Long-time friend of the Two Oceans Aquarium, incredible underwater photographer Geoff Spiby, recently paid a visit to the diverse and beautiful animals of our I&J Ocean Exhibit. Simulating an Indian Ocean rocky reef environment, here are 10 favourite animals that will delight, enamour and fascinate you on your next Aquarium visit, or which you might meet while scuba diving in our exhibits.
1. Longnose butterflyfish
The longnose butterflyfish might be quite small compared to the other dwellers of the I&J Ocean Exhibit, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in energy. This flash of bright yellow zooms about the exhibit, always on the lookout for the next morsel.
2. Semicircle angelfish
This shy semicircle angelfish might be a sneaky predator, but that doesn't mean it isn't colourful. Some people think that the blue markings on its sides resemble Arabic script, giving it its alternate name of "Koran angelfish". What do the markings look like to you? You're going to have to get close to find out.
3. Black musselcracker
The "old men of the Aquarium", the black musselcrackers are truly some of our most iconic animals. Not only do they resemble old men with their droopy noses, but as this close up photo of Geoff's reveals, it looks like they need false teeth too.
4. Loggerhead sea turtle
Nocawe is a giant loggerhead sea turtle that arrived at the Two Oceans Aquarium after being rescued in May 2018. This big boy is beautiful and knows it, and can often be caught admiring his own reflection in the exhibit's glass.
5. African spadefish
An often overlooked fish, the African spadefish is one of our East Coast's unique species. Its flat, shovel-like appearance doesn't stop it from being an adept hunter, stalking crustaceans like shrimp.
6. Yellowbelly rockcod
We love our yellowbelly rockcods - they are one of the most interactive fish species in the I&J Ocean Exhibit. Depending on their mood, you might find them digging a burrow to rest, changing their colour while they hide behind a rock, or swimming right up to the glass to stare at YOU.
7. Longfinned batfish
Another unusual ocean roamer, longfinned batfish have the knack for forming strong bonds and friendships that can last their entire life. Some follow around pieces of floating debris, some make a "best friend" with another batfish and spend their whole lives close together. Ours has decided that its bestie is the spadefish.
8. Eagle ray
The huge eagle ray in the I&J Ocean Exhibit likes to play with its food. Here it has picked up a squid and instead of eating it, it has decided to pretend to be Cthulhu. Sigh.
9. Natal moony
Natal moonies, and the Cape moonies they closely resemble, are one of those tiny fish that don't seem remarkable alone, but look absolutely majestic in a school. These are curious fish and love to swarm around visitors walking through the exhibit's 10-metre long tunnel.
10. Sixstripe soapfish
Despite being able to secrete toxic slime whenever they are frightened, the sixstripe soapfish of the I&J Ocean Exhibit are incredibly friendly and have developed the habit of following around all the scuba divers that visit. When no divers are present, they tend to be shy and stick to themselves.
Get closer to the action
Being underwater not for you? Climb into our shallow medical pool with our conservation team and let the fish come to you in a unique Ocean Experience.