Posts Tagged 'indo-pacific reef'

Blacktip Reef Shark Cam: Watch Our New Exhibit In Action!

Twenty sleek, fast-moving blacktip reef sharks are now happily exploring their new home in Blacktip Reef!

Just as they are a vital element to coral reef ecosystems in nature, these sharks are one of the final and most important pieces of our new exhibit, the most comprehensive re-creation of an Indo-Pacific coral reef in the country.

Can’t make it to Baltimore to see Blacktip Reef in person? You can now virtually step into the exhibit and meet hundreds of aquatic animals by checking out our underwater Blacktip Reef Shark Cam!

shark week cam

Through a partnership with Discovery Channel and Shark Week, we’re excited to be able to share our exhibit virtually and hope to inspire conservation of these amazing animals AND their equally fragile habitats!

Animal Updates: July 26

blacktip reef update

Hundreds more tropical fish have been added to the exhibit! 

fish introduction BTR

This week, hundreds of medium and small-sized tropical fish were added to our newest exhibit, Blacktip Reef! This colorful, Indo-Pacific reef will soon be home to over 700 animals, including many species of shark (blacktip reef, zebra and wobbegong), rays and our 500+ green sea turtle Calypso!

Meet two of the species of pufferfish added to the exhibit this week:

White-spotted Puffer 

whitespotted puffer

White-spotted puffers are nocturnal – only leaving their staked territory within the reef to feed! Their diet consists of a large variety of hard-shelled prey such as mollusks and crab.

Orbicular Burrfish

Orbicular burrfish

The orbicular burrfish is also a nocturnal feeder. While they may look sweet, these fish have a mean bite! They’re mouth structures are built for crushing hard-shelled invertebrates.

Did you know? Both species of puffer, can take in water to inflate their bodies when threatened!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Blacktip Reef Update: One Month Left To Go!

We cannot wait for our new exhibit, Blacktip Reef, to open in summer of 2013! This coral-filled exhibit, replicating an Indo-Pacific ocean habitat, will feature 15 exciting species including blacktip reef sharks, reticulated whiptail rays and ornate wobbegong sharks. It will also be the new home for some of our most beloved animals, including our 400-pound green sea turtle Calypso and zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe. Guests will be able to experience this lively reef from many vantage points, including a new floor-to-ceiling pop-out viewing window that allows you to virtually step inside the exhibit.

It’s a long journey to opening day. Between animal transports, exhibit demolition, new construction and habitat fabrication, there are a lot of updates as we get closer to this summer. As we continue to build the future home of Blacktip Reef, get the latest on what’s new right here on our WATERblog!

It has been a very busy couple of months for our biological programs and exhibit teams as we continue to bring together all of the elements of our Blacktip Reef exhibit! Since our last video update, all of the coral pieces have been hand-installed into the exhibit. These coral pieces have each been carefully crafted to represent coral found in Indo-Pacific reefs. For more on how we created these pieces, check out “Aquarium Sculptors Create Coral For Conservation Awareness” – a piece that recently-aired on NPR’s All Things Considered.

blacktip reef coral installation

The design of our reef is truly unique in that it incorporates many micro-habitat areas that can be commonly found in wild reef ecosystems. These micro-habitats will be important homes for our smaller species of fish, which will naturally be looking for protection from larger fish and our blacktip reef sharks.

This wider shot depicts a greater portion of the reef, before water was added to the exhibit.

The deep dive portion of Blacktip Reef, before water was added to the exhibit.

In the last few weeks, salt water has been added to the exhibit space and the lid that was previously covering the construction area has been removed. Guests visiting the Aquarium can now get a sneak peek of Blacktip Reef and see our crews at work!

blacktip reef national aquarium

An aerial view of Blacktip Reef after the removal of the construction lid.

Divers are currently taking their first dips into the exhibit, familiarizing themselves with the space as well as checking our life-support and other critical systems for proper function. At the end of this month, our biological programs staff will begin introducing our animals into their new home, starting with the one and only Calypso (our 500+ pound green sea turtle)!

