Japan from the inside out

Nippon Noel: Eelectricity!

Posted by ampontan on Thursday, December 13, 2007

NOW HERE’S AN EXAMPLE of thinking outside the envelope. The Aquatotto fresh water aquarium in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture, has set up a Christmas tree in their first floor lobby with lights powered by the discharge of an electric eel. The tree will be up until Christmas day.


Electric eels—which are more closely related to catfish than eels–discharge electricity when locating their prey or defending themselves. The specimen in the aquarium generates the juice when it’s been fed. The keepers have placed electrodes in the tank that detect and amplify the electricity to light up the two-meter-high tree.

The lights on that tree burn more brightly than one might suspect. The fish can grow from one to 2.5 meters long and weigh up to 20 kilograms. They also can generate up to 500 volts and 1 ampere of current (500 watts), and can be dangerous for adult humans.

Leave it to the Japanese to think of a way to use fish to make spirits bright during the holiday season!

One Response to “Nippon Noel: Eelectricity!”

  1. Durf said

    Great stuff. 🙂 The aquarium’s news release notes that they did this last year as well, but this year they’ve gone with a tree that plays music at higher voltages. The eel (named “Unapon”) seems to be up to the task.

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