An Special Section FRIDAY, MAY 14, 1999
Hours, prices, and other information were current at time of publication and may have changed.


- Introduction
- Going there
- The murals
- The music
- Shop and Eat
- Beginnings


- World Rivers
- Shore Gallery
- Touch Pool
- Bizarre & Beautiful
- Dangerous & Deadly
- Riverbank
- 'Gator Bayou
-Amazon Rain Forest
- Coral Reef
- Jellyfish Gallery
- Kingdom of Penguins
- Ray Nursery
- Repopulation
- Surrounded by Sharks


- Staff and keepers
Oceanic Adventures Newport Aquarium] [Building image]
Fascinating but not-so-pretty river fish thrive along shore of the Ohio

        It might be tempting to bring a rod, reel and tackle to the Riverbank, but fishing is not allowed. No matter — the point here is to get a close look at the swimming habits of Ohio River creatures.

        A long piece of acrylic provides a winding window where visitors may observe Catfish, Shovelnose Sturgeon and more swim in front of tree bases and tangled roots in the replicated habitat.

        The clear wall stands about 6 feet tall and gives an underwater perspective. The tank floor is sand. The Riverbank area creates the river environment both above and below the water's surface. The trees and shrubbery are native to the Ohio Valley. To get the best view, hop aboard the deck of the River Queen, a rustic-looking model paddleboat that stands across from the shady, tree-lined bank and river.

[riverbank mural]
Riverbank Mural
About the artwork
        The fisherman with the dark moustache and beard in the painting is muralist Eric Henn's father-in-law. Decked out in his fishing vest, hat and shades, he stands waist deep in water with a fly-rod in one hand his latest catch in the other. If the aquarium staff has its way, he will be the only fisherman on the Riverbank.

        The Shovelnose Sturgeon lives in the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Channel Catfishes are in Midwestern channels and Paddlefishes are in rivers in the eastern part of the region. The Longnose Gar lives primarily in the Mississippi. Lake Sturgeon live in the Mississippi River valley and the Great Lakes.

How big do they get?
        Paddlefish and Channel Catfish grow to between 50 and 60 inches. A Shovelnose Sturgeon will grow to 43 inches. Lake Sturgeon can be 8 feet long.

        The long piece of acrylic — the wall is 53 feet in length — cost $48,000.

[longnose gar]
Longnose Gar
What fish eat
        The Shovelnose Sturgeon eats larvae and mayflies. Paddlefish consume particles suspended in the water. Channel Catfish eat other fish, crayfish, mollusks, mayflies, caddisflies and vegetables. Lake Sturgeon feast on crayfishes, mollusks and insect larvae. Longnose Gar eats other fishes and crustaceans.

What you won't see
        To collect fish for the Riverbank, keepers didn't have to travel too far from Newport. They traveled to other riverbanks (the Licking River in Kentucky and the Tennessee River near downtown Chattanooga) to collect fish. To do this they often used “electrode fishing,” a harmless, yet effective way of collecting fish. Keepers place an electrode in the water, which mildly stuns any nearby fish. They are quickly gathered with a net. Fish are then placed in a container of water and transported to the aquarium.

Exhibit by the numbers
        53: feet is the length of the acrylic window

        5,648: is the weight of the wall in pounds

        19,000: gallons of fresh water in the tank

        20: species in the tank

        60-70: degrees is the water temperature.

        400: creatures in this display

Stars of the Tank
        Paddlefish: The Paddlefish's nose is almost as long as the rest of its body. It swims with its mouth wide open to catch food particles from river water.

        Shovelhead Sturgeon: Pale to medium gray in color, the Shovelhead Sturgeon is in danger of disappearing due to overfishing and habitat destruction.

        Channel Catfish: Male Channel Cats take care of young after spawning occurs in an old tire or under other debris in fresh water rivers.

        Longnose Gar: The Longnose Gar lives to be around 30 years old. Its nose is at least 10 times longer than it is wide. These fish use sharp teeth for feeding near the river's surface.

        Lake Sturgeon: The Lake Sturgeon depends entirely on its sense of taste when determining what is suitable for eating. Females will produce up to 700,000 eggs.

The Tristate is Goin' Fishin'
Going to the Aquarium
Murals bring seascapes to life
Music sets the mood for 16 exhibits
Shop, eat and watch a movie
The making of an aquarium
World Rivers
Shore Gallery
Touch Pool
Bizarre & Beautiful
Dangerous & Deadly
- Riverbank
'Gator Bayou
Amazon Rain Forest
Coral Reef
Jellyfish Gallery
Kingdom of Penguins
Ray Nursery
Surrounded by Sharks
Meet the staff and keepers

Copyright 1999 The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.
Use of this site signifies agreement to terms of service updated 2/28/98.