Friday, January 16, 2009

Marine aquarium in Cuddalore

Marine aquarium in Cuddalore boasts of over 70 unique fishes - The Hindu

A.V. Ragunathan

It has been established at Subbarayalu Children’s Park at a cost of Rs. 29 lakh

CUDDALORE: Cuddalore town can now boast of a modern marine aquarium with at least 70 colourful and unique fishes . These are found in the depths of the Bay of Bengal off Cuddalore and Parangipettai areas.

Established at the Subbarayalu Children’s Park here, the aquarium has been set up by the Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology of Annamamali University and the Cuddalore Municipal Corporation at the cost of Rs. 29 lakh.

While the civic body has constructed the building, the Marine Biology Centre has provided technical back-up such as selection of fish, glass tanks, interior set up, feed, etc.

G. Sankar, Senior Lecturer in the centre, told The Hindu that cost-wise, a marine aquarium would be 10 to 15 times higher than a fresh water aquarium.

Moreover, the marine species could survive only on select feed and in the right ecological condition.

Drainage aspect in the tanks should also be properly taken care of to enable each species live its full life span, which ranged from six months to seven years.

For instance, the species on display - including sea lion, koran angel (that has markings likened to Urdu letters on the tail), star fish, sea animal, parrot fish, ora, sail fish, blue damsel, cat fish, banner fish, sea horse of various hues, lobsters, crabs, clone fish and cow fish - had unique food habits.

Based on research, the feed had been prepared and supplied. Running a marine aquarium was an expert’s job. Mr. Sankar said that the Marine Biology Centre, as per the agreement, would run the aquarium for one year.

During the period, it would train the municipal staff on how to maintain the tanks and feed the fish.

He further said that each species was endowed with interesting characteristics and behavioural pattern that were arresting and educative. Mr. Sankar also said that special arrangements had been made to keep seawater in the tanks, each could hold 2,500 litres, for four months in the right condition.

The feed alone would cost about Rs. 300 a day, besides the upkeep of the tanks. Hence, a nominal entrance fee was being collected for maintaining the aquarium. In course of time, the local body would fix the right kind of fee, he added.

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