The Greater OR…”Lesser” Cleveland Aquarium? You Decide!

Please see full review on Cool Cleveland website….

The Greater or “Lesser” Cleveland Aquarium?
A Naturalist’s View of the New Aquarium

By Robert Carillio

The title suggests a review of the new aquarium on the west bank of the Flats and that is exactly what this will be, with a focus on the Ohio exhibits. Keep in mind I’m not covering every aspect of the aquarium; however, I’ll focus mainly on feature exhibits.

Who am I to write a review?

Well, no one in particular except that I am no stranger to aquariums, having visited many and known quite a few associates in the field. In addition, I have owned and operated a custom aquarium design, installation and maintenance service for many years — once upon a time — with sizes up to a thousand gallons, with a specialty in replicating local stream habitats. I have also been a volunteer local contact for the Ohio region of The North American Native Fishes Association for nearly 10 years in the past and, through that time, I have been an advocate of raising awareness and appreciation for Ohio’s “lesser known” but no “less important” fishes for about 22 years. My inspiration began with the classic Trautman book The Fishes Of Ohio, hiking our woodlands and gazing into and wading in creeks seining for fishes. In fact, one of my first “crude” educational aquarium displays, believe it or not, was located in the former Gamekeepers Restaurant on the second level of the Powerhouse.

I know this reads like some touting resume, but that is not my intent at all; rather, it is to offer you some insight as to why I have formed my following evaluations of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. By no means have my services been geared toward the scale of the grander-scale aquariums; nonetheless, one grasps a very good understanding of many facets of the field in a scaled down model.

I actually welcome an aquarium to the Flats. It is something that can help promote a more family-oriented dynamic neighborhood instead of one solely built around stuffing one’s face and drinking to oblivion. Aquariums offer education about something that impacts each and every one of us — the health of the world’s waters!

Very First Impressions

Now, without further hesitation, I will describe my visit and offer letter grades for the various components of the aquarium, beginning with my phone call to the place. As a trained voiceover, I was not very impressed with the recording presented to the public. It sounded like the same girl in high school who used to read the morning announcements on the P.A. system. I know this may seem like nit picking, but I am someone who wants to make every detail count in presenting a product and am a little tired of Cleveland accepting mediocre standards as the norm. In an aquarium, or any public attraction for that matter, I feel a lot of it begins with the staff and people who greet us. I give the phone recording — the first voice of the aquarium presented to the public via phone — a grade D.

Now for the actual visit…

A public aquarium is — or at least should be — a place that educates the public about the importance of the global aquatic world and its relation to our own survival by featuring the aquatic habitat’s fishes (along with other animals from various parts of the world) beginning with our very own backyard. It should somewhat demonstrate how all waters tie together. Although I love the Powerhouse architecturally, I felt the surroundings looked somewhat unkempt, rather tired and littered around the perimeter of the property.

I hope the Aquarium can use this situation as a chance to educate the public about the importance of keeping litter off our streets and ultimately out of our local waters since litter, indeed, makes its way to our waters via storm drains. What gets pitched onto the street may end up polluting our lake. Litter prevention is a basic ABC of sustainability and conservation where, in my opinion, Cleveland/NEO severely lags behind. Please do the very least — keep all cigarette butts and other littler picked up from around the building. Your responsibility or not, GCA, it could reflect poorly in first impressions. The upkeep and immediate presentation of the venue from the outside gets a grade C-.

Stepping inside the venue, I was pleasantly surprised although confused as to exactly WHERE the entrance was. The signage, or lack thereof, was rather poor. I was impressed with the fact that the Aquarium was somehow made to adapt inside this building. I can only imagine the extreme challenges this presented designers! So, in terms of adaptive re-use and re-purposing of valued structures — and the benefits that has in promoting the “recycling” of buildings, the Aquarium gets an A+. Whether this example was the intent of the initiative or not, this is a good example of the re-use of buildings.

