When I walked into the room it took my breath away. It’s such an amazing sight, particularly for someone who has kept freshwater aquariums for almost 30 years. Not only is it the largest planted freshwater aquarium in the world, but it was designed and created by the grand-master of planted aquariums, Takashi Amano.
This outstanding spectacle is a temporary exhibit at the Lisbon Oceanarium and, as soon as I became aware, there was no way that I would miss seeing it whilst I was in Lisbon.
The U-shaped display has a volume of 160,000 litres (42,267 gallons). It is 40 meters long, 2.5m wide and 1.45m deep. It holds 12 tonnes of sand, 25 tonnes of volcanic rock (from the Azores) and 78n tree trunks (from Scotland and Malaysia). There are 46 species of aquatic plants and a claimed 10,000 tropical fish from 40 species (although far less than that were visible during my visit).
It is difficult to capture the size and beauty of the display using still photos, but hopefully the following video clip gives a better idea. The music playing in the background is a composition created by musician and composer Rodrigo Leão, which helps to create a peaceful mood whilst enjoying Amano’s masterpiece.
I know that my fellow aquarium-keepers will want to see more detail on the plants and fish that stock this beautiful display, so here is another video that shows about 3/4 of the aquarium.
And here is a selection of photos that I took. I hope that they give an idea of what this wonderful display looks like.
A video showing the building of the exhibit can be located on the Lisbon Oceanarium website using this link – https://www.oceanario.pt/en/exhibitions/temporary-exhibition/