With 160 species of fish from around the world, the aquarium has its share of shapes and colors. Here's a handful of the fish you'll see:
Length: Varies from eight inches to three feet
Home: Warm costal waters of the Atlantic, Mediterrananean and Indo-Pacific
Fun fact: Have a dorsal spine on top of their head to "lock" themselves into holes to prevent being eaten.
Length: Varies from 12 inches to 39 inches
Home: Found in tropical waters near coral reefs
Fun fact: After digestion, they excrete their waste as sand.
Length: Up to six feet long
Home: Northeastern Pacific Ocean
Fun fact: In the wild, these fish are bottom feeders eating things like crustaceans and mollusks.
Length: Up to 10 inches long
Home: Tropical Western Pacific waters (including Hawaii)
Fun fact: This fish is easy to spot with a distinct orange teardrop at the base
Length: Up to two feet long
Home: Indo-Pacific waters
Fun fact: Has a unique "horn" on its head, which grows as the animal grows. The horn has no known function.
Length: Up to 15 inches
Home: Indo-Pacific waters
Fun fact: Young fish have different colors and patterns than adults. The changes occur when the fish reach three to five inches long.
If you grew up loving Ariel and Sebastian from Disney's "The Little Mermaid," then you're in for a treat.
There may not be a singing crab belting out Caribbean-sounding tunes, but the "mermaids" swimming in 117,000-gallon reef aquarium at the Silverton are a unique sight to see. The mermaids join the 4,000-plus exotic fish and do everything from blowing bubbles to interacting with kids watching from the outside.
But the mermaids are more than just pretty ladies donning colorful fins and bikini tops. These women have various backgrounds, from synchronized and competitive swimming to ballet. You'll see them twirl, flip, dance and do other fun stunts -- you would almost believe they really are part-fish!
You may wonder how the mermaids breathe underwater, since they're swimming in the tank 15 minutes at a time. Every mermaid is scuba-certified and gets air from hookah ports throughout the tank.
In addition to the mermaids, you can also sometimes catch divers feeding stingrays. During the feedings, there's a guide outside the tank who'll take questions from the audience. The divers have a built-in speaker in their suit and can answer anything you want to know about the fish.
Divers also share fascinating facts about the aquarium. For instance, the staff spends 32 hours a week cleaning the tank. And if you ever wondered if the bigger fish attack the smaller ones, it rarely happens. The fish are well fed.
It's fun to watch the fish in their own little world. You'll see fish sticking close together like high school cliques and sting rays brushing up against each other as they glide and flap their fins. Some fish, like the sting ray and leopard shark, like to hang out on the aquarium floor. This is a sight to see since we're so used to seeing fish on the go.
Speaking of sticking together, if you're inspired to get married in Vegas and you happen to be scuba certified, the Silverton may have a wedding package for you. Say your "I Do's" with a mermaid for a bridesmaid and a sting ray or shark as best man.
It's easy to lose track of time just by watching the sea creatures. Fortunately, there are comfortable benches outside the Mermaid Cafe and Lounge. While you're in the area, make sure to check out the mermaid art gallery. All art is available for sale and can even be shipped out of state.
After visiting this aquarium, you may find yourself humming Ariel's "Part of Your World" and Sebastian's "Under the Sea." And maybe - just maybe - you'll be inspired to scuba dive.