Making my way inside, I was helpfully greeted by very friendly staff members. This is an area — customer service and enthusiastic attitude — our city has needed to improve upon for a long time. I really felt the “Walt Disney” level of hospitality. The grade here? Solid B.

Now for the first series of exhibits: The lakes, rivers and streams of Ohio

Uh oh! (You will learn why I say this later… read on!) Again, I feel I must first offer a reminder that for many years, myself and many other nature nuts like me in the area have dedicated so much of our time to presenting these local aquatic habitats we take for granted every day — even see as rather mundane — in the best possible fashion through aquaria.

An aquarium is more than seeing fish in a tank, so my goal when presenting a native fishes exhibit was to, as much as possible, replicate the all encompassing and intertwined habitat to give the viewer a maximum appreciation of our local environments. The habitat is every bit as important as the fish and other animals. Without it, you do not have them, and without the fish, no habitat — and ultimately without both, you do not have us.

The purpose of my replicating habitats in presenting our local fish fauna was, in the first place, so that I could get people excited to understand and appreciate their function and importance to us. I felt this is so important in a region virtually devoid in the general public as to just how important these environments are to our own existence.

I tried to achieve the above by replicating the real lighting, the plants, riverbank overhangs, trees, leaves, rootwads, wood, rocks, pools, riffles, runs, preparing the right diet and water temperatures for fish and so on. The result was stunning. I heard people say, “That habitat exists HERE?! And those fish live HERE?!”

How can I say this… there is no easy way to put it. (Clears throat! Uhh humm!)

The local aquatic habitat presentation at this aquarium is the poorest representation I have ever seen in my whole life of such a subject theme. In every component of delivering a quality display as I mention above, it fails. It is bland, sterile and not even mediocre. Little to NO effort was made to attempt to achieve the above. I have actually seen better presentations of our native fishes in bait shops and simple state park nature centers. This one resembled more of the lure demonstration tanks at a Cabelas store or maybe the make-shift tanks at a sportsmen trade show.

The Aquarium has a chance to impress the largely devoid-of-knowledge, understanding, or appreciation segment in NEO. But, instead, visitors are left with the impression that all our native aquatic habitats are lifeless and boring; that we are “ecologically inferior” to all that colorful tropical stuff that is given so much attention to detail.

Displaying our native aquatic fauna is a detailed art in its own way

Displaying native North American fishes is an art unto itself. Unless we talk about fish in the darter family, they generally lack the kind of primary colors of the artists palette — the reds, yellows, and blues. But, at the same time, boast a myriad of iridescent and rustic colors of Autumn that compliment the woodland environments to which they’re native.

Knowing this, you must choose the right lighting, substrate, habitat (which is just as important as the fish… no habitat, no fish!), diet, water temperatures and even the right mix of fish, and aquarium sizes/styles to create the best possible viewer experience. The aquarium fails to demonstrate this in the least. Adding to this, we must realize that “bigger is not always better” and that, sometimes, smaller fishes such as those in the minnow family are better appreciated in smaller micro-habitat aquariums that feature a few select fishes from a given habitat along with replicating that habitat.

These micro-habitat-style of aquariums are much easier to see and make it much easier to decipher the differences between the fishes. They encourage, because of their smaller size, viewers to walk up and take a closer, more intimate look of their tiny world. On the other hand, as featured in the GCA, a tank full of various minnows that is too large has them all looking the same, and therefore there is not much incitement or “lure” to take a closer look. Instead, people think, “Oh, a big tank with minnows… ho hum… let’s move on.”

If you come to the Gardens Under Glass store in the Galleria in downtown Cleveland, you will see “The Watershed” exhibit. This display will speak mountains for what I am trying to articulate in words.

The only positive thing I can say about this part of the aquarium is that the interpretive texts were well done. As for the exhibits themselves? They leave much to be desired. The good news is that with a few small low cost adjustments many of these issues can be resolved. I can only hope they will be as time progresses.

