Renovation for aquarium

One of the North-east’s favourite tourist attractions has recently undergone a major renovation which has seen it’s central exhibit given a new look.

After 16 years of operation, Macduff Marine Aquarium’s unique kelp reef exhibit at the centre of the attraction has undergone a complete makeover.

The cylindrical tank, which is 5m deep and open to the sky, has been suffering the effects of age for the past few years, with the fake rock features beginning to crumble away.

The fish had a load of rubble to swim around instead of a beautiful reef, so it was decided to take action and rectify the problem.

Thanks to some investment from Aberdeenshire Council, the aquarium team have now been able to give the exhibit some much-needed attention.

The biggest challenge facing them was to undertake the refit with the tank full of 400,000 litres of water and almost 100 fish, as the aquarium does not have the capacity to hold all the big cod, congers, wolf fish, wrasse, bass and other star exhibits.

First, the team designed a new, rocky theme and commissioned a specialist aquarium building company - Aquarium Technology Ltd, which had originally built the aquarium in 1996 - to construct several fake rock pinacles that would be free-standing in the kelp tank.

Then, professional divers were called in to destroy the original rocks, chunk by chunk, and the rubble was craned out from top of the tank - roughly eight tonnes of it - until the tank had bare floors.

New rock pinnacles arrived from Weymouth and finally a weather window allowed the cranes to lift the rocks into place.

Aquarium manager, Claire Matthews said: “It was a huge operation but everything went as well as it could have.

“We’re delighted with the new look and the fish are certainly swimming actively and checking out the changes.

“A big thank-you goes out to all who were involved and we’re very much looking forward to hearing what visitors have to say.”

For information on the aquarium call (01261) 833369.