Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Our favourite rock pooling site

Sea view

This is the place where we have done 90% of all our rock pooling. I used to live here as a child and I have spent many thousands of hours searching these pools over the years. Even today over 40 years on I still return to this location and it still feels like I'm back home when I'm there.
The area is in the SW of England and is a good mix of habitat, weedy rock pools, large areas of sand, and barren rocks with lots of boulders, perfect for attracting the widest range of wildlife, if you know where to look.

If you were to clamber over the rocks and look into the pools and expected to see hundreds of fish and other wildlife then you'd be in for a huge disappointment, they aren't so easy to see. If they were the gulls would have eaten them all long ago. But I still find it surprising just how many people do this and then having not seen anything they assume that there is little there to be seen.

To date we have found all the following in this one location:


Fish species

1, Shanny2, Montagu's blenny3, Sand goby
4, Painted goby5, Rock goby6, Giant goby
7, Two spot goby8 European eel9, Conger eel
10, Worm pipefish11, Shore rockling12, Five bearded rockling
13, Clingfish14, 15spined stickleback15, Dab
16, Scorpionfish17, Thick lipped mullet18, Bass
19, Pollack20, Ballan wrasse21, Corkwing wrasse
22, Goldsinny wrasse23, Lesser sand eel 

Invert species

24, Shore crab25, Hermit crab26, Edible crab
27, Porcelain crab28, Velvet crab29, Xantho crab
30, Pennants crab31, Squat lobster32, Barnacles
33, Cushion starfish34, Brittle starfish35, Spiny starfish
36, Limpets37, Periwinkles38, Painted topshell
39, Sea slug40, Cowries41, Flat periwinkle
42, Spirorbidae43 Lugworm44, Ragworm
45, Beadlet anemone46, Snakelocks anemone47, Dahlia anemone
48, Daisy anemone49, Gem anemone50, Brown shrimp
51, Common prawn52, Unknown shrimps53, Star Ascidian
55, Mussels55, 16 types of seaweeds 


Not bad for one beach and every year the list grows more yet I feel we have only scratched the surface. There are lots more inverts at this location it's just that we haven't really looked at them in detail yet.

This year Pennants swimming crab was added to the list after we looked in a new area which we hadn't tried before. I thought it would be a good idea to look in the sand right at the waters edge at low tide, hoping to find some sand eels. We didn't find any but we did find a Pennants swimming crab a couple of inches below the surface of the sand.

Swimming crab

I guess the point of this is, don't expect to see everything in an hour and don't be so fast to dismiss an area just because at first glance it looks a little barren. Spend some time there, look properly even try the area at different times of year and who knows what is there just waiting to be discovered.