That said, I invite the folks at the aquarium to please get in touch with myself and a group who is dedicated to presenting our fishes and their habitats in the most spectacular “wow effect” way. Please, GCA, this is an opportunity to get people to appreciate our local waters, habitats and aquatic life like they have never before, so please do not allow this current version of the Ohio lakes, rivers, and streams exhibit to be the best this gets. It really is a slap in the face to what others have tried to achieve for so long and just reaffirms that “ecological inferiority complex” I was alluding to earlier.

To summarize the native fishes exhibit…

The fishes, as I would have expected in their current presentation format, appeared poor. Many of their colors, patterns and tones were completely washed out and I do not feel time will remedy this, given the lack of habitat design and with the current displays and materials used. We’re left with an extremely inaccurate and poor representation of our fishes which leads to NOT commanding the respect they deserve. As I loosely stated earlier… It leaves folks with the mentality that suggests “all our fish must be ugly and the rest of the world’s fish must be pretty and colorful… so let’s protect them and the hell with the rest!” Sadly, this is the image it creates as we tend to be selective stewards of nature. We, who love these fish and environments, want nothing in return for simply helping you deliver a far better product. So, my overall experience with this first portion of the aquarium, being a native fishes a-fish-ionado, was an underwhelming disappointment. I give this portion a grade F-.

Now on to the freshwater tropical section

The species diversity in this section was fairly decent, interpretive texts concise and easy to understand for a public with an eroding attention span. The style of aquariums and displays were not too bad. I guess it is easy to overlook any lack in habitat replication here because the colorful fish seem to take our minds away from what the aquariums lack in habitat substance. The educational interpretive texts were decent and the displays many. I would have to give this section a space between a C+ or B-.

The touch pool was functional and perfect for hands-on demonstration. In this exhibit, I have to give a grade B. The “Lobster Look-Up” display was rather interesting and I will give that one an “A” just for fun and creativity, as well as the space that allowed people to look up to the powerhouse smokestack and measure the height. This part reminded you how difficult and challenging it must have been to incorporate an aquarium into this building and offered a sublime message about how “cool” re-purposing buildings can be!

Now for the rest

I soon ventured into the caves and tunnels of the powerhouse and viewed many saltwater aquariums. While their sizes were fairly impressive for an aquarium in a building of this size, they lacked substance — again, in habitat replication. I was remembering my aquarium store I used to operate in this section and was thinking that the material used in the habitats looked more like inflated versions of the old Penn Plax aquarium decorations. I was wondering when I was going to see the little diver with bubbles coming out of his helmet! I honestly thought much of the materials used in these exhibits were rather cheaply looking. I would have suggested a company called “Signature Corals” for duplicating corals, but hey, I’m not the boss, am I? But, they would have looked much more realistic than what I saw. I give these various displays a grade C-.

Speaking of corals, I was expecting to see at least a couple exhibits with live coral demonstrations, but that was not the case. That would be important due to the fact that many people think corals are not actually living things, but more so some sort of rocks. The waters were cloudy in many of these systems — but this is probably due to “new tank syndrome” which happens in small home aquariums and can be an issue even in the new largest of aquariums, so this should improve over time.

The main attraction!

My last major observation of the day was the walk-through shark tunnel. It delivers in scale. Big, bold, mysterious, and a little scary… and amazing at the same time getting nose to nose with these ancient creatures as well as schools of many other species of fishes. It appears, however, that the sharks have little room to actually swim overhead. The water appears to be really shallow at the top, making it difficult for the sharks to actually swim over your head as one might be expecting. Nonetheless, cramped as it may seem, this exhibit basically saves this entire GCA attraction from being, overall, very average or even embarrassing. I give this exhibit a B+.