Calypso is enjoying plenty of brussel sprouts behind-the-scenes, but can't wait to explore her new home!

Calypso is enjoying plenty of brussel sprouts behind-the-scenes, but can’t wait to explore her new home!

Stay tuned for more updates on animal introductions and don’t forget to check out Blacktip Reef when it opens July 10th! 

Blacktip Reef Update: Habitat Creation

We cannot wait for our new exhibit, Blacktip Reef, to open in summer of 2013! This coral-filled exhibit, replicating an Indo-Pacific ocean habitat, will feature 15 exciting species including blacktip reef sharks, reticulated whiptail rays and ornate wobbegong sharks. It will also be the new home for some of our most beloved animals, including our 400-pound green sea turtle Calypso and zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe. Guests will be able to experience this lively reef from many vantage points, including a new floor-to-ceiling pop-out viewing window that allows you to virtually step inside the exhibit.

It’s a long journey to opening day. Between animal transports, exhibit demolition, new construction and habitat fabrication, there are a lot of updates as we get closer to this summer. As we continue to build the future home of Blacktip Reef, get the latest on what’s new right here on our WATERblog!

While our construction crew is busy renovating the 200,000-gallon exhibit space for Blacktip Reef, designers and contractors are hard at work creating exact replicas of corals found in the Indo-Pacific. Their primary goal is to ensure that everything from habitat fabrication to assembly and installation is held to the highest standard of authenticity. Watch this video to see the team in action:

The process of designing and building an expansive reef habitat for our animals is both a science and an art! Exhibitors spent months researching the species of coral found in Indo-Pacific reefs, then creating molds and hand-sculpting each piece of rock coral. Our team has to create corals that look real and are also completely safe for our animals.

Why not use real corals for our new exhibit?

Live corals require constant and intense amounts of light and take years to grow. Artificial corals are easier to maintain and repair over the years. Additionally, by crafting each piece of coral that will go into our new exhibit, designers have complete control over the look and shape of Blacktip Reef.

The end product will be a colorful and rich marine habitat perfect for both our animals and our guests to explore and enjoy!

Stay tuned for more Blacktip Reef updates! 

Blacktip Reef Update: Acrylic Installation

We cannot wait for our new exhibit, Blacktip Reef, to open in summer of 2013! This coral-filled exhibit, replicating an Indo-Pacific ocean habitat, will feature 15 exciting species including blacktip reef sharks, reticulated whiptail rays, and ornate wobbegong sharks. It will also be the new home for some of our most beloved animals, including our 400-pound green sea turtle Calypso, and zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe. Guests will be able to experience this lively reef from many vantage points, including a new floor-to-ceiling pop-out viewing window that allows you to virtually step inside the exhibit.

It’s a long journey to opening day. Between animal transports, exhibit demolition, new construction, and habitat fabrication, as well as the acquisition of new animals, we’ll have a lot to update you on leading up to next summer. As we continue to build the future home of Blacktip Reef, stay tuned to learn about new changes here on our WATERblog!

Our construction team has been very busy over the last few months building our new Blacktip Reef exhibit!

To give visitors a 160 degree panoramic view of our new Indo-Pacific reef and its inhabitants, the Aquarium had to install a 28 foot acrylic window in one piece. Installing a window of this size proved to be quite a challenge. Our biggest hurdle? Getting the large piece into the building!

Watch this video to see the acrylic piece be lifted into the building and installed into the exhibit:

To fit this large piece into the exhibit, the construction crew had to remove a large exterior window and use crane to lift it two stories.

After being pulled into the building, the acrylic then had to be lowered down one story to be properly installed into the exhibit space.

This new floor-to-ceiling look out area will give visitors the opportunity to step into the reef, experience the vibrant coral and get close to the diverse array of animals!

An artistic rendering of the floor-to-ceiling pop-out window

An artistic rendering of the floor-to-ceiling pop-out window.

Stay tuned for more Blacktip Reef updates! 


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