Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes, a team of men and women work everyday to run and maintain the Aquarium. The behind the scenes activities are just as important as what is presented to the public.

Everyday, 2 to 6 divers prepare and distribute 4 to 5 kilos of fish, shellfish, crustaceans, molluscs and vegetables them throughout the 36 tanks and basins of the Aquarium and the various quarantine tanks.

The Aquarium also has a "clinic" for the care of turtles.


Water treatment

The Aquarium is designed to operate using natural seawater.

In order to ensure the best possible living conditions for the animals, the water is monitored and treated with the greatest of care.
Cleanliness and stability of the aquatic environments is crucial to the well-being of the resident organisms. To this end, the Aquarium has set up its own water-quality monitoring lab.

The quarantine area

In order to protect the health of the animals, the Aquarium has also set up a quarantine facility, which is not open to the public.
The quarantine is used for the following purposes:

  • Initial acclimatization of new specimens, and their recovery if they were in any way injured or stressed during capture and transport
  • Veterinary inspections and, if need be, prescription of medication
  • Grow out of :
    • Post-larvae of reef fish
    • Juvenile turtles
    • Display specimens to reach large enough sizes to cohabit with other species (e.g.: sharks)
    • Coral colonies from cuttings.

Reproduction

The Aquarium is involved in experimenting with the reproduction of certain species in captivity :

Reproduction of chambered nautilus:
Study of the influence of water temperature on the maturing and hatching of nautilus eggs, with, as an added attraction, presentation of baby nautilus to the public. Incubation may take up to a year before hatching.

Reproduction of corals :
following initial attempts at gathering free-swimming larvae in 2009, and testing a variety of supports, the Aquarium entered into a partnership with WWF. The aim of the project is to devise means of collecting coral larvae and to induce them to form colonies in the Aquarium. The advantage of using the products of sexual reproduction over the more traditional of method of propagation from cuttings is to maintain a healthy genetic diversity of the cultured colonies. The Aquarium is a member of the international association of aquariums SECORE, whose aim is to develop and share the know-how in this domain. One can easily imagine applications of these techniques beyond the confines of the aquarium in efforts at regenerating ailing coral populations in the wild.

These initial experiments, of a rather technical nature, should pave the way to more scientific endeavours in line with the work carried out by the Aquarium since it was founded more than 50 years ago by Dr Catala, the discoverer of coral fluorescence.