My overall opinion of GCA

In summary, I have not evaluated every exhibit here. Mainly I focused on most of the features. The diversity in species representation is fairly decent but nothing spectacular in an attraction of this size… and the educational opportunity is fair. The aquarium is possibly fun, especially I would think, for Moms and Dads bringing in the kids for something to do who are not true aquarium connoisseurs. But, by no means is it something that would keep me coming back again and again through the purchase of an annual pass. So, for a family-oriented activity it should do well… for a while. I do not feel it is worth the price of the admission.

From my observations, however, in order to remain viable in the long term GCA will need to improve the quality and presentation of its exhibits all around. In its current state it reminds me more of a giant quality aquarium store, rather than an iconic public aquarium museum type attraction. It is more so reflective of a new version of a roadside attraction on Rt. 66… or a disappointing sequel to a good movie.

The gift shop and overall final grade

Before I forget to mention, I will have to say the gift shop is a fun little place, but they could have added some fantastic “Fishes Of Cleveland” gifts like T-shirts to give this place a real fun local flair and to draw attention to our wonderful lesser known beautiful fishes (like how darters are supposed to look!). But, as poor as they are represented in the native Ohio fishes exhibit, I don’t know that a T-Shirt can redeem much. Gift Shop grade… B- But overall, I give the entire place as a whole, a C… and truthfully, that is being kind. But hey, this is me. If this mediocre food suits Clevelanders fine, then they can continue eating it. I think we should expect — and deserve — more with a higher standard and not just eat the bread and water we’re given and treated as though we have to like it. I have a concern that if this place does not do well, that it would possibly hinder future public support for a more world-class aquarium in the future — one in which all of Cleveland and N.E. Ohio can be proud. Meanwhile, I wonder how many people actually take note to the difference in quality right under our nose at our very own Zoo’s aquatic exhibits.

[Oh and one final note… at the top is a photo of what a Longear Sunfish should look like in an aquarium, and the bottom of a Rainbow Darter….. Just in case you didn’t get the full effect of one in the aquarium.]

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 5:26 PM No comments:




Many of us are familiar with the bountiful life that inhabits the planet’s lungs in the rain forest….BUT, did you know that Ohio, in general, is situated near the northern edges of what is the most diverse temperate fish fauna in the world? A habitat that in its own way is as important as any other more glamorous and exotic environment we have come to know.


As most of us know about the infamous ’69 Cuyahoga River oil slick catching fire and it being one of several testaments to the decline of the nation’s rivers—and eventually “sparking” a national movement to clean-up our waterways—little is known about the many “lesser known” fishes and bio-diversity of the river and other waters of our metro region and beyond. The Cuyahoga alone boasts over 80 species in the mainstem of the river.

You may have heard about the typical basses, walleyes, and perch, but what of the “other fish?” Many are simply referred to as “minnows” Many are little fish….with little known about them! What about their importance to our own existence as clean water indicator species which support the life systems that keep us alive? Did you know, for example, that Cleveland and N.E. Ohio is home to what is one of the world’s most brightly colored fishes?

Let’s take a look beneath local waters and examine just some of those “other” fish! These waters may include The Cuyahoga River and tributaries, The Grand River and tributaries and of course, Lake Erie!

It is interesting to note that while very popular and familiar, what we know as game fish (Crappie, Bass, Walleye, Perch, etc.) make up less than 10 percent of the fishes on the North American Continent, and nearly the same amount in Cleveland and Ohio in general. We will observe these fish not from an angling perspective, but rather a “fish watching” perspective in just the same way bird and butterfly enthusiasts explore their creatures of affection! So, grab your waders, mask and snorkel, binoculars, viewing containers and pack a lunch…off we go into area waters! Yes, there are many places where water is still crystal clear!

Let’s begin with the DARTERS

Darters are a family of fish that include the familiar perches and walleyes. They could be described as “underwater hummingbirds” because of their size, quickness and colors. They are small, colorful or intricately patterned fish, seldom exceeding 5 inches in length. They require clean, clear running streams for their optimum survival. They are elongate fish, with a physique designed perfectly for remaining stable in swift moving water on stream bottoms. They feed on small insect larvae, worms, crustaceans and other small organisms. Darters swim along the bottom of streams in a quick “darting” fashion, hence the name “darters.”Greater Cleveland and beyond…of course, is a haven for many kinds of darters, including the rainbow darter, fantail darter, Johnny darter, banded darter, and greenside darter.

