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Refilling the Fijian Reef

Aquarium curators Jamie and James are keeping a blog as they work on the redevelopment of the Aquarium's Fijian Reef display.

The rockwork in the reef was finished this week, which means the maturation period for the filter was able to begin.

All aquarium filters (including the ones you keep at home) rely on living bacteria to help break down the waste produced by the fish and keep the water clean. When you start up a new aquarium you have to make sure enough time is given to allow the numbers of bacteria to grow. It is also important to add new fish to the aquarium slowly as, with each new fish added, you need to grow more bacteria - this is why it will take us until January to completely fill this display with fish!

Whilst we wait for the filtration to start working, we can continue to look after the fish behind the scenes and prepare the live corals to go back on display.
When you look at a coral you are not looking at just one animal,  you are looking at a lot of small animals called a polyp all living together to form one big coral, this means that if you cut even a small piece of coral off you will have lots of polyps to grow a whole new coral.
We can use this fact to allow us to take cuttings of the corals we have and grow lots of new ones behind the scenes to go on display later, just the same way you can do with plants in the garden.