Aquariums are a way for people to capture a small piece of the biodiversity of the world’s oceans, lakes, and rivers, and give onlookers an insight into just how diverse aquatic animals really are. Aquariums can also vary wildly in size, from a small fishbowl in the corner of a room to massive pools holding tens of thousands of litres of water and consisting of entire ecosystems.
Here we will mainly be concerned with the latter; the largest and most magnificent aquariums found across the globe and what makes them unique.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Most people have probably heard of Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the most famous in the world. The aquarium was built on top of a former cannery in Cannery Row, California, and has since become an international attraction. There is plenty to see while visiting the aquarium, but it’s perhaps its two massive tanks that are the biggest draws. One is a 1.3 million litre tank that’s packed with marine life from California’s diverse coast. The other is a 4.5 million litre behemoth that boasts one of the biggest single-pane windows of all time.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
This aquarium is situated in the country of Japan, specifically in the Ocean Expo Park. It opened its doors to the public in 2002, and while there’s a lot to see and do, it’s perhaps the main tank that’s the most interesting. Named the Kuroshio Sea, it’s made up of 7.5 million litres of water, and has a glass panel that measures more than 22 metres and has a thickness of 60 centimetres, and it was the largest panel in the world when the aquarium was first opened. The tank is packed with marine life, including manta rays as well as whale sharks.
Dubai Mall Aquarium
Dubai is a city known for making things bigger than anywhere else, and the Dubai Mall Aquarium is no exception. Part of one of the largest shopping malls of all time, tank of the Dubai Mall is truly enormous, holding 10 million litres of water and total and housing more than 30000 different animals, including more than 400 manta rays and sharks. It holds the record for having the largest panel in the world, which is 75 centimetres thick and almost 33 metres in size. It’s a truly magnificent sight, and one that millions of people see every year while visiting the famous city.
The Georgia Aquarium currently holds the record for being the biggest aquarium in the world. Holding more than 100,000 animals in total, it was built on top of a $250 million donation from Bernie Marcus, one of the founders of Home Depot using the kind of cash usually reserved for online pokies winners. The main tank is home to whale sharks, which is the only tank outside of Asia to hold these gentle giants. The tank itself is filled with 24 million litres of water, and although it’s universally famous, there has been some concern as to keeping whale sharks in captivity.