An Special Section FRIDAY, MAY 14, 1999
Hours, prices, and other information were current at time of publication and may have changed.


- Introduction
- Going there
- The murals
- The music
- Shop and Eat
- Beginnings


- World Rivers
- Shore Gallery
- Touch Pool
- Bizarre & Beautiful
- Dangerous & Deadly
- Riverbank
- 'Gator Bayou
-Amazon Rain Forest
- Coral Reef
- Jellyfish Gallery
- Kingdom of Penguins
- Ray Nursery
- Repopulation
- Surrounded by Sharks


- Staff and keepers
Oceanic Adventures Newport Aquarium] [Building image]
Surrounded by Sharks
A seamless acrylic tunnel puts you just 2 1/2 inches away from thousands of fish

[shark and diver]
Divers clean the tank and feed the sharks
        After leaving the Jellyfish Gallery, walk into the tunnel and look up: Graceful sharks are everywhere.

        This section lives up to its name. It's a seamless acrylic tunnel with thousands of fish of all sorts swimming around a backdrop modeled after a coral reef.

        Brightly colored man-made coral adorns the rocky cliffs on this reef. A few clusters rise from the floor in the middle of the tank. Looking up to the water's surface is a different perspective.

        Dim overhead lighting and a rippling water hide the ceiling beyond the surface and create an optical illusion where the top of the tunnel seems to melt into water.

        An acrylic floor panel offers a glimpse below. It's almost like an ocean dive and gives the feeling of being truly surrounded.

        The panel is 16 feet long and 9 feet wide. Because the acrylic is 21/2 inches thick, the animals seem close enough to touch when they swim by. Even the subtle details of the sharks' bodies are visible.

        Oh, and don't miss the menacing teeth of a Great Barracuda.

        Nurse and Sandtiger sharks live in the Atlantic and western Pacific oceans. Sandbar Sharks are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Great Barracudas swim worldwide, while Lemon Sharks inhabit southern areas of the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean.

        It cost $30,000 to acquire and transport 700 Jacks from Florida for the exhibit. Cost per Sandbar and Sandtiger shark was $2,500.

What fish eat
        The carnivorous Great Barracuda eats small fish. Nurse Sharks scan the bottom for squid, shrimp, sea urchins and crabs. Sandbar and Lemon Sharks dine on mollusks, fish and crustaceans. Sandtiger Sharks are hardly finicky. They eat many bony fishes, other small sharks, rays, squids, crabs and lobsters.

How big do they get?
        Lemon Sharks will grow to 11 feet. Sandtiger Sharks can reach 10 feet in length. Nurse Sharks might get to 9 feet. Sandbar Sharks can span 8 feet from nose to tail; Great Barracudas can reach up to 61/2 feet.

What you won't see
        The 380,000-gallon shark tank has four pumps to move the water, but it can operate on three while a pump is repaired or replaced. The water is moved through the sand-filtering system about 10 times every 24 hours. That's filtering 3.8 million gallons a day.

Exhibit by the numbers
        25 sharks in the exhibit

        85 feet of acrylic tunnel

        21/2 inch thick acrylic pieces

        8,500 pounds of acrylic floor pieces

        380,000 gallons of water in the display

        9 foot shark is the longest in the tank

        2,200 fish in the display

Stars of the Tank
        Great Barracuda: The Great Barracuda has been known to attack waders or divers wearing shiny objects, carrying fishing spears or holding speared fish all over the world. Some flesh of large barracudas is toxic when eaten.

        Nurse Shark: Nurse Sharks are not dangerous unless provoked. In fact, they spend the majority of their time powerfully sucking invertebrates from the Atlantic and western Pacific floors.

        Sandbar Shark: The Sandbar Shark spends most of its time in the open Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. When it is time for the females to give birth, however, they retreat to more shallow sandbar areas. Males aret often absent during labor.

        Sandtiger Shark: Jagged teeth give the Sandtiger Shark an intimidating look. But this shark is usually lazily cruising the Atlantic and western Pacific floor saving its quick movements for feeding time.

        Lemon Shark: After a 10- to 12-month gestation period, female Lemon Sharks give birth to a litter of between four and 17 pups of light yellow color. Lemon Sharks sexually mature around 6 years old.

The Tristate is Goin' Fishin'
Going to the Aquarium
Murals bring seascapes to life
Music sets the mood for 16 exhibits
Shop, eat and watch a movie
The making of an aquarium
World Rivers
Shore Gallery
Touch Pool
Bizarre & Beautiful
Dangerous & Deadly
'Gator Bayou
Amazon Rain Forest
Coral Reef
Jellyfish Gallery
Kingdom of Penguins
Ray Nursery
- Surrounded by Sharks
Meet the staff and keepers

Copyright 1999 The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.
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