The team at SEA LIFE London Aquarium ensured the New Year got off to the freshest of starts with its annual week-long deep clean of the South Bank attraction. A total of 16 aquarists and specialist staff embarked on the mammoth task of cleaning the 63 displays under the watchful eye of the attraction’s more than 6,000 aquatic inhabitants.
One of the toughest tasks undertaken by the team this new year was cleaning the impressive 750,000 litre Ocean display, home to 20 different species including the display’s most inquisitive resident, Boris, a rare Green Sea turtle weighing in at over 100 kg. Boris made sure he was never far from the action, being upstaged only by a Southern stingray gliding past and stealthily staging a photobomb while Senior Aquarist Graham Banton cleaned the display window.
Aquarists then dived deep into the Pacific Reef display, where guests are able to see six different species of shark, including a resident Bowmouth guitarfish, named Betty. Half ray, half shark, Betty ensured she was star of the show as Curator Jamie Oliver gathered handfuls of shark teeth found at the bottom of the display. The Sand Tiger and Brown sharks shed one or two teeth per week, with replacements moving forward to take their place as soon as they lose them.
With the attraction’s vast array of creatures encompassing over five hundred species the task will take until the end of the week. From the resident Cuban crocodile and common octopus, the beloved clownfish and Blue Tang in Nemo’s Kingdom, majestic seahorses, colourful coral and everything in between, all the displays will be attended to.
SEA LIFE London Aquarium’s Curator, Jamie Oliver, commented: “We of course maintain our displays all year round, but the January deep clean has become a bit of a tradition now and is a good way to make sure the whole aquarium is gleaming, ready for the year ahead. It’s a big undertaking but one that the team, and it seems some of our animals, particularly enjoy.”