The new Turtle Reef exhibit at Sea World San Antonio will definitely catch your eye, thanks to the beautiful creatures that now call it home! Six sea turtles inhabit the large tank in the theme park's new realm. Keeping the water in that tank safe and clean for the turtles is no simple task, though. A unique biofiltration system was put in place to ensure sustainability and longevity.
The grasses you'll see around the top of the tank are not just there for decoration... That grass is part of the biofiltration system! It actually is the same type of grass you'd see in some of the marshes on the Gulf Coast, mimicking a real, natural habitat. Here's how it works...
1. Water from in the tank needs to be filtered, since the fish produce waste. Yuck.
2. The water is pumped from the tank to where the grass is, to then be drained back into the tank later.
3. As the water is being drained back into the tank, the waste in the water is broken down into compounds that the grasses can use.
4. So, all that remains to be sent back into the tank is clean, filtered water!
This type of biofiltration system is the first of its kind in an aquarium in the United States! The hope is that this technology will be used elsewhere in the future, since it's more eco-friendly than previous filtration systems.
Additionally, both the tank and the filtration system were designed to hold more turtles, fish, and waste in the future - promoting a clean, sustainable future for many animals in the future.