The aquarium was designed to facilitate changing environmental conditions. A clear roof enables the aquarium to experience the natural photo-period and subtle changes in lighting, whilst shade netting and ventilation though wooden slats in the walls allows the internal air temperature to remain close to the external. The aquarium is extremely versatile and able to cater to many different needs and uses.
The aquarium operates on a continuous flow-through system via twin intake pipes. The intakes provide the facility with a constant 20,000 l/h supply of clean raw seawater, direct from the local environment.
Therefore, the aquarium water chemistry mirrors that of the inshore water chemistry without the risk of contamination or settlement. This facilitates the culture of many invertebrate and larval species, which are impossible to culture without good water quality as well providing true ambient water conditions.
The open-spaced aquarium has upwards of twenty, 800 – 900 litre insulated fibre glass tanks in the facility. Each one is extremely versatile which allows for control of numerous conditions such as temperature, lighting, and water chemistry.
The aquarium is fitted with shallow or deeper rectangular tanks, and tanks with large acrylic viewing windows. The aquarium also has a small number of larger round tanks for housing larger marine animals and an off-system deprivation tank to safely quarantine non-local species.
The seven-meter-long tank has been specifically designed for behaviour and movement studies. The tank is fitted with infrared recording equipment and a system to easily adjust the water level. Multiple inflows and outflows eliminate the creation of a single flow gradient.