As well as looking after the animals, staff are also looking after the building, ensuring that everything remains in good working order, ready to welcome visitors back.
The Deep has 70 individual habitats and more than 30 filtration systems to manage – the largest being Endless Oceans, which holds 2.5 million litres of water – all housing a total of about 3,000 animals, each of which has to be fed and cleaned on a daily basis.
Curator Ben says: “The day kicks off early in the morning when the team check the filtration systems are all in working order and conduct visual checks of every animal and exhibit within the building. All of the smaller displays are cleaned inside and out, scrubbing algae and removing uneaten food. Just because we’re closed, doesn’t mean that windows can be dirty. Food preparation is up next, with breakfast being typically served to the animals before 10am.
“Record keeping remains very important in all aspects of our husbandry care. For example, right now we have three juvenile zebra sharks, born at The Deep, growing in our nursery system. Theses sharks, bred as part of a well-managed European programme, are monitored closely and fed three times per day with the weight of food consumed by each shark recorded.
“To ensure each species thrives, regular water quality testing has to be carried out, analysing temperature, pH, salinity and making sure each part of the filtration systems is doing its job properly. The fish are fed up to four times per day, but the larger animals have to be hand-fed by the divers. This job allows for accurate recording of food intake and gives the divers chance to give them a close-up MOT. These large displays also need a lot of maintenance and require a huge amount of elbow grease to keep clean.
“Our colony of gentoo penguins are hand-fed twice every day in the morning and the afternoon, with a great deal of time spent on keeping their habitat in top condition. Penguins are one of several species at The Deep that require extra attention form the team to ensure that their environment is providing everything that they need. At this time of year when the colony starts to build nests, the team make sure that the right number and size of pebbles are available for the birds to present to each other during courtship rituals.”
As a charity, The Deep’s financial reserves are limited, so they are urging people to consider making a donation to help them continue their work. To date, they have raised more than £30,000, and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed.
But there’s still a long way to go, and with an unknown length of closure, we still need your help. If you are able to donate, visit thedeep.co.uk/support-us.