Midsummer Afternoon – Part 2 – Fish in the Aquarium

Guest posts by Ice Swimmer

There is a brackish water fish exhibit on the island Harakka. The fishes, caught from the Gulf of Finland, spend their summer in aquariums and they are released back to the sea in the Autumn. In the Baltic Sea, both freshwater tolerant of some salinity and marine tolerant of low salinity species live next to each other.

The fish pictured here are less typical or well-known in Finnish waters.

In the first picture, a tench can be seen. In Fínnish, it’s called suutari, which means cobbler or shoemaker (but the name may have nothing to do with making shoes, the fish is called sutare in Swedish and shoemaker is skomakare in Swedish). The tenches were rather inactive in the aquarium. The tench is freshwater fish.

A Lazy Tench © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

There are some pipefishes in the Baltic Sea. The pipefishes are relatives of sea horses. This broadnosed pipefish is one of them. The broadnosed pipefish is called särmäneula (edge needle, neula = needle) in Finnish. The “edges” are lengthwise bony plates under the skin, which make fish look “edgy” according to Finnish Wikipedia. Broadnosed pipefish is a marine species that’s tolerant of brackish water.

Broadnosed Pipefish © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

In the third picture, we see a round goby. It is an invasive species from the Black Sea Area.

The Round Goby © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

In the second aquarium post, we shall be playing a game inspired by “Spot the lizard!”.


  1. says

    I did not know that tench can live in brackish waters. It is native species here and when I was a kid, there were sometimes one or two small tench among the carp that were sold for Christmas. And since for multiple years, my parents were organizing the selling of carp, I got the chance to see them up close.

    They were considered undesirable and essentially a waste, so if someone wanted them, they could take them for free. Nobody wanted them so I remember that one year I have requested if I can have them, prepare them and cook them myself. My parents obliged and I have made a tasty meal. In my opinion, the tench is much tastier than the carp.

    Dang, I can see that one of the pictures again disagrees with FtB. I must fix it.

  2. Bruce says

    Thanks for this post. I like learning about cool things to see in Central Europe.
    I see all three fish photos in Safari on my iPad. But the pipefish (2nd photo) did not appear in my quick newsreader app, which is more basic.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    Thanks, Bruce!

    This is certainly not in Central Europe, but rather in the North of Europe, a significant distance away from Berlin, Hamburg or Prague.

  4. lumipuna says

    Most Finnish freshwater fish seem to fare well in Baltic Sea coastal waters. Only relatively few marine species thrive here, but they constitute a large part of the ecology (and fishing economy), and the potential pool (hah) of marine species is much bigger.

    Cyprinid fish (other than carp) tend to be poorly rated as food. They tend to be full of sharp bones and big scales, with soft and not very tasty flesh. We don’t have carp in Finland, notwithstanding a few introduced local populations, but I gather tench and carp are quite unlike most other cyprinids in having firm flesh, thick body and thick bones. The carp is bigger and perhaps more fleshy than the others. I’ve seen live big carps (5 kg at least) in a park pond and they do look impressive compared to most native fish.

    I have occasionally managed to buy bream, and very rarely tench and roach at the supermarket or fishmonger. These originate as bycatch, and seem to be largely bought by Asian immigrants. Bream and sometimes tench are traditionally eaten by Finnish people who fish for their own household (like my father’s family once did), while roach is just considered a “thrash fish”. In modern food culture, tench is considered “exotic” at best. Recently there is some push to promote the use of bream and roach as food, since they are very common and their harvest removes nutrients from eutrophic waters.

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