NO TROUT ABOUT it, they still exist!

It was recently believed by state wildlife officials that the Brook Trout was extirpated from Ohio, meaning that while not extinct, it was no longer found in Ohio. This was the belief up until about 15 years ago, when a small holdout population was discovered in Geauga County near park district lands. This land was under threat of the usual urban sprawl housing development which would surely see to the fishes demise by destroying its habitat and water quality. Thanks to the effort of several preservation minded individuals and through the park district, the land and the fish were protected! What makes this such a special find is that one would never think that within just a 40 minute drive of the epicenter of highly populated and industrialized N.E. Ohio, in downtown Cleveland, that a fish that represents the essence of virgin and wild Ohio” would still exist!

This fish prefers still crystal clear and coldwater pools in small headwater streams. These are limited habitats which are threatened due largely in part to encroaching development laying over small streams and adjacent water cleansing wetlands. The Ohio Brook Trout is a fish that when donning its breeding colors, looks like nature intended to make it the clown of the inland stream waters! Polka dots of white, set over a background of cobalt blue, red and orange…with fins trimmed in white! It’s presence is truly a sign that the water in which it lives is amongst the highest quality. The Cleveland Metropaks Zoo features a Brook Trout exhibit in its aquatics building. There you can learn more about this amazing trout!

Next up, the MINNOW family.

There are approximately 231 species of minnows in North America, so the next time you gaze down into a stream in one of Cleveland’s Metro-parks while crossing a trail bridge, try to identify which kinds of minnows you’re spotting. Even the most camouflaged or mundane colored minnow seems to come alive with the color and shine of sparkling jewels during spawning season when stream waters warm up a bit (approximately late March to late May). Watching a group of spawning minnows can be a sight to behold! You know something unique and complex is happening. Such a scene is similar in appearance to a flock of birds all darting about in tight formation in every direction.

Some minnow species, such as redside dace are indicators of higher water quality, while others, like the creek chub are more tolerant to the erosion and sedimentation that can occur in the parklands of the Cuyahoga River Valley where trails are heavily hiked— OR after heavy rains. By the way, just a small tip for leaving a light footprint on aquatic environments: It is best to not hike too close to stream banks, because trampling plants along erosion sensitive banks eventually kills the plants, and ultimately the root structures stretching into sandbanks.

Southern red belly dace are another type of small minnow which are found in area tributaries of the Cuyahoga and Grand River. They are typically found in headwater streams—and in clean, clear, quiet pools. During spawning season, southern reds are surely to capture your attention easily, as they are brilliantly colored with a bright “stop sign red” underbody, yellowish- green fins and dark black stripes running the length of the body from near the head to tail.

The central stoneroller is colorful and easily recognized in the Spring. It sweeps clean the bottom of streams by eating excess algae off of rocks, as well as a host of other small organisms. This is a fish that keeps streams clean without anyone paying any extra taxes or fees for the service!

Among many other types of minnows likely to inhabit Cleveland area streams, are blacknose dace, sand shiners, bluntnose minnows, common shiners, silver jaw minnows, creek chub, mud minnows, and northern hog suckers. Some of the fishes names are as interesting as their physical features!


Now let’s have some fun visiting nature’s fun house side-show in exploring the many ODDITIES of the Cleveland area streams……. Hurry hurry, step right up…right here you see the scary looking …mottled sculpin….The sculpin is a small but voracious eater, which like darters, are bottom dwelling fish, never turning away at the chance to lunge up and swallow an unsuspecting baby minnow! They have larger mouths than most small fishes so this is quite easy for this little guy. Against the stream bottom, the sculpin’s camouflage can fool even the sharpest eye. The easiest way to describe the sculpin is that it has the body of a darter, with the head of a toad, or even resembling a bull dog. This description may sound silly, but when you actually see the fish, it will make sense!

