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They are a sleek saltwater catfish that cleans up the bottom. Adult males carry and hatch the eggs in their mouths. Size 10-30 cm.


Since there are no fresh water echinoderms, this is one of the most popular phylogenetic assortments, with collections of writhing brittlestars lashing their snaky arms, bristling sea urchins and burrowing sand dollars. Sea cucumbers, shaped as their name implies, tunnel through the sediments like earthworms taking up nutrients and starfish creep up the aquarium glass, wrapping their arms around tunicates, or chopped clams. Sand stars emerge from sand and “speed” along the bottom, on raised tubed feet when a bit of food is dropped in the tank. These assortments usually include two or three of every listing, and sometimes there are surprises such as sea biscuits and other echinoderms.


Included are amphipods, isopods, barnacles, crabs, shrimp, hermit crabs, and horseshoe crabs.


Includes colorful anemones from our tanks, hydroid, corals, gorgonians, sea pansies and if scyphozoan jellyfish are pulsating in our bay, they are included along with shimmering examples of the phylum Ctenophora.


Includes an array of brightly colored sponges that can range from different shades of green, blue, pink or yellow. Species may include red beard, yellow ball, devil’s finger and crumb of bread sponge.


  • Included are chitons, clams, mussels, whelks, snails, and nudibranchs. When abundant, scaphopods and/or frilled sea hares may be included.


Create your own botanical gardens with our collection of semi-tropical macroscopic benthic marine algae. Phyla represented include Chlorophyta, Rhodophyta, Phaeophyta, and Cyanophyta.


The greatest diversity of fish form and function is found among marine species. Here the flat fishes, flounders, hog chokers, tonguefish, represent the epitomy of depression, and eels are the most elongate. Blowfish inflate themselves, and pipefish, looking like blades of grass, are perfect in camouflage. While these examples are likely to turn up in our fish assortment, there is no predicting the diversity and variety that will be provided. It is always a pleasant surprise.


Includes non-vertebrate chordates: solitary, colonial, and encrusting tunicates and amphioxus


Colorful anemones from our tanks, hydroid, corals, gorgonians, sea pansies and if scyphozoan jellyfish are pulsating in our bay, they are included along with shimmering examples of the phylum Ctenophora.


Arius felis

They are a sleek saltwater catfish that cleans up the bottom. Adult males carry and hatch the eggs in their mouths. Size 10-30 cm.

Each Dozzen small ---123

Each Dozzen small ---123

Each Dozzen small ---123

Each Dozzen small ---123


Hardhead sea catfish (Arius felis)

Spheroides nephelus

A drab smooth-skinned fish that will inflate itself into a tight, buoyant, impregnable ball when handled. Size: 10-14 cm.


Southern puffer (Spheroides nephelus)

Lactophrys tricornis

It has a fused armor giving it a hard-shelled, triangular un-fishlike body. Colorful blue, green and yellow fish with two prominent horns over its eyes.


A cowfish (Lactophrys tricornis)

Balistes capriscus

Known mostly for their sharp “triggered” dorsal spine, these territorial grey triggerfish are a sight to see both locally in the Gulf of Mexico and ranging throughout the western Atlantic Ocean.


Grey triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) at Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium.

Monacanthus hispidus

Their names come from their sandpapery skin, fishermen once used their hides to strike matches. Their dorsal spine has a trigger-like mechanism that makes it spring erect when they are threatened. Size: 4-8 cm.


Gobiesox strumosus

Small fish shaped like a skillet; with a broad head and narrow body. The pelvic fins are actually a large, broad suction disc. Clingfish are usually found hiding in or on the shells around oyster bars and seagrass beds. Size: 4-6 cm.


Clingfish or skilletfish (Gobiesox strumosus)

Symphurus plagiusa

Small, flat, left-eyed fishes that taper to a point — “tongue-shaped” — hence the name. They are bottom-dwelling fish, common in the muddy bottoms of bays and estuaries feeding on small crustaceans and polychaete worms. Size 6-12 cm.


