The large tank, furthest to the east, in the display hall, was adapted into a mangrove exhibit. Mangrove forests are a very important coastal habitat and the trees are a protected species in Bermuda. They prevent coastal erosion and provide shelter for many marine organisms which find safety hiding amongst the tree roots.
Prior to the tank redevelopment, Aquarist Steve Davis had set up plant pots with seedling mangroves. The tank was then designed to be tidal using a standard loop drainage system to try to simulate the natural environment as much as possible. In addition to having salt water as the main feed to the tank, fresh water injectors and sprayers were added to the exhibit in order to make the tank slightly brackish and add ‘rainfall’. Light tubes were installed over the exhibit along with sky lights to expose the plants to natural sunlight. Metal halide and LED lighting was also added for cloudy days. Finally, soil and Walsingham rock was used as a stable substrate on which the plants could grow.
In the 4 years since the tank was redeveloped, the plants have thrived and the juvenile fish added have grown considerably. If we have done our job well, then you should be leaving the aquarium with a greater appreciation of this amazing habitat.