The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga has set up a special system to capture bio-electric discharges from Miguel Wattson, its resident electric eel. The system takes Miguel’s low-energy pulses and uses them to power the lights on a Christmas tree beside the tank, the aquarium said in a news release. Miguel also emits a thunderous sound through a set of speakers.
“Whenever Miguel discharges electricity, sensors in the water deliver the charge to a set of speakers,” Joey Turnipseed, the aquarium’s AV expert, said in the news release. “The speakers convert the discharge into the sound you hear and the festively flashing lights.”
The eel emits low-voltage blips of electricity while it searches for food, aquarium staffer Kimberly Hurt told The Associated Press. The electricity causes the lights on the tree to blink rapidly. The lights flash more brightly when Miguel is excited or eating.
The aquarium has gone to great lengths to share Miguel Wattson’s electric personality with the world. They teamed up with coders at Tennessee Tech University to give Miguel his own Twitter account that sends messages with every electrical discharge.
“Miguel” also tweeted a video of its tree-lighting skills on Monday.
“My phenomenal cosmic — well, bio-electric — power is basically limitless,” the tweet said.
The aquarium hopes Miguel Wattson will spark children’s imaginations with its peculiar set of skills.