Trinectes maculatus

This flatfish stays buried and looks like a baby flounder but seldom grows larger than six inches. Probably named from the days when hogs roamed the beaches and gobbled up fish as fast as seine fishermen dragged their catches up on the beaches. The scales, which make the fish stick to the deck, also could lodge in a hog’s throat. Very hardy and vigorous. Size: 6-12 cm.


Hogchoker (Trinectes maculatus)

Paralichthys oblongus

Unlike the common gulf flounders, these flatfishes have four large, dark and round spots on their bodies.


Four-spotted flounder (Paralichthys oblongus)

Paralichthys albigutta

Flounders belong to the group of fishes known as “flat fishes.” Their most unique feature is the placement of their eyes. As the young larvae develop, one eye migrates across the head toward the other. Depending on the species, flounders and other flatfishes are “right-eyed” or “left-eyed.” Lying flat on the sea bottom, flounders are masters of camouflage, changing their coloration to blend in with the substrate; hiding from predators or aggressively ambushing small fishes and crustaceans with their mighty tooth-studded jaws.


Mugil cephalus.

Often seen jumping out of the water, mullet are the cows of the fish world, and are the main food fish of the northern Gulf Coast. They browse along the bottom, feeding on algae and tiny creatures that live in mud.


Serranus subligarius

The smallest of the Sea Basses they are 5 inches long at maximum, but mature at 2 inches. Common in warm Atlantic and Caribbean waters to depths of 60 feet. Found around rocky jetties and over sand flats. Their common name comes from the large white patch on their belly. Size: 3-6 cm.


Belted sandfish (Serranus subligarius)

Chasmodes saburrae and other species

A large group of small, fish (2-4 inches), common along the shells of oyster bars. Also found on shallow flats and seagrass beds. Females lay hundreds of tiny golden colored eggs in empty shells, which the males aggressively guard. Size: 3-8 cm.


Feather blennie (Hypsoblennius henzi)

Halichoeres bivittatus

Has beautiful green coloration. Will bury itself in the sand substrate to hide. Size 6-10cm.


Green wrasse (Halichoeres bivittatus) at Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, FL.

Prionotus scitulus, P. tribulus

Swims along the sand bottoms with its wing-like pectoral fins expanded. The modified ventral fins act like fingers, feeling the bottom for prey. Size: 6-12 cm.


Bighead searobin (Prionotus tribulus)

Scorpaena brasiliensis

Red, orange, and brown, they blend into the sea bottom, and ambush passing shrimp. Although bristling with poisonous spines, they are a popular aquarium specimen.


A scorpionfish (Scorpaena brasiliensis)

Chaetodipterus faber

Common to Florida and Caribbean water, schools of spadefish are frequently seen nibbling on jellyfish, hydroids, and feeding on small crabs and shrimp when the fish matures.


Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber)

Diplodus holbrookii

Less common than the regular pinfish but still very common. Found in coastal grass beds. Size 6 to 12 cm


Lagodon rhomboides

3 inches to 6 inches, a very common aggressive fish available throughout the year. Hardy species that does well in aquariums.


Lagodon rhomboides


Will tear an attractive orange or blue sponge apart and stick it on their backs as a decorating camouflage. Excellent scavengers and predators. Highly sensitive to salinity changes, used as examples of strict stenohaline osmoconformers in physiology experiments. Females gravid February through May. Size: 6-10 cm.


This species “decorates” its carapace with pieces of sponge, corals, algaes  , and anemones from its surroundings.


A primitive crustacean with long, green stalked eyes, a spiny flexible body, spiked uropods, and raptorial or hammer like appendages that make it difficult to handle. The striking raptorial appendages are used to study functioning of high speed muscles. Nocturnal in nature, in the aquarium mantis shrimps burrow down into the substrate and often swim upside down in circles. Feeding them is a real show. Requires slow and careful acclimation to the aquarium. Size: 8-12 cm.


