Bolsena aquarium is a new public facility, designed, built and directly managed by Assessorato Ambiente, inaugurated in 2011, property of the province of Viterbo. The aquarium was born as an independent facility inside the Territorial Museum (Museo Territoriale) of Bolsena lake. It has mainly an archeological value and it is located inside Rocca Monaldeschi, a caste built in the late Middle Ages.
The facility has about thirty species of fishes, amphibians and crustaceans, coming from rivers and lakes of the provincial territory, situated in 22 specially-built tanks (some of them specially designed), which recreate lentic and lotic waters. The purpose is to recreate the natural environments to allow a direct contact with visitors, environments and species usually unknown to the most of the people. The tour also involves a direct contact with animals, through the large tactile tub and specific tubs where it is possible to become familiar with the most manageable species with the assistance of the operators.
There are audiovisual and interactive supports (video, audio, touch screen, direct links to download information materials), which include, in addition to the guided tours, specific educational workshops conducted by little visitors.
From a scientific perspective, the message that the tour suggests, is mainly linked to the ecology of the inland waters, with a particular attention to the natural dynamics, biological processes and human impact – intended as pollution of the waters or introduction of invasive species. The visitor walks through all the environments, from the source to the mouth of the river, passes through the swamp and the lake, perfectly recreated using mostly natural materials, taken directly from the same environments.
Even the hosted organisms represent somehow all the natural and ecological dynamics: the green seaweed, the daphnia, the freshwater shrimp, the big carp, the sturgeon and the voracious pike.
Another important activity is the scientific research – even if in a smaller scale – which is in constantly growing. Indeed, in the aquarium there are species interesting from a scientific perspective and from the experimentation of farming techniques perspective.
Among the species there is the smooth newt, which successfully bred thanks to a favourable environment; the Mediterranean killfish, a fish from the over-salted waters of the salt pans, which is successfully adapted to live in tanks whose waters have a controlled salinity.
Today, a collaboration between the aquarium and local fishermen is growing with the purpose of weaning larvae for professional fishing and for setting up specific aquariums. For this reason, phytoplankton and zooplankton farming are growing to guarantee a consistent increase in captivity of the lavaret and the perch, before their release. These experimentations will bring important results, if they will be successful, for the local economy and for the farming of the species in captivity – with particular regard for the fishkeeping and the public aquariums. Indeed, for example, the lavaret can’t currently stay in captivity for long period, due to its optimum range of growth.
The same experimentation will be conducted in the next months on another species of the large Italian lakes, the atherina, which it can’t currently stay in captivity as the lavaret.
In conclusion, the other experimentation, begun with the same purposes, regards the larval stages of the eel. They are taken from the mouth of the local rivers and they are fed following a specific protocol. Today this experiment is having a good success.
Bolsena aquarium aims to become a local reference point for the educational activity connected to the inland waters, and a scientific reference point for the experimentation of farming techniques, trying in every moment to exchange experiences with other similar organizations, as already happens with the Ichthyological centres of Perugia, with University of Tusica, with University of Tor Vergata, with wildlife observatory of Lazio and with provincial nature reserve.
For more information:
- TERRITORIAL MUSEUM OF BOLSENA LAKE (MUSEO TERRITORIALE DEL LAGO DI BOLSENA)
- ROCCA MONALDESCHI DELLA CERVARA
- PIAZZA MONALDESCHI 1
- TEL. +39 0761.798630