Behind the scenes
Behind the Scenes
Our quarantine area is used for a wide variety of purposes including the culturing of live foods, propagation of plants and corals, isolation of new animals, breeding area and as a nursery environment for animals born here. It is also used to provide medical care to animals that might need it. The peace and quiet of quarantine allows us to carry out essential health checks and any treatments that may be required. All animals that arrive here have to undergo a short quarantine period before we can introduce them into our main displays. Our quarantine is divided into sections; each having its own filtration system. The type of tank and the equipment used has to be very flexible so that it can be modified to provide whatever the animal needs. These modifications include lighting, tank size and internal structures. We also use isolated filtration systems to reduce the risk of spreading disease to other animals.
Tropical quarantine has several tanks ranging in size from 200L to 5000L! This area is very useful for rearing and monitoring juvenile animals. Glass tanks provide good visibility to help us ensure the animals are feeding well. We often weigh the animals so we can check their growth rates. This area is also used for essential captive breeding research for a variety of tropical fish and invertebrate species.
Corals are highly threatened in the world. The Deep offers a permanent home for corals that have been brought into the country without the correct paperwork and would otherwise be destroyed. Those that have been confiscated are often put into our displays where we can cater for their complex needs. Coral quarantine is specially designed with a lot of lamps above the tanks to re-create sunlight and is much shallower than most tanks. This helps the corals receive the high intensity light they need to grow. Corals need very good water quality and flow (among many other things!). The shallow tanks also allow easy access, very useful for propagation when we can have several hundred coral fragments to tend to! In order to help preserve corals across the world, we work with SECORE and Coral Zoo.
Jellyfish quarantine and food cultures
All the jellyfish you see within our displays are bred in this area. It is a complex process that caters for every stage in a jellyfishes’ life cycle from the anemone-like ‘polyp’ which releases a baby jellyfish (ephyrae) to a fully grown adult (medusa). Each life stage has to be carefully monitored and catered for to ensure they reach adulthood. Our jellyfish are kept in large U-shaped tanks called ‘Kriesels’. These provide a circular flow of water which is essential for these delicate animals. Jellyfish, corals and many tiny juvenile fish feed on microscopic plankton.
This system provides us with a range of tank sizes for animals that prefer cooler water such as species commonly found around the British coastline. The water has to be chilled to around 10 degrees C which needs plenty of insulation to help maintain these lower temperatures efficiently. This area is used as an incubation and nursery areas for many of our temperate animals which you may see in the Cool Seas exhibit.
As its name suggests, this is where our divers ‘kit-up’ and carry out essential health and safety check before entering the tanks each day. Each member of staff has their own set which is maintained and serviced on site. Dive teams are made up of 4 people for every dive; 2 divers, a supervisor and a tender. This is the main access point for our Endless Oceans display.