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Toledo Zoo fills its aquarium

Tank needs to be warmed before fish can be added

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Jay Hemdal, Toledo Zoo curator of fishes and invertebrates, answers questions about the Flooded Amazon Forest exhibit tank as it is filled with water in the aquarium of the Toledo Zoo.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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The Toledo Zoo’s big, freshwater aquarium is now full of water — 15,000 gallons of it that by late winter will become home to a variety of tropical freshwater creatures.

First, however, the 24-foot long, 10-foot deep tank has to be warmed up to 80 degrees, the temperature at which it will be maintained to keep it hospitable for the collection of Arapaima, pacu, leopoldi stingrays, and large catfish.

Then workers will introduce “beneficial bacteria” to the water to manage the ammonia introduced from fish waste, zoo spokesman Andi Norman said.

Only when the water is ready will the stars of the zoo’s Amazon exhibit move in, after a quarantine phase.

Ms. Norman said that’s all on schedule and within the $25.5 million aquarium construction budget that also features a 90,000-gallon Pacific Reef saltwater display and 30 other primary exhibits.

“We’re scheduled to open on March 27,” she said.

The aquarium closed two years ago for its overhaul, which includes renovating the aquarium building erected in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration.

When finished the total amount of water in the exhibits will have nearly quadrupled, from 46,000 gallons to 175,000. Along with the 32 main exhibits, it will have numerous smaller tanks.

The Amazon exhibit’s water came from Toledo’s municipal supply, but it was dechlorinated before being placed in the tank, Ms. Norman said.

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