Brook Lamprey is another strange fish. Lamprey are one of the native fishes that have been swimming around since before the dinosaurs, and have changed little in millions of years. Resembling eels, an interesting role lamprey play in the underwater environment here is preying off of sick and dying fishes. By doing this, the lamprey help to keep the overall fish population strong and healthy, by “removing” those sick fish which may spread disease to others! They literally attach themselves to the weaker fish with their jawless and sucker-like mouth and suck fluids from their prey, eventually killing them! I guess you can call them the “Draculas” of the creek!

The lamprey is different from all fish because it is actually jawless and slithers along the bottom of the stream like a snake searching for food. Certain native lamprey species are endangered in Ohio and are another excellent indicator of cleaner water quality. Like most fishes which are either threatened or endangered, loss of habitat and poor water quality contribute to their declining numbers.

Continuing with nature’s sideshow, The Cuyahoga Watershed and other Cleveland area streams are home to Madtom catfish. Madtoms are small catfish usually inhabiting grassy and weedy river and stream banks, in shallow, moderately calm waters. They are very small fishes usually found under 5 inches and can deliver a nasty sting if handled improperly. The Stonecat Madtom is one example of a madtom indigenous to our region.

Yet another oddity lurking in the Cleveland region are the stickleback minnows. Sticklebacks are small, elongate fishes, olive green and yellowish in color with small spines jutting up from their backs. They are a distant relative of the salt water seahorses and pipe fishes, and resemble a little wind up bath tub toy, as they propel through the water with great precision, stopping instantly in mid-water like a helicopter hovering in midair! During spawning season, sticklebacks become little carpenters with fins. Carrying in their mouths, they will actually move small detritus (sticks, leaves, stones, and other small debris) to a safe spot, where a family nest can be constructed and guarded! The Brook Stickleback is a commonly known stickleback in Greater Cleveland/N.E. Ohio.

Lake Erie Monster….LAKE STURGEON????

The Sturgeon is another ancient element of the local aquatic fish heritage dating back to the last Ice Age. It is long, and shark-like with an armor-like covering instead of scales and is listed as a state endangered species. But, while it has long been believed by many wildlife professionals to be virtually absent from Lake Erie due to habitat loss and over-fishing in the late1800’s, recent reports on sightings and catchings–some official, some unofficial–suggest the fish is either making a comeback, or finding its way into Lake Erie via locations in the Great Lakes region where populations are more stable.

When overfishing occurred, millions of pounds were taken out of Erie because they were considered to be a nuisance that damaged fishing nets. Lime firewood, the fishes were thrown into piles and burned. Later, a market was discovered for them, particularly for their roe, so millions more were taken from the waters. This practice continued until the early 1900s–And in less than twenty years, they were almost extinct! It is sad enough that protection of this fish for shear environmental reasons was not in the language of any laws at the time. Moreover, from even a sport perception, to not foresee any conservation needs for this fish is laughable. Why? Can you imagine what would be more challenging for fishing fun? An 8” bass or an 8′ sturgeon???!!!

The Eastern Burbot is another odd looking fish that calls Lake Erie native waters. It is an elongate fish with adults ranging from 16″ to 32″ in length. If you could cross the shape of a carving knife, catfish and eel into one fish, you would best describe the burbot! The burbot has a coloration that is brown to olive mottled brown. Adults can range from 16″ to 32″ in length It prefers deeper and cooler waters It is the only freshwater member of the codfish family and is a relic of Lake Erie’s glacial past!

