It’s time for the periodic renovation of our large marine aquarium, which has been suffering from detritus build-up and some coral mortality of late. All the marine life was safely released back into the ocean, and the rock structure substrate removed. The tank then underwent a thorough clean before new rockwork and substrate was added. The new aquascape was created using PVC piping to support the rock structure, and designed for maximum water flow throughout the tank.
The tank will be re-established over the coming months, initially as FOWLR (fish only with live rock) allowing us to exhibit larger fish specimens (potentially: Pygoplites diacanthus, Pomacanthus imperator, Naso lituratus, Zebrasoma desjardinii, Zanclus cornutus, Arothron diadematus, Panulirus versicolor, plus species of Chaetodon and Acanthurus).
The tank will run with minimal stock for at least a week to allow any NH3/ NO3/NO2(-) to be removed, caused by live rock die-off. Stock will then be chosen and added slowly, with the largest inhabitants added last.
We performed the renovations from 26 October to 8 November. Our new FOWLR display showcases selective fish stock amongst natural live rock, colonised by a variety of marine life (sponges, invertebrates, beneficial nitrifying bacteria). A natural-looking environment was created, with supplemental filtration to help optimise circulation and maintain a stable eco-system. The aquarium now showcases a diverse range of local marine species to provide an eye-catching display for guests as they enter our Marine Discovery Centre.
By the end of November, we had added a total of 148 marine animals into the aquarium, encompassing 38 species from across 19 families of fish, arthropods, echinoderms and molluscs. This diverse population provides an exciting attraction and educational resource, with a pleasing spectrum of colour and wide morphological and behavioural diversity (schooling & solitary fish, predators, foragers & filter feeders, adult & juvenile forms):
- Oriental sweetlips, Racoon butterflyfish, Picasso triggerfish, Naso Tang, Sailfin Tang, Blue-green chromis.
- Naso literatus, Rhinecanthus aculeatus, Zebrasoma veliferum, Chaetodon lanula, Plectorhinchus vittatus.
Water parameters are stable; salinity levelled at 32.3+/- 0.00 with an average temperature of 28.9°C+/- 0.00, which provides comfortable conditions within the main aquarium and Fish Lab tanks.
We now have two Sargasso Frogfish (1 juvenile and 1 adolescent), naturally very well camouflaged and sedentary, making a fun and educational opportunity for younger guests to attempt to spot them within the tank. We also have a Lionfish specimen, currently in quarantine and getting accustomed to feeding in the new environment before introduction into the main aquarium.