The aquariums at Riverwatch represent 8 different habitats found in the local area:
The brackish waters of Foyle and Carlingford Loughs supports a variety of fish and shellfish.
From lobsters, mussels, oysters, crabs to wrasse, eels and rays the colours, shapes, sizes and behaviours of these amazing creatures will have you surprised.
A recent survey found 60 different species of fish in the lower reaches of the Foyle and Sea Lough. This tank represents a few of those species that are resident in the area all year round.
The tidal habitat of the rockpool is a not only a playground for the creatures that live in it but also for the many of us who explore them on our trips to the coast.
Watch closely for tiny movements to spot some of the seas smallest and best camouflaged creatures. Hermit crabs, winkles, starfish, shrimp, limpets, anemones and blenny can all be found lurking amongst the stones and seaweed.
The waters off our coastline plunge deep into the Atlantic. Sightings of basking sharks and orca whales are often made particularly during the summer months.
In these colder waters are also home to a range of starfish such as the sunstar, spiny star and common starfish. Sea urchins and large whelks can also be discovered.
Ponds are a common feature in many gardens. Some are stocked with non-native species but left to their own devices these small still bodies of water will attract aquatic creatures. In the wild, natural ponds exist and thrive with little interference from man.
Ponds are home to host of aquatic invertebrate life such as water boatmen, pond snails, freshwater shrimp and beetle larvae. In small ponds you could also find small species of fish such as the 3 spined stickleback and amphibians such as frogs and newts.
Lakes are large still bodies of water capable of sustaining much larger fish. Here, in addition to the creatures found in a pond you will discover a range of coarse fish such as bream and perch. Some freshwater lakes like Lough Fad, Donegal have Arctic Char.
One of the top predators in a lake is the pike. A large fish, up to 40lbs, with teeth like cat’s teeth, these fish dominate their environment and prey on smaller species.
The fast flowing waters of a river support an abundance of life. The range of species found can be an indicator to the environmental health of the waterway and the surrounding area. Here you will find game fish such as trout and salmon as well as coarse fish and eels.
Canals are man-made structure created to enable transportation of goods by water. A good example of this is Strabane Canal. Here the water is relatively still and slow moving and in many instances similar to a lake. Typically coarse fish are most at home here along with a range of aquatic invertebrates.
Streams, are much smaller than rivers. Many start high up in the mountains and drop down over waterfalls and through valleys before joining larger rivers. Don’t be fooled by their size in thinking it wouldn’t support much life. River invertebrates, small salmon and trout as well as brook lamprey make their home in these waters.