Lastly, let us not forget the gars. Short-nosed and long-nosed. Gar fish are another group of fishes which have changed little since the days of dinosaurs! If an alligator could do it’s best impression of a fish, it would look like a gar fish! In fact, one gar fish, although not found in Cleveland area waters, is appropriately named the alligator gar—a gar fish that has historically been known to reach a length of 12 feet! Short-nosed and long-nosed gar, however, are found in the larger deeper rivers in the Cleveland area such as the Grand River region in backwater pools and along quiet banks where there is heavy weedy vegetation. They also native to certain areas and habitats in Lake Erie. They are passive predators feeding on other small fishes. Gars often swim just under the surface of calmer waters basking in sunlight. Most gars reach a maximum length of 3 feet.

Finally, let us finish up our tour of Fishes Of Cleveland waters taking a brief look at the popular SUNFISH FAMILY.

Not all sunfish are “bluegill!”……

The following covers the most familiar fishes of the sunfish family, which are also found in certain waters of the Cuyahoga River Watershed, Greater Cleveland/N.E. Ohio, and in Lake Erie. In North America, this group of fishes comprises roughly 30 species. Many anglers mistakenly refer to various species of sunfish as bluegill, when in fact, bluegill are just one particular species of sunfish. For example, one who is fishing may refer to what is actually the brightly colored central long ear sunfish or the pumpkinseed sunfish as a bluegill. Looking closer, however, there are distinct differences.

The sunfish have all the earth-toned colors that seem to emulate and mimic the very same colors of the Autumn time woodlands to which they are indigenous. If you happen to enjoy fishing, examine the differences between these fishes in your catch. If you are catching and releasing, be sure to not handle a fish with dry hands, as this irritates their slime layer. The “slime layer” is a protective thin smooth coating over the body of fishes which helps to protect them from infection and disease.

Some common types of sunfish similar in appearance, but which are not all bluegill, are rock bass, warmouth sunfish, red ear/shell cracker sunfish (named because of this fishes’ appetite for small snails), orange spotted sunfish, (westernm Lake Erie/Maumee Watershed), northern longear sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, black crappie and green sunfish. Sunfish prefer habitats ranging from weedy shallows to open pools in a particular river system or lake. Sunfish, from an aquarist’s perspective, are like the North American version of the ever popular chiclids raised in home aquaria.


Well, there you have it, an introductory tour to some of the “Fishes Of Cleveland!” If your interest in exploring fish in the metro area and beyond has been “baited,” learn more about what you can do to keep our local lakes and streams healthy and clean! Contact your state wildlife division to learn more, or consider joining their “Adopt-A-Stream“ or “ “Adopt-A-Beach” program. You can find much of this information at Gardens Under Glass in The Galleria complex in downtown Cleveland. You may also want to contact The North American Native Fishes Association, for a perspective in “fish watching” and other conservation initiatives regarding North American fishes. There are other components of this region’s unique wildlife assembly that deserve just as much attention to conservation as the more familiar ones. To lose these local species of fishes through habitat/water quality neglect, is to begin to lose the clean water and life support systems that ultimately support our own lives. We also stand to lose an integral and delicate part of our region’s unique diverse natural heritage. I hope that this article has helped to promote a better respect for our local waters and aquatic wildlife habitats in general. For in them, there is so much to learn, inspire and stimulate the imagination..while having fun doing so!

Note: You can search Google Images to find many photos of all the fishes mentioned in this article. You can identify all of these native fishes in the PETERSON’S FIELD GUIDE TO FRESHWATER FISHES. Also see The North American Native Fishes Association at to learn more about native fishes in our region and North America.

Sources: The North American Native Fishes Association, ODNR Division of Wildlife, Peterson’s Field Guide To Freshwater Fishes-Page/Burr, The Fishes Of Ohio-Milton B. Trautman

Photos: coming soon!

Carillio is a former Ohio Regional Contact for The North American Native Fishes Association, avid self-taught naturalist, native fish enthusiast/advocate of 23 years, and volunteer for Gardens Under Glass in downtown Cleveland. For information on field trips to local streams, please contact Robert at

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 10:35 PM No comments: