the correct
identification of the various species in any of the tanks a very difficult thing
- sometimes even impossible.
While taking the tour, I could sense the perfect scent of Mediterranean. In the next tanks I was impressed by one which housed Homarus gammarus (Common name: European lobster). At first glance this tank seemed indifferent and quite empty, since the only thing you could see was a school of Spicara maena (common name: blotched picarel). A closer examination revealed the tunnels which were created by the lobsters as if they were building their one subway.
Next came a tank dedicated to the common scorpion fish (Scorpaena scrofa; common name: Great rockfish) as well as a large common stingray (Dasyatis Pastinaca). I must confess that taking a good picture of these species is an easy task since they spend their time motionless, which is their natural behavior, too.
See next page for more photos from this tour
Official page : http://www.hcmr.gr/english_site/aquaria/crete/