Forget Hollywood movies like Titanic and The Poseidon, you now have a chance to see a shipwreck up close when you visit Marine Life Park’s S.E.A. Aquarium.
Lo’ and behold – the Shipwreck Habitat is the first habitat you set sight upon entering the world’s largest aquarium, home to more than 800 species of marine animals.
You may wonder if the shipwreck in this habitat continues the story at Maritime Experiential Museum’s Typhoon Theatre. That’s only partly true. More importantly, your journey of discovering the oceans begins here.
The waters in the Southeast Asian region are littered with shipwrecks. Very often, these wrecks evolve into thriving marine habitats due to sponges and corals that colonise. Here, the exhibit is transformed into an artificial reef system.
The Shipwreck Habitat contains more than four million of litres of water and is, in fact, one of the largest habitats in the aquarium. And calling this habitat home are animal ambassadors like the Stellate Puffer (Arothron stellatus).
Just like how you’d want to make your home as comfy as possible, much effort was put into creating the habitats in the aquarium. We spoke to Craig Sowden, Chief Curator of S.E.A. Aquarium, to find out more.
Q. How do you design fish habitats in the aquarium?
When it comes to designing a habitat for a group of animals, size is the determining factor. Animals are assigned to different habitats in the S.E.A. Aquarium based on their region of origins – to correspond to the exhibition zones, as well as their size.
For instance, the Shipwreck Habitat suits schooling animals that roams around structures and have a natural liking to hide in dark, overhanging spaces. Hence, the shipwreck provides this elusive habitat for them. Although the Shipwreck Habitat cannot fully replicate a real shipwreck, it still gives the animals a slice of the natural habitat and a good mix of space for the animals to live in.
Q. How do you decide on the combination of residents in a habitat?
The mix of residents boils down to the expertise of the team. At the S.E.A. Aquarium, we have a team of experienced and skilled curators from all over the world. We pool together knowledge of different fishes, allowing us to decide what animals would look good, perform well and live happily with each other. Most of us are also divers whom had explored many different habitats that animals live in, and know well which animals can coexist together.
Q. How do you maintain the habitat in its optimum condition?
From an operation point of view, it is important to have a proper and efficient filtration system, life support systems, and constant monitoring of water parameters, making sure that they all stay optimum for the habitat to thrive.
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