A fish story

May 23, 2019
Fun facts about the RMHC Toronto aquarium.
Fish tank
It’s the centrepiece of our Family Lounge.

The aquarium at RMHC Toronto holds a special place in the hearts of most families who have called the House their home. The colourful collection of tropical fish has brought endless hours of delight, wonder and relaxation to kids both young and old.

“It makes me happy,” says Patricia Valladao, who is currently at the House while her granddaughter recovers from a liver transplant.

Our staff are often asked questions about the fish, so we thought we’d pull together a “Fish 101” of sorts to shed some light on what makes our tank so special.

What kind of fish are in the tank?
They are different varieties of African cichlids, says Delia Vieira of Fins, Gills and Scales, who helps us maintain the tank. Cichlids are the most common type of freshwater aquarium fish because of their vibrant colours and unique personalities.

How many fish are in there?
Usually anywhere from 30 to 45, not counting the babies, which usually hide in the rocks until they grow bigger.

What about that big orange fish?
That’s a parrot fish, and it’s definitely the “boss” of the tank. Delia says parrot fish live an average of 12 years.

Do the fish have names?
Well, we don’t name them, but we’re delighted when some of the families do.

How often do we feed them?
Our Front Desk Coordinators help make sure our fish are fed regularly, three times a day, at 9 a.m., 4 p.m. and midnight. If families are around, she encourages them to watch.

What do the fish eat?
A combination of flake food and pellets, which contain brine shrimp and seaweed.

How big is the tank?
450 gallons, which Delia says is one of the larger ones she takes care of. She also says our tank is the most colourful. She works hard to make sure the decorations are bright and cheery for both the fish and the families. 

How often do we clean it?
Every week, with a special vacuum. It usually takes 60 to 90 minutes. The sucker fish in the tank also help to remove algae. They do most of their work at night.

Can the fish recognize people?
If you ask Emma, one of our Front Desk Coordinators, they definitely know her! As soon as they see her approaching the tank, she says they swim over to the feeding hole. Delia confirms that fish can become quite interactive and personal with people. They can even be trained to do certain tricks!