following appeared June 5 and also on June 10, 2007 in the
are putting creatures at
West Palm aquarium on display 24/7
By Ivette M. Yee
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted June 5 2007
West Palm Beachˇ Fish make
Just ask Rick Newman, a South Florida Science
Museum board member who recently installed Web cameras in the museum's
The spacious aquarium features 25 tanks with 470
fish and coral, representing 130 species. The webcams allow anyone to
see the fish in action any time, day or night, by logging on to
In one tank, the live "Gator Cam" spies
on two baby alligators with their heads floating above water. In
another, the "Shark Cam" captures the goings-on in the
museum's Pacific Ocean tank, which has yellow tangs, panther grouper,
sharks and more.
"I've always wanted to put a camera in these
tanks," Newman said. "It will allow people who are homebound
or handicapped the opportunity to see them. The museum comes to
Newman spent $1,000 on the cameras, for which he
constructed waterproof casings. The museum recently expanded its
aquarium area with more tanks and added signs to teach visitors about
The Pacific tank's camera catches a big Honeycomb
moray eel peeking out of coral and a plump puffer fish swimming from
one side to another. Sometimes, Web visitors may have to wait to see
the fish in action. But many of them are fond of the camera; they
linger and stare right into the lens, Newman said. A number of the
fish are nocturnal and tend to move about when the sun sets.
Museum officials said the cameras are educational
tools. Aquatic researchers can log on to the museum's Web site and
study fish behavior. The cameras' infrared capabilities let anyone see
the fish at night. The technology has also helped catch after-hours
mischief in the aquarium.
"Once in a while we have a bully in our
tank," said Lee Dashiell, aquarium curator. "We had this
horn shark and he wouldn't come out until night, but when he did, he
would pick on [another] shark. Because of the cameras, we were able to
catch him red-handed on tape."
Dashiell said the museum will be adding more
webcams. By next month, fish feeding times will be shared on the
Internet for those who log on. The Palm Beach Zoo has also contacted
Newman to install a webcam in its tiger display, he said.
Already, visitors are enjoying the new feature.
"I like this," said Adam Ketchum, 10, of
Boynton Beach, who recently visited the museum. "I can see the
fish even when the museum's closed."
The South Florida Science
Museum is located at:
4801 Dreher Trail N., West Palm Beach.
For more info, call 561-832-01988
or visit www.SFSM.org