It’s a case of Mumbai belly for fish at Taraporewala Aquarium, 100-odd die

Pollutants, high salinity in water sourced from Arabian Sea prove fatal for them.

Written by Anjali Lukose | Mumbai | Published:March 18, 2015 1:01 am
Taraporewala Aquarium, fish died, polltuion, 100 fish died, arabian sea, filtterd water usage, mumbai news, city news, locla news, mumbai newsline, maharashtra news Dead fish lie in a tank at the Taraporewala Aquarium. (Source: Express Photo)

Within two weeks of its reopening, at least a hundred marine fish have died at the Taraporevala Aquarium. The main reason is the usage of ‘filtered’ water directly sourced from the Arabian sea, resulting in high salinity and pollution in the fish tanks.

A visit to the aquarium on Tuesday revealed that two blue star fish have replaced all the jelly fish in a special sleek tank that had showcased the latter.

While high turbidity was observed in the Cat fish and Arowana fish tanks, the tanks, which until a week ago, had Grouper fish of different kinds was empty.

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“Sea horses are back on display, but unfortunately the jelly fish and some other fish have died,” admitted Vijay Shikare, curator of the aquarium, who says the problem is only with the marine fish section. He blames the ‘pollution in the Arabian Sea’ for the problem of fish deaths.
While officials claimed there were no deaths on Tuesday, the previous two days saw 25 and 19 fish die. “The total number of dead fishes could be a hundred,” said one of the officials, who did not wish to be named.

Officials working on the fish tank displays said that at least 600 fish had been removed so far and the losses incurred so far could run into several lakhs.

Water for the tanks is sourced from the Arabian sea after filtering at the filtration plant. But sources said that there is a problem with the filtration plant and besides being faulty, it simply filters the water, but the sea water around Mumbai is extremely polluted.

“These are exotic fish bought from Bangkok and Malaysia and are kept in quarantine at 1.8 TDS (total dissolved salts) salinity. But the salinity in the tanks is as high as 24 TDS. These fish were matured at much lower salinity at the quarantine facility at the aquarium are bound to be killed,” said one of the officials.

The casualty so far includes angel fish, jelly fish, sea horses among other species of fish.

The fisheries department had spent Rs 22 crore on the aquarium, where a signboard announces that the tunnel aquarium is one of its kind in India. Some of the fish that have died were from this tank. The aquarium was shut in March 2013 and reopened after two years following the revamp. The aquarium sees an average of 6,000 visitors a day on weekends and 4,000 on week days.

Fisheries commissioner M B Gaikwad said that ticket sales have been reduced to manage the crowd. Visitors can now book tickets only between 10 am to 1 pm, and 2-5 pm.

A number of instructions have now propped up on the gate. “In case of overcrowding, ticket booking window timing may be reduced at short notice or in case of less crowd turnout, timing may be extended. Visitors will be allowed inside the aquarium only up to 5pm. There are only 16 marine and nine sweet water fish displayed and a tropical section only on the ground floor at this aquarium,” they read.

These instructions are put in place to ward off visitors who keep asking for more tanks and displays on upper floors, based on fake photos making rounds on Whatsapp groups, said officials.

anjali.lukose@expressindia.com

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  1. V
    Vijendra
    May 20, 2015 at 12:23 pm
    The fish are dying because the filteration, heating, cooling systems as well as the water parameters required for each individual species are not adequate. I have been keeping fish since 20 years now and have never heard of a lamer excuse given by the curator of their deaths. If you soruce water from somewhere for your closed ecosystems than that water has to be treated first to remove all the harmful solvents. Its true even for fresh water fish. All fish have different requirements with regard to water parameters (pH, gH, kH, temp, hardness) as well as the scapes. One cannot use the same water and decoration for all.
    Reply
  2. V
    Vijendra
    May 20, 2015 at 1:14 pm
    The videos I have seen on youtube shows almost all the fish gasping for air and milky water, which depicts the presence of ammonia which is due to improper cycling of the tanks. I request the authorities to first read the basics of fishkeeping.
    Reply