Aquariums used to be a pretty ho-hum experience — a few tanks of fish, a crocodile or two, and if you were lucky, a dolphin or seal show. But lately they’ve become a visual treat, with huge tanks that let you view the sea creatures in settings that are both lifelike and beautiful. That’s the case at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, where I caught this ethereal picture of the dancing fish.
A walk through one of today’s aquariums can be a bit like a visit to an art gallery. Neon-coloured fish peer out from glowing tanks like jewels in a display case. Translucent jellyfish float in magical suspension in their underwater world. Evil-toothed sharks swim by, big as life, as you peer through giant windows into a realistic picture of the ocean floor.
The Florida Aquarium has some of the most beautiful creatures in the sea. But the ones that fascinated me most were these little silver fish, swimming in formation so tightly that they seemed to move as one. It was as if they were performing a dance routine, and those graceful, swept-back fins were part of their costumes. Watching them swim through the water was like watching a scene from Fantasia — fantastical fish moving against a painted backdrop.
I always find nature beautiful, but it’s not often you catch that beauty in full flight — or in this case, full swim. And it’s not often it has the style and grace of the dancing fish of the Florida Aquarium.