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We've dived into our o-FISH-al annual 'count and clean' stocktake

  • Wednesday 3rd January 2024

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Aquarists at SEA LIFE London Aquarium today dived into its annual creature ‘Count and Clean’ to take stock of its huge array of amazing marine species.

Every January, expert Aquarists at the famous South Bank attraction don their wetsuits and come armed with their calculators and clipboards to take on the mammoth task of counting and measuring the attraction's more than 6,000 creatures and marine species.

The activity includes getting up close and personal with one of the attraction’s scariest species, the Chilean rose tarantula, which measures 150 centimetres, to some of its largest - Boris and Dougie the Green Sea turtles, who both weigh more than 100 kilograms.

During the annual ‘Count and Clean’, the creatures are all expertly examined and counted by the team of Aquarists. This time is also used to record any new arrivals which most notably include Daley the penguin, hatched in the attraction and named in honour of Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley OBE.

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By performing the annual activity, the Aquarists can enhance the strong bonds they have with the creatures whilst also getting the first opportunity of the year to spruce up the residents’ marine homes ready to gleam for guests in 2024.

Speaking of the annual event, SEA LIFE London Aquarium’s General Manager Catherine Pritchard said: “Count and Clean is one of our favourite and most important activities at SEA LIFE London Aquarium, as it’s a chance to take stock of all our new arrivals over the past year.

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“Whilst our Aquarists have lots of fun counting all the amazing creatures in our collection, we also use this time to perform an early spring clean to help us maintain the health and well-being of our creatures and ensure our tanks are in pristine condition to enable guests to get a good look at their favourite species.” 

The annual event allows SEA LIFE London Aquarium to take part in international breeding programmes, alongside SEA LIFE centres around the world. This includes the SEA LIFE Trust, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Union of Aquarium Curators (EUAC) studbook programmes which aim to conserve the healthy population of animals.

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Count and Clean Fact File

  • The largest animal in the ‘Count and Clean’ activity is the Sand Tiger Shark (3m long) and the smallest is the Coral Polyp (less than 3mm)
  • 2023 saw SEA LIFE London Aquarium welcome an adorable new Gentoo Penguin chick, named in honour of gold medal-winning diver Tom Daley, and 1.5m long Zebra Shark, Zebby
  • The amazing ocean display tank houses hundreds of marine species including the attraction’s two Green Sea Turtles, Boris, who is 1.5m long and weighs 138 kilograms, and Dougie, who is 1.45m long and weighs 101 kilograms
  • Ocean Invaders is the largest collection of jellyfish displays in the UK with Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), Upside Down Jellyfish (Cassiopea sp), White Spotted Jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata) and the Japanese Sea nettle (Chrysaora pacifica)