Unicornfish chaser

If only incidentally; up close, they are truly amazing. [Video: Jon Rawlinson - Music: Barcelona]


  1. That video begs for a ‘Mystery Science Theater’ sound track.

    One million times better than fish torture, thnx!!

  2. If you have the capability, download the mp4 and watch in full screen.. :0
    (It was choppy for me in youtube’s flash shell.. Perfect in quicktime)

  3. Looks like this is the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, in Japan. Second largest in the world after the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. USA! USA! USA!

    No idea what a unicorn fish is, but this video is spectacular.

  4. Note that this is the second-largest aquarium of its kind. The largest can be found in Atlanta, GA — home of the only captive whale sharks outside of Asia. They live in a 6.3 million gallon tank.

    1. I’ve been. The whale sharks are real, and they’re SPECTACULAR.

      Best part: In Atlanta, you view the aquarium from the inside, rather than from the edges. There’s a glass tunnel that goes right through the thing. So those whale sharks are swimming by over your head.

  5. What the whaaat? I convinced myself it was fake before reading the comments. I’d accept the giant manta rays, but four whale sharks in the same tank?! Madness. And to think, this morning I woke up and was absolutely sure it was impossible to keep whale sharks in captivity. One boggled mind, coming right up!

  6. Am I the only one who sat waiting for the narwhal? If you’re going to call it a unicornfish chaser, I think a Narwhal would be mandatory.

  7. Unicorn fish aren’t even close to the coolest thing in that tank. Mantas, whale sharks… it is the awesome.

    Though I kept expecting a robot to start criticising the lack of plot.

  8. Not to be That Guy but, Here’s the link to much higher quality version of that same video that Mr Rawlinson posted on Vimeo:

    [Tip: just double click for full screen]

    Super stuff… I would easily buy a one hour video of this to fall asleep to every night.

  9. Heh. Delighted to see this make its way onto Boing Boing. I have a YouTube playlist that consists of this video repeating ten times. I call it SoothingFish and play it in the background at work whenever stressed.

  10. This brought back memories of the Atlanta aquarium I visited earlier in the year. I tried to explain the awesomeness of the whale sharks to my partner. Now I can show him this video :)

  11. I don’t think whale sharks last too long in captivity but not as short lived as great white sharks. And holly jeezus it looks crowded.

  12. The fish are beautiful to look at, but there is still something very sad about the way they have to swim around in circles. Even though the tank looks enormous to humans, I believe it is still resrictive to some of the creatures in there. Thanks for sharing though.

  13. yup, was hoping for narwhal..

    Then again giant manta rays and huuuuuuge whalesharks aren’t bad either

  14. This is one of the saddest posts ever. Beyond the surface of “cute” lies the sad truths, that that is tank full of endangered species, that are now condemned to live a life is a minute prison. As kiddrs01, stevecopley and others have pointed out this not much fun for the fish themselves.
    There are huge efforts under way to stop similar things happening like this one:(http://www.rwsentosa.com/en_marinelifepark.html). Creating a bigger market for them buy ignoring the damage these places do and posting this as cute is very damaging to conservation efforts.
    Rob Beschizza:
    You probably meant this post in a cute and innocent way, without knowing about the dire state our oceans are in, or what cruelty is done to these animals. How many whale sharks do you injure or kill in order to get a few healthy looking ones for your aquarium?
    Anyway, this ain’t cute, because it’s sort of the reverse of getting pleasure from watching an “elephant man” in human freak show. You get pleasure from a Disney version of the world’s oceans in your “health show” while out there the coral reeves are bleaching,the oceans are fished empty, and fisheries commissions look the other way. What are you having for lunch, blue-fin sushi?
    Angry now.

    1. I don’t go to zoos because the tigers make me sad and angry, so I get your point.

      But hey, where can I watch an “elephant man” in human freak show? This idea intrigues me and I want to subscribe to your newsletter!

      Elephant men need jobs, and being stared at by crowds is the highest-status job in the english-speaking world – cf: movie stars, high-status politicians, standup comedians, video-bloggers, etc. I wanna go stare at some elephant men, straight up.

