Last week I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes tour of the SEA LIFE London Aquarium. I’ve been to the Aquarium many times but never realised just how much is happening behind the Staff Only doors.
First stop was the area where staff prep for meal times. I saw boards explaining which fish needed what and any special diets. As Toby, the General Manager, took me through I saw some of the live bait such as tiny shrimps that are bred for meal times.
I was also amazed to find a special room where every fish that dies in the Aquarium, no matter how big or small, has a post-mortem. While I was there, there were test tubes ready to be sent off to labs.
Another fact I was amazed to find out was that Aquarium staff make their own salt water so that they can get the consistencies right for each of the exhibits. There were huge mounds of salt ready for dilution.
Next stop was a vast room full of live sea life being bred for breeding programs and conservation or quarantined. It was amazing, I saw new exhibits such as guitar sharks that look like a cross between a ray and a shark, a beautiful leopard ray, and lots more fish that I cannot remember the names of.
They had also just put some crown-of-thorns starfish into one of the exhibits for research. The starfish are usually found on coral reefs in the tropics where they prey on the coral. They are seen as a major threat to the coral reef ecosystem.
My highlight was being able to see one of the crocodiles which will be going into the new Rainforests of the World exhibit on Monday. She looked very content bathing under heat lamps and waiting for her dinner – frozen rats and chicks. Toby took me to see her sister who has already settled nicely into her new home within the rainforest exhibit. As we arrived she was swimming around, enjoying her new surroundings and waiting for her new friend to join her.
Rainforests of the World is open now at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium