Marine Aquarium

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Marine Aquarium


(oceanarium), a tank of seawater used to keep marine animals, including invertebrates, fishes, reptiles, and mammals. As a rule, a marine aquarium consists of several tanks of varying volume. The smaller tanks contain small fishes and invertebrates and have a transparent side through which the animals can be viewed. Large fishes, turtles, pinnipeds, sirenians, and cetaceans are placed in larger tanks with observation windows. Alongside the larger tanks there often is an amphitheater for viewing performances by trained dolphins and pinnipeds. Scientific research is conducted at some marine aquariums, such as the one in Hawaii. Aquariums play an important educational role and are major tourist attractions. In the USSR there are marine aquariums in Sevastopol’, in Batumi, and near Karadag.

The Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco has 178 demonstration tanks and 192 reserve tanks, which range in volume from 70 l to 300 m3. Dolphins are kept in the largest tank. The aquarium outside Miami, Fla., has an 8-m-wide circular shark channel and a reef tank containing rapidly swimming fish. The main tank is round, measuring 24 m across and 5 m deep, and has viewing windows on two levels. It contains dolphins and various marine fishes. In the outer wall of the circular corridor that surrounds the tank there are 26 small aquariums containing various invertebrates and fishes.

The marine aquarium near Los Angeles consists of two tanks, one having a volume of 3,000 m3 and the other 2,500 m3. There is also an open body of water—the “sea circus”—which is used to exhibit trained pinnipeds and dolphins. One of the best aquariums in the United States is Sea World in San Diego, which has an excellent collection of fishes. Trained killer whales and small dolphins are exhibited.

The marine aquarium in Hawaii, near Honolulu, has a tank with a capacity of 1,500 m3 in which the natural ecosystem of a coral reef, including approximately 100 species, is reproduced. One large tank is for performances by trained dolphins; one of its sides is transparent to enable observation of the diving animals.

London also has a marine aquarium for displaying trained dolphins. The city of Shimoda in Japan has an unusual type of aquarium. It consists of a metal container that floats in the middle of a small bay, which is protected from the open sea by a jetty with a narrow opening. The container is anchored and resembles a double-walled barrel. The external diameter is 21 m; the inside wall encloses a tank measuring 10 m across and 5.2 m deep. Both the inner and outer walls are equipped with floodlights, enabling visitors to watch the fish both inside the tank and in the bay.


Klumov, S. K., and V. E. Sokolov. “Okeanarii SSHA i Iaponii.” In the collection Morfologiia i ekologiia morskikh mlekopitaiushchikh. Moscow, 1971.


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According to the report, an estimated two million people worldwide keep marine aquaria in this $30 million (US) a year industry.

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