With its about 500 square meters of exhibition and its 60.000 liters of water, the one of the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa is the greatest freshwater Aquaria in Italy.
Although they’re just a very small part of our planet’s water (about 3%, including glaciers), frashwaters hosts more than the 40% of the fish living species. The exhibition is aimed to provide a picture of the great diversity in the fish group.
The first one is devoted to the Lake Tanganika’s reefs (Africa), an environment which can be considered as the freshwater equivalent of the great Australian barrier reef: here you can find some Cichlid belonging to the Tropheus genus.
The seconda area is focused on the evolution of fishes: from the cartilagineous ones, such us the freshwater rays, through actual living fossils (such as polypterus, the lungfish and the arowanas), to various species belonging to Cypriniformes (like the Phreatichthys andruzzi of the Somalia), Characiformes (among wich the red-belly piranha and the tigerfish), Perciformes group (the greates living vertebrates order, including over 7.000 species, among which you can find here, for example, the snakehead, the tilapia and the angelfish), leading to the freshwater pufferfhishes. In this area two essential evolutionary step are dealt with. The first one is represented by the conquest of the land by some primordial fishes which brought on to the Amphibians; in a tank there is the axolotl, a very particular amphibian mantaining gills during the adult stage. The second step is represented by the later comeback to the water by some vertebrates (in this case, freshwater turtles, of which two species are present).
The third area hosts the koi karps, the ornamental kind of the common one, very famous for its chromatic varieties and raised for decorative purposes.
The fourth and the fifth areas, lastly, describe the world’s biodiversity with tanks devoted to the fish fauna of Europe (the karp,the roach, the chub, the eel, the Albanian roach and also three differente species of sturgeon), of Africa (the damba, the jewel fishes, and ), of America (among which the South-American arowanas, the oscar, the red-tailed catfish and the alligator gar) and of Asia (the largehead hairtail, the giant Gourami.