Mauritius Aquarium

 Updated on the 19th of November 2014

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of seeing live creatures being enclosed in a limited space. I do my best to (try to) stay objective while writing about those but my opinions might still pop up from time to time!

 

During our little stay at Le Coin de Mire hotel, we made the most of being in the North and decided to go visit the aquarium.

 

Mauritius Aquarium welcome sign
Welcome sign at the entrance

 

Our last visit to the Mauritius Aquarium, both for my husband and myself, went back to many years. I still had a very clear memory of the aquarium building, but I also remember that at the time the culture of algae on the fish tanks were more noticeable than the animals inside, so I was wondering if this had changed.

Indeed, it had… as well as the location!

 

Mauritius Aquarium
Banner signs next to the parking area.

 

 

We went back and forth three or four times in Trou-aux-Biches (where it was located before), trying to find the aquarium building that we both remembered. We had aimed to get there for the shark feeding time, and time was running out…

So as we were getting nowhere, we finally asked our way in a little ’boutik’ and were told that the Mauritius Aquarium was now – and had been for quite a while – in Pointe aux Piments! So much for checking that out.

When you get to Pointe aux Piments, it is actually quite easy to find as it is right on the coastal road and well indicated by several banner signs. This new aquarium has apparently adopted an ecological system of operation, which is quite nice.

 

Mauritius Aquarium entrance
The entrance to the aquarium

 

We finally got to the aquarium just in time for the shark feeding and the little family ran to the shark tank while I paid for the tickets. So we started with the sharks, tortoise and big eels first, (which is usually kind of the end of the visit) and then went back to the beginning to follow the right path for the visit.

 

Shark tank at the Mauritius Aquarium
Shark tank

 

The tanks are clean and we enjoyed seeing all the different kind of fish.

In fact, they were actually so clean and well lit that it was difficult for me to take photos without having my reflection in the tank! Like in this photo:

 

Mauritius Aquarium
Bad reflection!

 

The whole visit took us just under an hour, but I was a bit slow taking photographs and filming the different fish… I think that without all the snapshots it will probably be quicker than that.

There were some really beautiful sea creatures (that I think I would much rather see swimming in the sea, but hey!).

I had never seen a ‘laffe feuille’ (leaf scorpionfish) before. Here he is accompanied by a little female – I think as it seems that the male is bigger with a long fin – Lyretail Anthias.

 

Leaf scorpionfish
Leaf scorpionfish (Laffe feuille) & Lyretail anthias (Maquereau fond)

 

The ribbon eel (anguille ruban) is quite interesting as they start their life black and are male in gender. As they grow up their fin becomes yellow and they become blue as adults. At some point, the yellow color starts taking over and this indicates that the eel is going to change gender and become female to reproduce. Don’t you think this is fascinating? I do!

 

Anguille rubans - eels
“Anguilles rubans”

 

Here is a Banded Cleaner Shrimp, hiding in the rocks…

 

Banded cleaner shrimp
Banded cleaner shrimp (Crevette nettoyeur)

 

…and a Durban Dancing Shrimp coming out.

 

Durban dancing shrimp
Durban dancing shrimp (Crevette danseuse)

 

Some of the tanks had us be a bit more attentive to find their inhabitants!

Can you find the Honeycomb Grouper? It is nearly the same color as the rocks and could easily be missed.

 

Honeycomb grouper
Honeycomb grouper (Vieille Gris)

 

And here, a Coral Crab is hiding between two rocks.

 

Coral Crab
Coral Crab (Crabe Onze Taches)

 

As for the Stone fish (Laffe Laboue), I might have missed it if it were not for the sign. What an ugly little bugger (and quite dangerous too!)

 

Stonefish (Laffe Laboue)
There are three Stonefish (Laffe Laboue) here, can you see them?

 

Stonefish (Laffe Laboue)
Two of them on the left (finger for size comparison) and one other hiding in the sand.

 

In a bigger tank, we saw lots of different kind of fish. Here are some silver moonies (silver & yellow), a surgeonfish (yellowish & black), a painted sweetlips (the black & white one) and a couple of Seychelles butterfly fish (the two yellow ones)…

 

Fish at the Mauritius Aquarium
Bigger tank with different fish.

 

… a beautiful scorpion fish (laffe volant) who didn’t want to swim a bit lower to allow me to take a more decent photo – what an impertinent! …

 

Scorpionfish (Laffe volant)
Scorpionfish (Laffe volant)

 

… and some very big batfish & a goldline seabream, but who wouldn’t stay still either, which resulted in blurry photos.

 

Batfish (Poisson Lune)
Very big batfish (Poisson-Lune) & Goldline Seabream (Gueule Pavée Blanc)

 

A stunning hermit crab had a peak at us while we were looking for him in the tank.

 

Hermit crab (Bernard l'hermite)
Hermit crab (Soldat)

 

While another one didn’t like our company and turned his back on us.

 

Hermit crab (Bernard l'hermite)
Sulking hermit crab!

 

A tank crowded with very nice lobsters.

 

Common Spiny Lobsters
Common Spiny Lobsters (Langoustes)

 

And another magnificent one here.

 

Lobster (langouste)
A beautiful lonely lobster

 

A moray eel coming out of hiding.

 

Undulated Moray (Murène ondulante)
Undulated Moray (Anguille Lamandia)

 

There’s many more fish and sea creatures than the above but I couldn’t include all of them, so here is a little video of some of the other tanks. I particularly like the little Nemo fish (clown fish) swimming in the anemone, and the big tank makes me think of a windows screensaver!

This video features the song “Aux puces nº2 – Carosello” (by Circus Marcus) / CC BY-NC 3.0

 

The shell display however, should be cleaned on a more regular basis as it was a bit misty from the sand and didn’t give us a clear view of the beautiful Mauritian shells. The display itself could also be refreshed I believe.

 

Mauritian shells
Mauritian shells

 

Ah! And I forgot to mention that they have a very modern and elaborate way to fix the algae to the rocks in the aquariums… elastic bands! :) Just for the smile of the day!

 

Elastic bands
Elastic bands to hold the algae!

 

At the end of the visit we went through the little gift shop, where Fred picked up ‘Le Cerneen’, one of the very first Mauritian newspaper, founded by Adrien d’Epinay in 1832. When it ceased publishing in 1982, it was about the oldest newspaper in French in the world. Here is the edition from the 11th of september 1882.

 

Le Cernéen
Le Cernéen

 

During my visit to the Photography Museum, I also saw some editions and the old press machines that were used to create newspapers at the time. Quite a hefty job!

A little cafeteria finishes the visit if you feel like something to eat or drink.

 

Mauritius Aquarium cafetaria: Coral Café
The Cafetaria of the Mauritius Aquarium: Coral Café

 

On the left above is what is supposed to be a feel and touch pool (I think)… but there were no signs or explanations that mentioned its purpose, at least none that I could see, and the water didn’t seem all that clean, so we didn’t try it out. (Update April 2012: there will soon be a sign posted for the touch pool.)

 

 

Practical information:

Address: Coastal Road, Pointe aux Piments

Tel: 261 4561

Fax: 261 5080

Opening hours:

Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am to 5 pm

Sunday & Public holidays: 10 am to 4 pm

Closed on 25th of December & 1st of January

Feeding time: 11 am & 3pm daily

Website: http://www.mauritiusaquarium.com/

Prices (at time of page update):
Adults – Rs 300
Children – Rs 150
Family ticket (2 adults & 2 children) – Rs 800

 

 

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