Tennessee Aquarium trying to cool animals in the water crisis

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Tennessee Aquarium has closed due to the water main break as they fight to keep their exhibits cool for the fish and animals.

The struggle has been to maintain water temperatures.

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All hands have been on deck since midnight.

They have been putting ice in the tanks to keep water temperatures from rising.

Aquarium officials report that they have been able to restore the chillers in both buildings since this morning.



And all exhibits are back to their proper temperatures.

But they did lose four fish, urchins, Anemones, and sea stars in the Vancouver Island exhibit. They were particularly sensitive to rising temperatures and could not be saved by the ice.

Aquarium officials plan to re-open when the water line is repaired.

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  • Ice was placed in many of the exhibits in the Ocean Journey building to keep the animals comfortable. The Gentoo and Macaroni penguins seemed to enjoy the extra ice.
  • Unfortunately, four temperature-sensitive fish, and some of the sea anemones, sea stars, and urchins in living in the Vancouver Island exhibit succumbed to heat-stress in spite of efforts to chill the water with ice bags.
  • Some animals, like these jellies, were moved to other exhibits to keep cool.
  • Air stones were added to the Secret Reef exhibit to keep dissolved oxygen at optimal levels.
  • All departments helped out throughout the night and day. Aquarium staff is shown delivering ice bags to the River Journey building.

Tennessee Aquarium staff were called in late last night in response to the water main break near downtown Chattanooga.

Our husbandry, operations and maintenance teams have been working since midnight to ensure the health of our animals. Unfortunately, we did lose four fish, some urchins, Anemones, and sea stars in our Vancouver Island exhibit.

These animals are very sensitive to warming waters and did not respond to attempts to chill the tank with ice.

We have restored chillers in both buildings and the situation has drastically improved in the past few hours.

The Tennessee Aquarium would like to thank everyone for their concern. We will reopen when this water line is repaired.