An aquarium may have the finest veterinary and curatorial teams taking care of the animals, but without Life Support Systems (LSS) experts, all that effort comes to naught. Water is the life of the aquarium, and water is what this team specialises in.
The water specialists
The LSS team at S.E.A. Aquarium is made up of 40 engineers, technicians, electricians and biologists. They work in three shifts round the clock to ensure the water in all the habitats are within optimal parameters.
The water used in the aquarium comes from our doorstep, Keppel Harbour. But before it can be used, it has to be treated.
According to Steve Orpin, Director of LSS,
Every hour, about 40 million litres of seawater flows through our 300 water pumps. This water passes through various filtration and sterilisation processes, including 200 sand filters and 160 foam fractionators.
In the process of cleaning the water, the systems also reduce the temperature, from the ambient 30 degrees Celsius out in Keppel Harbour to the 26 – 28 degrees needed in most of the aquarium habitats.
Checks and balances
“While it is crucial to filter and sterilise the seawater, we can overdo it. Some naturally occurring bacteria and microbes are essential for the well-being of marine life. Checking water quality becomes critical,” adds Richard Gravil, Assistant Director of LSS.
Biggest commodity and nemesis
The LSS team’s biggest commodity is also its greatest enemy: seawater.
Richard: “Seawater is very corrosive and Singapore’s extreme humidity makes battling rust even more challenging. Equipment that last a couple of years in less humid countries do not usually last beyond a year here. To maintain our equipment, we regularly wash them with freshwater to rinse off the salt, and grease them to minimise oxidation.”
The LSS team may be hidden from the front line of S.E.A. Aquarium but their work determines the survival of over 100,000 marine animals, and makes possible an awe-inspiring view like this.