Re: NANFA-- Time to liven things up a bit

Christopher Scharpf (
Sun, 09 Jan 2000 10:50:07 -0400

Jeff Kruse said:

> I could be wrong but I believe the Seattle Aquarium dumps its dirty water
>back into Puget Sound. They use water from Puget Sound for their tropical and
>cold water marine displays. What level of treatment could they use to make
>water safe?

I took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Seattle Aquarium last year. For their
Puget Sound fishes, they circulate water directly from the Sound, through the
systems, then back out into the Sound. That's how they maintain water quality,
low temperature, and provide a constant supply of planktonic organisms for the
inverts. (Monterey Bay and Pt. Defiance Aquariums do the same.) These are called
"open-system" aquaria.

Since the fish are collected from the Sound, and kept in water from the Sound,
there's no chance of releasing aquarium-borne pathogens into the wild. Nothing
is done to make the water "safe" for it is, in fact, the safest water they can
be in. Nor are any of the fish quarantined before going on display since the
constant inflow of Sound water would instantly negate the quarantine.

For their "closed-system" tropical marine fishes, the way I understand it is,
they pump water from the Sound, ozonize it to kill any nasties, and warm it to a
tropical temperature. I believe -- but am not certain -- that they dump this
water back into the Sound (as opposed to pouring it down the drain). I'm
guessing that any potential tropical pathogens would be killed by the Sound's
c-c-c-cold water.

Standard aquarium protocol dictates that there is no mixing of equipment (e.g.,
nets) between one system and another without their first being disinfected. At
the Tennessee Aquarium, aquarists are required to wash their hands after working
in one aquarium and then moving to another.

Chris Scharpf

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