Definitions

aquarium

aquarium

[uh-kwair-ee-uhm]
aquarium, name for any supervised exhibit of aquatic animals and plants. Aquariums are known to have been constructed in ancient Rome, Egypt, and Asia. Goldfish have been bred in China for several hundred years and are still the most commonly kept fish in home aquariums, although small tropical fish, such as guppies, have become increasingly popular. Large public aquariums have been made possible by the development of exhibit tanks capable of holding over 100,000 gal (378,500 liters) of water. The first aquarium known to have been constructed with glass is in Regent's Park, London (1853).

The maintenance of an aquarium of any size requires the careful regulation of water flow, temperature, light, food, and oxygen, removal of injurious debris, and attention to the special requirements of the individual species kept. Green aquatic plants are often used in aquariums since, through the process of photosynthesis, they utilize waste carbon dioxide from the animals' respiration and in turn provide oxygen. An aquarium in which the dissolved gases are kept at the proper concentrations by the physiological activities of the plants and animals is called a balanced aquarium. Certain mollusks, such as snails and mussels, are useful as scavengers, as are some species of fish.

Large freshwater and saltwater aquariums are often maintained for research and breeding purposes by universities, marine stations, and wildlife commissions, e.g., those in Naples, Italy; Monaco; Plymouth, England; La Jolla, Calif.; and Woods Hole, Mass. There are also many aquariums throughout the world for public exhibition. Among those in the United States are the Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation (formerly the New York Aquarium) at Brooklyn, N.Y.; the Georgia Aquarium at Atlanta; the John G. Shedd Aquarium at Chicago; Marineland of Florida at Marineland, Fla.; the Monterey Bay Aquarium at Monterey, Calif.; the National Aquarium at Baltimore, Md.; the New England Aquarium at Boston, Mass.; the New Jersey State Aquarium at Camden; the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at La Jolla, Calif.; the South Carolina Aquarium at Charleston, S.C.; the Steinhart Aquarium at San Francisco; the Tennessee Aquarium at Nashville; and the Waikiki Aquarium at Honolulu.

Receptacle for maintaining aquatic organisms, either freshwater or marine, or a facility in which a collection of aquatic organisms is displayed or studied. The first display aquarium opened in Regent's Park, England, in 1853. Many of the world's principal cities now have public aquariums as well as commercial ones; other aquarium facilities serve chiefly as research institutions. Regardless of size—whether a small one-gallon jar or a huge million-gallon tank—aquariums must be constructed with care; many substances, especially plastics and adhesives, that are nontoxic to humans are toxic to water-breathing animals. The primary requirement for maintaining aquatic organisms is water quality.

Learn more about aquarium with a free trial on Britannica.com.

The Deep is a large underwater aquarium situated at Sammy's Point, at the confluence of the River Hull and the Humber estuary in Hull, England. It opened in March 2002.

Billed as 'the world's only submarium', the tanks contain thousands of sea creatures (including seven species of shark), 2.5 million litres of water and 87 tonnes of salt housed in an iconic structure designed by Sir Terry Farrell and built as part of the UK National Lottery's Millennium Commission project.

So far the deep has welcomed over 2 million visitors from around the world.

As well as a tourist attraction, The Deep is a centre for marine research. Behind the scenes a team of dedicated marine biologists look after all of the animals in The Deep’s collection as well as carrying out vital research into the marine environment.

The Deep also has a very active education program with an average of 20,000 school visits a year passing through its three dedicated classrooms.

The Deep is the most successful millennium project in the Country.

The Attraction

A visit will generally last between 2 and 3 hours. Using a combination of hands on interactives, audiovisual presentations and living exhibits it tells the story of the worlds oceans. Visitors will be taken on a journey from the beginning of time through the present day oceans the icy darkness of a futuristic Deep-Sea research lab, Deep Blue one. One is directed up to the third floor and from this level a gently sloping ramp with interspersed audio-visual displays and interactive features leads you back down a couple of levels. Along the way, the handrail depicts time from the beginning of the Earth (1.5cm = 1,000,000 years) and the displays are located at the chronological point along the way.

At the bottom of the ramp, a bright lagoon is found with many brightly coloured tropical fish. Details of their habitat can be found on the interactive "find your creature" panels.

Next comes the main feature, a 10 metre deep pool containing 2.5 million litres of water, several sharks and large rays and a multitude of other fish. Early each afternoon, a show dive is performed where two members of the team dive to the bottom of this tank and feed the sharks and rays by hand.

Further things to see include fish that glow in the dark, coral and sea horses. Finally, there is an interactive area where one can learn to control an underwater diving vessel.

The Deep is a charitable public aquarium dedicated to increasing peoples enjoyment and understanding of the World’s oceans. The Deep hosts a variety of special events for schools, families and others, all maintained for all ages: details can be found on its website.

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