How OdySea Aquarium keeps its sharks happy, healthy

Above: Visitors to OdySea Aquarium can observe sharks and other aquatic creatures by peering through over 5,400 feet of observation glass. (Photo and story by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News) Lifestyle | 26 Jul, 2018 |

With the Discovery Channel airing the 30th incarnation of its popular Shark Week television event this week, interest in the predator is high. The shows attract millions of viewers, and their popularity has led to multiple Sharknado movies and shark-themed items in popular video games.

Businesses in Arizona are capitalizing on the shark craze, too. OdySea Aquarium, on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Reservation near Scottsdale, has been filling its July calendar with a variety of shark-related events. Fifty sharks of 14 species live in the aquarium’s tanks, nearly half of them in the biggest tank, called Shark Waters.

But what goes into taking care of so many of these carnivorous creatures? The answer lies behind the scenes: advanced filtration systems, lots of raw fish and a dedicated team of employees, some of whom dive with the sharks on a regular basis.

Christopher Andree, a diver at OdySea aquarium, rinses the saltwater off of his wetsuit after a dive. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)

Nicole Schueller, a staff member at OdySea Aquarium, places raw fish in the aquarium’s fridge to let it thaw before serving it to other fish. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Known as a protein fractionator, this machine uses foam to filter animal waste and other impurities from OdySea’s water before pumping it back to the tanks. OdySea uses nearly three miles of pipes to pump water throughout the facility. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)

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