Going with the flow is never exciting. That’s why we decided to stir things up at The Cutwater on Payette Lake and incorporate one of Idaho’s biggest bodies of saltwater right inside of our restaurant. With over 29 tropical fish species going about their daily lives in our 2,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, there are plenty of things to see and even more things to discover.

Our mini reef is a very complex ecosystem that sustains a lot of life and needs plenty of attention. So to make sure all is flowing smoothly, our technicians perform at least ten different tests on The Tank each week and monitor the results 24/7, literally.

Good thing we can pick up some cues from our tenants on how their stay is going by simply taking a closer look. One of the biggest, most apparent signs of healthy and happy fish are pregnant fish, and so far two have had babies and one of our Bangaii Cardinal Fish is pregnant right now!

And what an epic pregnancy it is! The odyssey begins when the female Bangaii Cardinal gives her eggs to a male of the same species so that he can “babysit” the brood in his mouth. (You can spot one of these Bangaii Cardinal “dads” if you look at their mouth pouch. If it’s swollen, it’s usually because his mouth is full of eggs. Sometimes when he gulps in water or yawns you can even see the little ones.) But they grow up so fast and the males eventually lay the eggs in the spiny body of sea urchins to keep them safe from being eaten by other fish. Once the baby fish hatch, the urchin doubles as the sea’s safest crib until the not-so-little-ones are finally brave enough to venture out on their own.

In our tank you can also spot “Blue Tuxedo” sea urchins, which aren’t spiky, but protect themselves by covering parts of their bodies with rocks, corals or shells. So if you thought you saw a moving rock- you were right. As for the rocks in The Tank, they were cured in seawater long before they came here so they are encrusted with a lot of macro and microscopic life. If you look carefully you can find several species of feather duster worms, sea stars, bristle worms, sponges and sea slugs that hitchhiked all the way to us. We even discovered a few crab species that were larvae, or babies in the rocks, and one in particular will grow up to be so big that we’ll have to take him out of The Tank!

Think that’s interesting? How about the fact that all clownfish, including every single one in The Tank, are born male. The most dominant of the group is the only one that transforms into a female. So when you spot the biggest clownfish, you know you’ve spotted one powerful female!

Ready for some more fun and games? Gather the gang and visit us any day of the week during breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy a delicious meal while trying to spot each of our 29 tropical fish in The Tank. Winner wins bragging rights!

Green Chromis
Bangaii Cardinalfish
Ocellaris Clownfish
Blue Tang
Vlamingi Tang
Powder Blue Tang
Clown Tang
Naso Tang
Tomini Tang
Yellow Tang
Green Mandarin
Target Mandarin
Japanese Swallowtail Angelfish
Exquisite Fairy Wrasse
Six-line Wrasse
Green Wrasse
Yellow Coris Wrasse
Squarespot Anthias
Bartlett’s Anthias
Lyretail Anthias
Linckia Sea Star
Nardoa Sea Star
Brittle Star
Fire Shrimp
Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Emerald Crab
Blue Tuxedo Urchin
Longspine Urchin

Make your reservation and let the games begin!

Call us at 208.630.0202, or visit us at TheCutwaterMcCall.com.