    2. Whoa.

      I think this aquarium is completely justified. Do you realize the huge numbers of kids who see this and want to become marine biologists? Or even just gain some sort of respect for the ocean and environment? Interest, awareness, and knowledge from this sort of thing generates attitudes of concern for the environment and motivation to improve or maintain environmental quality. This is the cornerstone of environmental education- which is really the best hope for helping the environment.

      1. Do you realize the huge numbers of kids who see this and want to become marine biologists?

        Wait till you see the anthroparium.

  15. Thanks to coffeemoon for putting it better than i did… There’s such a huge disassociation for us with these animals It makes it difficult to recognise any emotional/physical effects they may be experiencing. But we really need to make an effort and address this one, not gawp at it.

    For the record, i think there’s no hard and fast lines with this one – I’ll bet there’s plenty of fish in great aquariums that are as happy as pigs in muck. But this is so obviously way beyond the line.

  16. Holy hopscotching christ these kinds of aquariums allow for conservation efforts to further their cuase, yes it would be better if they were in the wild, but your average person doesn’t give a rip about this type of thing until they are put in a room looking at an amazing creature with a drooling, jaw dropped look on their face. Chill out people, or well really just one person. And I’m having spotted owl for lunch with a bald eagle chaser, then after at least 45 minutes (don’t want to cramp up you know), I’m gonna go beat some fur seals what good, Canada style!

  17. Large animals, like the whale sharks, rays, and even the jacks you see are migratory animals…they need space (hundreds if not thousands of miles!) to move. Otherwise, they become disoriented and do not fair well. When the sharks die in Atlanta (they typically don’t survive for more than a year), new ones are just shipped in from overseas. If you really want to see these majestic animals, volunteer for tagging programs where you can see (and possibly swim with) the whale sharks in their natural habitat.

  18. Coffeemoon, and everyone else too: yes, it is sad that these sea creatures have been taken out of their homes and are confined to these spaces. However, in the not-too-distant future, the oceans may be complete wastelands, due primarily to ocean acidification. This is even more sad. But it is very likely given current data and analysis. With that in mind, would you rather all these forms of sea life went extinct, or that we learn how to keep them alive in captivity?

    1. kthugha,
      my point is that these places are commercial. They will write whatever keeps the critics at bay on their banners, but that doesn’t distract the fact that their primary goal is revenue, not conservation. This is not a charity, and they portrait a very unhealthy image our oceans. To promote such companies for a perceived cute factor, distracts from the damage they do, both by captivating these animals, and in our minds by portraying fake images of nature and our relationship with it.

  19. kthugha, your comment seems a little knee-jerk (and somewhat sensationalist). Are you being serious or playing devils advocate?

    1. Seems to me that kthuga is just more acquainted with earth science than you are, kiddr01. The oceans are dying, and will experience an extinction event comparable to the end of the age of the dinosaurs if current trends are not reversed. This is fact. Since people refuse to learn how to exist in harmony with the existing ecosystem (which would mean they’d have to stop buying plastic trucks that poop out dominoes) zoos and aquariums will probably be the last refuge of all the large sea creatures currently extant.

      Is it “sensationalism” when you warn someone of a freight train bearing down on their children? Or simple reporting of observation in hopes of positive action?

      If I were to point out that the ultra-capitalist right wing devoutly hopes for a future where breathable air must be bought and sold, and that’s why they love pollution so much, that might be sensationalism, since it’s not an independently verifiable fact. Just saying that all the large sea creatures are most likely doomed is not sensationalism.

  20. I think the good many these aquariums do outweigh the relative discomfort these few fish may or may not be exposed to.

    How many kids will have their worlds turned upside down when they get a glimpse of the world under the water? How many are inspired to grow up to get marine biology degrees? To work to save the planets oceans?

    I know my visit to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium in California changed the way I see the world, inspired me to get scuba certified, and pay attention to the affect the seafood I eat has on the environment.

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