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"Finding Nemo" Commonly Asked Fish Questions

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6. Marlin the clownfish gathers quite a varied group of friends -- other fish, sharks, sea turtles and pelicans -- as he searches for his son. Would these creatures all get along with each other in real life?
Davidson: As charming as animal friends are in any animated movie, it is unlikely that these animals would associate with each other in real life. Many animals will form close associations with other animals of the same species, and there are a few instances on associations between species (such as the clownfish and the anemones), but the group from the movie would be pretty unnatural.

However, it is possible to keep many different types of fish together in an aquarium setting, and they will get along all right. For example, it is possible to keep the clownfish, moorish idol, and tang together without any problems, provided that the aquarium is large enough. Sea turtles can be kept with sharks and fish in the same system. However, I suspect a pelican would go after the fish pretty quickly if given the opportunity!

7: Nemo has one front fin that's smaller than the other. Would this be a problem for a real clownfish?
Davidson: Actually, many fish adapt just fine to losing a fin. It does impair their ability to maneuver, which makes them more vulnerable to predators in the natural environment. In an aquarium setting, however, their lives can be just as long and healthy as their fully finned counterparts.

8. Would fish and sea turtles really surf the currents like they do in the movie?
Davidson: I'm not sure if any fish actually seek out ocean currents to aid in long-distance travel, although I would not be surprised if this happens. Many species of fish migrate between different areas seasonally, and it stands to reason that they may be following currents.

An example would be cod that spend winters in offshore, deeper waters, and return to shallower coastal waters in the spring and summer. Fish certainly get caught in large ocean currents accidentally and are carried into new waters -- sometimes ones in which they cannot survive.

For example, the Gulf Stream frequently carries tropical fish up the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. from the south and into more northern waters off New England. The fish may be able to survive there for the summer, but they die off in the fall and winter when the water gets too cold.

9. Would a squid really squirt ink when it gets excited?
Davidson: Squids will ink as a defensive mechanism. Generally it doesn't happen too often, unless they find themselves the frequent target of a predator.

10: If a fish swam to an ocean depth where there is no light, could it survive?
Davidson: The sunlit or "euphotic" zone actually extends down about 600 feet. Below this, there is not enough light for plants to grow, so it is called the diphotic (twilight) zone. At about 3,000 feet below sea level, the aphotic (complete darkness) zone begins. As the water gets deeper, the pressure becomes immense. For example, at the bottom of the sunlit zone (600 feet), the pressure is more than 18 times stronger than at the surface. Only fish specially adapted to this kind of pressure can survive. The clownfish and the blue tang would be squished. Clownfish are generally found at depths no greater than 50 feet, and blue tangs can be found to about 140 feet.

Source: National Aquarium in Baltimore

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