Austria’s largest aquarium
On May, 4, 2007, we had finally made it! With a delay of 20 months, the new shark pool was put in place and the sharks were supposed to be transferred starting from 5 am. Prof. Dr. Hans Hass and his wife Lotte had agreed in advance, to borrow their name to the aquarium. On May, 7, 2007, the major and his deputy were supposed to perform the opening ceremony together with Professor Hass and his wife.
Everything worked out well as we had planned it: The sharks and our ocean turtle puppy (who was supposed to get an even bigger home!) were transferred by 9 am. After having finished a great job, film maker Manfred Christ from Universum and our long-time veterinarian Dr. Adlassnig who had accompanied the action, left us.
Suddenly six out of nine sharks started to show signs of affliction and laid themselves downon the ground, heavily breathing. Before that, the sharks had just recovered from anesthesia and had been swimming normally. Six divers were immediately in the water, picked up the sharks and helped them swimming through the aquarium in order to keep their breathing system going. These efforts lasted up to nine hours but were unfortunately in vain- only three out of six sharks survived.
Finally we had our aquarium in place- with about 500 spinycheek groupers, kingfishes, batfishes and last but not least our ocean turtle puppy- but unfortunately with only three big sharks. Of course we immediately informed the Hass family, the mayor and his deputy. We were considering delaying the opening ceremonies. One thing was for sure: We were not going to buy new sharks as long as the analyses were not closed.
However, the feedback we received was so positive and encouraging that we managed to meet the deadline for the opening. After all, this was not a small thing: We are talking about the opening events for Austria’s largest aquarium!
For the construction of the aquarium, a notch of 8m height was cut into the external wall. There was no other way to get the panels of 5,5m height and 2, 2 tons weight into the building. After the stress analysts had given us green light, this "grot" was closed with a glass panel instead of concrete.
Beforehand, the ceiling between the fourth and fifth floor had been removed in order to create a sufficiently larger space. A staircase alongside the aquarium from the third to the fifth floor, offers our visitors multiple perspectives on the life inside the aquarium. Finally, an entrance slot for the divers was cut into the glass floor. As a result, a kind of tunnel makes it possible to observe man and beast "from below".
By now, seven sharks, hundreds of fishes and our ocean turtle populate the large basin. According to the tests, the water quality was fine and nobody was to be blamed for the shark incident. Our experiences and the medical opinions of our veterinaries were made accessible in the internet to zoos all over the world. In the end, we were relieved and happy about the impressive expansion of our zoo.