Next time you step into the Taraporewala aquarium at Charni Road, you will find sharks, croaker fish and even sting rays gliding above you. The revamped aquarium will feature a tunnel aquarium at the entrance, much smaller but similar to the one at the Singapore’s SEA Aquarium, through which the visitors can enter the main aquarium area, according to officials from the fisheries department.
The tunnel aquarium, procured from Hong Kong, will soon be installed at the entrance as part of the final stage of renovation. After almost 15 months of work, the revamped aquarium will be ready for the public within two months, said Fisheries Commissioner Shyamsunder Shinde.
“Although the work is said to be almost over, we feel the aquarium will take more than a month to be fully functional. We are expediting the process. The delay was mainly because it took time to procure the glasses for the fish tanks from China and the US,” said Shinde.
Public works department (PWD) officials are currently installing multi-coloured lights on the external facade, flooding fish tanks to check on leaks and making room for the tunnel aquarium.
At present, around 15 fish tanks at the tropical section of the aquarium already feature different ecosystems such as the “moss aquarium” for pregnant fishes, “plantation aquarium” that features imported varieties of water lilies and other aquatic plants and “island aquarium”, among others. A special spherical tank has been procured to house the jelly fish, said fisheries officials, who did not wish to be named.
The aquarium will also have a large touch pool at the rear end, where visitors can touch star fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and turtles. A quarantined area adjacent to the touch pools will house the imported fishes to acclimatize them before being transferred into the main tanks, said an assistant fisheries development officer.
PWD officials are currently checking for leakages in the fish tanks and air leakages in the tanks’ bubbler equipment. “We are conducting the final tests for leakages, because these leaks are very difficult to plug later. We should be able to complete all the civil work and hand over the aquarium in a week’s time,” said a PWD official. To keep mosquito larvae in the water-filled tanks at bay, officials have kept few fishes in the “tropical section” aquariums till the civil work is complete.
The new aquarium will house 70 new varieties of marine fish and 40 new varieties of fresh water fish.”Once we get the completion certificate from the PWD department, we can start functioning within 15 days,” said an official from the fisheries department.
The old fountain at the entrance, now with marble finishing, is flanked by the tropical section and two rooms which will house the theatre and foot spa pools. While the 50-seater theatre will screen documentaries on fish, marine ecosystems as well as environment conservation, the fish spa room will have Garra Rufa fish who will nibble at the visitor’s feet and eat away all the dead cells.