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A View From Inside the Kodiak Lab Aquarium - Post 7

July 02, 2021

View the renovation work completed at the Kodiak Lab aquarium and touch tank.

Photo of a large cylindrical aquarium with fish, sea stars, rocks and artificial kelp. The Kodiak Laboratory's large aquarium restocked with fish and invertebrates after the renovation. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.
Photo of an empty and cleaned aquarium touch tank.
The Kodiak Laboratory aquarium touch tank after being cleaned and buffed. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

If you tuned into our virtual lab tour back in March, you had probably heard that our public touch tank and aquarium were being renovated. Well, we’re happy to say the renovation is complete and we are beyond pleased with the finished product! 

Over the winter, we took advantage of the fact that our building was closed to the public and envisioned some ways to improve our facility.

We tackled this project through a collaborative effort with the Kodiak Island Borough, the entity that owns and maintains the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center building.

Animated GIF video of a large cylindrical aquarium under renovation.
A video walkthrough of the Kodiak Lab aquarium's large tank while under renovation. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

During this project, both the touch tank and aquarium got massive, deep cleans.

Photo of aquarium faux mussels and barnacle parts drying on a sheet of cardboard.
Aquarium parts sets out to dry. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

This included removing every critter, draining all the water, removing all the sand, rocks and other structures and buffing the acrylic.

Photo of an aquarium structure in a tiled shower with cleaning fluids and brushes.
An aquarium structure being scrubbed and cleaned. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

Once all the structures were removed from the large aquarium, we pressure washed all the separate pieces to remove years of algae build up.

Photo of aquarium staff repairing a faux marine elements on a post structure.
Joletta repairing some damaged areas on the aquarium structures. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

Once all the pieces were clean and dry, we repaired damaged areas.

Photo of orange and white baskets filled with rocks submerged in a saltwater tank.
Aquarium rocks being saltwater rinsed and growing back good bacteria after being pressure washed. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.
Photo of sea stars and other invertebrates in a saltwater holding tank.
New critters collected for touch tank and aquarium. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

It was a lot of work, but we managed to get everything cleaned, fixed and put back together inside the aquarium.

We also installed new, artificial kelp to create different habitat areas for the fish and invertebrates.

Photo of a large cylindrical aquarium with habitat structures including rocks and faux kelp and stocked with fish, crabs and other invertebrates.
The large aquarium after the renovation, restocked and looking great. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

The kelp really adds dimension to our tanks and increases the realism of the environment!

We’ve been slowly reintroducing fish to the tanks over the last few weeks and we should have it back to full capacity shortly!

From all of us here at the NOAA Kodiak Lab, we hope you are enjoying summer & look forward to seeing you in person in the future!

Lastly, we’d like to acknowledge all the folks that helped in getting this project completed: Mike Litzow (NOAA AFSC), Allie Conrad (NOAA AFSC), Connor Cleary (NOAA AFSC), Adam Potter (Azura Co., in support of NOAA AFSC), Joletta Silva (Azura Co., in support of NOAA AFSC), Dave Conrad (KIB), Eddie Arellano (KIB), Lewis Laskie (KIB), and Chris Gilbert (KIB).

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