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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 20:31 GMT 21:31 UK
Shark home opens to public
The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
The water in the tank weighs 2,500 tonnes
Europe's deepest aquarium tank - home to three tiger sharks and hundreds of exotic fish - is due to open in Plymouth on Saturday.

The new Mediterranean Tank at the National Marine Aquarium gives marine enthusiasts the chance to see underwater life in the 10.5m deep tank, the centrepiece of a 4m expansion of the aquarium.

Visitors walk through an acrylic tunnel to watch Mediterranean fish, stingrays and scorpion fish that inhabit the tank.

The marine life swims in 2.5m litres of water that pumped in from Plymouth Sound, supported by a 160-tonne steel reinforcement.
Shark
Sharks are the most popular sight

Kelvin Boot, the head of education at the aquarium, said the sand tiger sharks were the most popular attraction for visitors.

"I think the public like a bit of danger and mystery, and that is part of the attraction with sharks," he said.

"We treat our sharks with a huge amount of respect and caution. They are big and very powerful animals."

Moray eels

The sharks - originally from Florida - swim alongside other fish in the tanks and are fed on mackerel, squid and other fish prepared for them by aquarium staff.

Moray eels are another attraction for visitors.

"Their heads look fearsome and they have very sharp jaws," Mr Boot said.

"They are the stuff of horror movies like sharks are."

A new coral reef visible to the public through a glass window will also form part of the development.

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The BBC's Jane O'Brien
"The site is spectacular"

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See also:

21 Mar 02 | England
28 Dec 00 | Scotland
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