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St. Lucie County Aquarium springs a leak; rebuilding to take three weeks

Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-29 19:18:12-05

It's one thing when there's a leak in your kitchen or bathroom.  It's quite another when there's a leak at an aquarium.  But a leak discovered inside the St. Lucie County Aquarium has workers restarting a project from scratch that had taken more than a decade to grow.

There are more than a dozen tanks at the aquarium that sits along the Indian Rive Lagoon in Fort Pierce.  But the biggest one you see when you walk in the front door is empty.

A few weeks ago, Smithsonian Exhibit Manager Bill Hoffman discovered a leak at the bottom of the tank.

“There were a couple of little tulip shells that found their way to that corner, and you could hear them tumbling for years and years," said Hoffman.

Moved here in 2001 from the Museum of Natural History in Washington, the 2,500 gallon tank was emptied and most of the fish were taken off-site.  Upstairs, the live corals are in holding tanks.  So now the rebuilding begins.

“It’s an ecosystem where the entire habitat upon which plants and animals that live on it are based are dependent on the corals growing in the structure, they create the habitat," said Hoffman.

Hoffman says the aquarium is still open for visitors.

“We also thought this would provide them with a unique opportunity to see a coral reef kind of blown apart.” 

If all goes as planned, there should be a brand new ecosystem to greet visitors in about three weeks.