Sharks need a home during tank repairs

May 07, 1992

Baltimore's National Aquarium, facing the temporary closing next year of its two huge "ring tanks" during a major overhaul, will be moving nearly 2,000 fish into other exhibits but has not yet decided where to put its sharks, the attraction's director said yesterday.

Since publication of an article in Sunday's editions of The Sun about the lengthy repair work, the aquarium has received hundreds of calls from people who were concerned that the whole facility might have to close. Director Nicholas Brown emphasized yesterday that not only will the aquarium remain open but that it also is "spending a million dollars on a replacement exhibit" -- a five-story-high laser show -- to be seen during the time of the repairs.

"We close exhibits all the time," Mr. Brown said. "We've never closed anything as big as that. It is going to change the face of the aquarium, but it's still going to be worth visiting."

Mr. Brown said that before the ring tanks can be repaired -- one part of the planned $10.3 million in renovation work and technological improvements beginning in September 1993 -- the water level of the 335,000-gallon Atlantic Coral Reef tank will be lowered and its inhabitants carefully netted and moved into other, smaller exhibits.

Moving the sharks from their 220,000-gallon tank may prove a bigger problem because of their appetites for other fish. One possibility being considered is moving the sharks into the tank originally used for marine mammals but now occupied by rays.

The coral reef and shark ring tanks have been a centerpiece of the aquarium since its opening nearly 11 years ago, and have been found to be deteriorating sooner than expected from the corrosive effects of saltwater.

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