8 June 2010 – ABC Action News
TAMPA, Fla. – Of all the creatures at The Florida Aquarium, none is more difficult to keep alive in captivity than the leafy sea dragon.
“They’ve been known to drop dead if someone looks at the wrong,” said biologist Allen Marshall, whose job is it to keep them alive
“They’re very fragile animals and water quality is paramount to keeping them successfully.”
That high quality water is delivered to The Florida Aquarium about every two months by an unlikely partner — fertilizer producer, Mosaic. The company’s boats crisscross the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Florida allowing Mosaic to provide pristine sea water to the aquarium at no charge. Mosaic executive and Florida Aquarium board member Doug Montgomery explains how.
“As the ship comes across the gulf, we actually suck water up into our ballast tanks. We dock alongside the aquarium and through a series of pipes, the water is tested then released to the fish so they can live in this beautiful aquarium.”
Other aquariums have to formulate their own sea water — a very expensive process and it’s simply not as good according to the biologist.
But as the oil spewing from BP’s destroyed Deepwater Horizon rig threatens to spread far and wide. Mosaic is on high alert.
“As our ships that are coming across the gulf we make sure they’re in clean water before they fill their ballasts so we’re watching it very closely,” explained Montgomery.
The water deliveries from Mosaic are estimated to save The Florida Aquarium some $300,000 dollars a year. That water will be closely monitored, because Aquarium staff and biologists consider the lives of their aquatic residents to be priceless