There are fish in the Fresh Water aquarium! A few Emerald Shiners have been introduced to the aquarium as part of the process of establishing the biological system, and the fish are doing their jobs well! Immediately after the fish were introduced, ammonia levels in the aquarium spiked a bit which was expected, since fish naturally excrete ammonia. However, since then ammonia levels have been dropping which means there is some successful biological activity in the tank that is naturally starting to deal with the ammonia. No supplements have been added in close to a week which also confirms that the fish are doing their jobs! Staff will continue to introduce Shiners to the tank until the biological system has been fully established and it is safe to introduce the permanent specimens to the aquarium, which will include clams, mollusks and bass.
I assumed the process of changing the water in this giant aquarium would be complicated; however after witnessing a water change today I realize it is actually very efficient and well thought out. Everything is done from the mechanical room and involves turning a few knobs to open and close some shut off valves. Of course the process is closely monitored to make sure the proper amount of water comes in and out as well as making sure the water is the correct temperature, but the manual labour involved in changing the water is minimal. The new water that is brought into the tank is just tap water from the city which is very cold and could therefore change the temperature of the aquarium by 2 or 3 degrees, which is stressful on the fish, but also helps level out ammonia. Monitoring the temperature is important, but again is largely managed by the machines that support the aquarium. Overall, the process of changing the aquarium water is beneficial not only to museum staff but also to visitors because once the exhibit opens it means their visits won’t be interrupted by maintenance work. Visitors won’t even be able to tell when the water is being changed even when it’s happening right before their eyes!