The New England Aquarium has re-opened after a $17.8 million renovation that completely upgraded the aquarium’s Giant Ocean Tank, adding more marine animals and coral formations, as well as a series of kid-friendly touch tanks. The Giant Ocean Tank, which resembles a Caribbean coral reef is 26 feet deep and 40 feet wide. It holds 200,000 gallons of saltwater that stays at a temperature between 72 and 75- degrees Fahrenheit. The water is pumped in from Boston Harbor and run through a filtration system and warmed up before it enters the tank.
Blacknose sharks, scrawled filefish, midnight parrotfish, trumpetfish, guitarfish and yellow goatfish have been added to the aquarium to complement the Kemp’s Ridley and loggerhead sea turtles, barracuda, stingrays, moray eels, and other reef fishes that call the aquarium home. Each coral in the tank is a replica of Caribbean coral and were handmade by aquarium artists. The color reproductions were accomplished by way of mixing in color pigments with the materials rather than painting them by hand. This ensures that the faux corals will keep their colors even after divers scrub them to remove the algae that will grow on them. In all, tank features more than 3,000 hand made coral elements.
The renovation includes 67 all new viewing windows and 52 viewing bays, more than 2,000 reef fish and the new Yawkey Coral Reef Center that is located at the top of the exhibit. The top of the exhibit is enclosed with a glass railing that helps to showcase the predators that swim at the top of the water column. A reflective ceiling dome was added in an effort to enhance the underwater viewing experience, and a ramp was added to the top of the main tank for wheelchair and stroller access to Level 4. An interactive fish identification application on iPads are mounted near the viewing windows to provide visitors with more information on the animals in the tank. For more information, visit the New England Aquarium website.