For 55-gallon tank 4 Sea anemones (CondylactusCalliactisBunodactisCeriantheopsis, species as available). 2 Starfish (Echinaster/ Luidia/ Astropecten) 4 Brittlestars (Ophioderma) 4 Sea urchins (Arbacia/ Lytechinus) 2 Colorful and hardy sponges (Axinella/ Xestospongia/ Cliona) 2 Sea whips (Leptogorgia) 8 Living shells or rocks (Chitons/ Feather Duster Worms/ Serpulids/ Boring Sponges/ etc.) 3 Sea Cucumbers (Pentacta/ Thyonella) 2 Whelks or Conchs (Busycon/ Pleuroploca/ Fascioloria) 2 Bi-Valves (Mercenaria/ Chione/ Noetia/ Aequipecten) 1 Bryozoan (Schizoporella/ Bugula/ Amathia) 1 Cluster Tunicate (Styela) 2 Compatible Fish 2 Hermit Crabs (Clibanarius/ Pagurus) 1 Algae


For 30-gallon tank 2 Sea anemones (CondylactusCalliactisBunodactisCeriantheopsis, species as available). 2 Starfish (Echinaster/ Luidia/ Astropecten) 4 Brittlestars (Ophioderma) 2 Sea urchins (Arbacia/ Lytechinus) 1 Colorful and hardy sponge (Axinella/ Xestospongia/ Cliona) 1 Sea whip (Leptogorgia) 4 Living shells or rocks (Chitons/ Feather Duster Worms/ Serpulids/ Boring Sponges/ etc.) 2 Hermit crabs (Clibanarius/ Pagurus) 4 Snails (Cantharus/ Nassarius) 1 Algae 2 Sea Cucumbers (Pentacta/ Thyonella)


For 20-gallon tank 1 Sea anemone (CondylactusCalliactisBunodactisCeriantheopsis, species as available). 1 Starfish (Echinaster/ Luidia/ Astropecten) 2 Brittlestars (Ophioderma) 2 Sea urchins (Arbacia/ Lytechinus) 1 Colorful and hardy sponge (Axinella/ Xestospongia/ Cliona) 1 Sea whip (Leptogorgia) 2 Living shells or rocks (Chitons/ Feather Duster Worms/ Serpulids/ Boring Sponges/ etc.) 2 Hermit crabs (Clibanarius/ Pagurus) 2 Snails (Cantharus/ Nassarius) 1 Algae 1 Sea Cucumber (Pentacta/ Thyonella)


This assortment serves two purposes. It demonstrates the tremendous diversity of conspicuous marine invertebrates and slow moving bottom fish found in sea grass beds, mud flats, rock bottoms, and sand flats. It also provides a variety of hardy, long-lived organisms for the aquarium. The dredge brings up sea urchins, whelks, conchs, starfish, red footed sea cucumbers, crabs, and sea anemones. Often there are magnificently colored sponges, along with several species of grass shrimp, crabs, tunicates, and orange bryozoans. Two 20-gallon aquariums should be used to separate the predators from the prey.


Three to five pieces of subtidal “living” limestone rock are gathered by SCUBA diving to demonstrate the complex ecosystem of rock dwelling organisms. These rocks are guaranteed to be riddled with a variety of boring, attached, and encrusted organisms. To study the boring forms, the rocks should be broken apart with a hammer, exposing the feather duster worms, and a wide variety of other polychaetes, boring clams, sipunculids, and occasionally, echiuroids. The rocks themselves are frequently encrusted with coral, bryozoans, barnacles, tunicates, and sponges. Some may bear turkey-wing clams and gorgonians; others have rich growth of algae.


To demonstrate a favorable man made environmental impact. A fine selection of fouling organisms are collected from wharf pilings and floating docks within hours of shipment. Using the famed Japanese oyster strings of the mariculture business we have been able to culture a wide variety of hydroids, sponges, sea grapes and other tunicates, bryozoans as well as large barnacles, small mussels, and oysters. The fouling growths are loaded with skeleton shrimp, amphipods, porcelain crabs, zebra shrimp, nudibranchs, polychaetes, tiny flatworms, and sometimes jellyfish larvae. The sponges are frequently riddled with small pink sea anemones and scyllid worms. Sometimes blennies are provided. Life on the wharf pilings constantly changes with the seasons. The abundant crustaceans serve as an excellent live food for other organisms as witnessed by the hordes of fish that remain around wharves. While some sensitive filter feeders of the fouling community may be short-lived in the aquarium, others may survive for months and even years