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Fishy Behavior in the Tennessee Aquarium

Whether you are an avid angler looking for a new hook on making "The Big Catch," or you think the sport is a little fishy, you will enjoy watching the spectacular natural behavior displayed by fish at the Tennessee Aquarium. By noting their habits, you can get a new angle on how to reel in a whopper next time you go fishing.

Canyon Entrance
Notice how the brook, brown and rainbow trout in the Appalachian Cove Forest exhibit swim against the rapid current created by water passing over the rocks and back eddies. You can count on hooking a trout in fast moving waters or behind rocks where they go to rest.

Mississippi Delta Country
You will find sunfish fanning their tails in the rocks at the far end of this exhibit. They are nesting. When they're not performing parental duties, notice how they sit motionless under ledges or other sheltering debris. This display can also be observed among sunfish in the Nickajack Lake exhibit. In Nickajack, notice how sunfish align themselves with vertical structures such as pilings and tree trunks.

Gulf of Mexico
Notice how grunts hover among the mangrove roots which provide shelter from larger, more aggressive neighbors. Also, note the schooling behavior of the game species in this exhibit, including crevalle jacks and yellowtail snappers. Crevalle jacks seldom linger in one spot. Most often you will find them "running" at top speed. These fierce, stubborn and dynamic gamefish can be hooked with a lure gliding through the water at a high rate of speed.

Nickajack Lake
Pay special attention to the difference in behavior between the two species of catfish. The flathead catfish is most often perched atop a rock surrounded by branches, and her big blue counterparts are usually found in the open waters far below. While the flathead is a sedentary species, the blue catfish are on the move and rarely found resting on the bottom. Also, observe the striped and hybrid striped bass as they maneuver themselves in the current of water entering the tank.

The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is the largest freshwater aquarium in the world. Built with private contributions, the Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $12.95 per adult and $6.95 per child, ages 3-12. Advance tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-800-262-0695.


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