The Oklahoma Fishes Aquarium is a unique educational and entertaining attraction, which is home for numerous fishes native to Oklahoma. Largemouth bass, white bass, bluegill, walleye, channel catfish, turtles, and many other species will be displayed. A major attribute of the aquarium is the opportunity to view dynamic living environment in which original fishes will grow, and new specimens will be added. Seasonal populations of gizzard shad, fathead minnows, and others will be continuously changing!
The Aquarium Tank
The Aquarium Tank is one of the largest single aquarium fish displays in the state. It is constructed of a single fiberglass unit 25 feet long and 12 feet wide with a water depth of 6 and one half feet. The six large acrylic viewing windows are one and one-half inches thick and hold back nearly 15,000 gallons of water.
The design was fabricated by H. Doug Kemper, a nationally known designer and builder of aquarium, zoo, and museum displays. He developed a natural, living representation of a typical Oklahoma fish community by building a naturalistic “mudbank” backdrop: recreating a creek channel habitat found throughout Oklahoma’s many large rivers and reservoirs. BIOS, of Seattle, Washington, another nationally known exhibit design firm, designed and produced the interpretive graphics explaining aquatic food webs and fisheries management by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. BIOS also designed the life support system for the aquarium.
The Life Support System
The life support system continuously circulates water through two types of filters, a sand pressure filter, similar to those used in swimming, and a subgravel biological filter. The primary function of the sand pressure filter is to remove particular matter from the water thereby maintaining a high degree of clarity. The biological filter, a series of perforated pipes, beneath the aquarium gravel, is crucial to the health of the fishes. Beneficial bacteria grow on the gravel and as water passes through, these bacteria convert toxic waste products from the fishes and uneaten food to non-toxic substances. The biological filter duplicates the nitrogen cycle essentially in the same way that occurs in natural waters. Originally tap water will be used to fill the tank and to make up for water loss due to evaporation and filter backwashing. (Backwashing is the process of reversing the water flow for a short period of time through the sand pressure filter to clean it). Constant aeration in the aquarium will maintain oxygen levels and will hasten removal of any chlorine contained in the small amounts of added tap water.
The diet of the fishes will consist of natural foraging of minnows as well supplemental provisions consisting of a variety of frozen foods, prepared fish foods, prepared fish food pellets, earthworms, and other nutritional fish staples.