National Aquarium overhaul creates coral ecosystem

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Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 11:41 am | Updated: 10:30 am, Fri Aug 16, 2013.

BALTIMORE (AP) — The National Aquarium in Baltimore is completing one of the biggest overhauls in its 32-year history with a massive new centerpiece exhibit that features 1,000 animals and 3,000 hand-sculpted coral replicas as their environment.

The previously leaky central tank is teeming with new life after a $12.5 million renovation. What had been a popular exhibit of mostly sting rays now includes 65 different animal species, including a beloved sea turtle named Calypso.

This week, the aquarium added 20 new blacktip reef sharks from Australia to help complete an ecosystem that replicates endangered Indo-Pacific reefs.

The result is a colorful, lively centerpiece for one of Baltimore's top attractions. The aquarium will celebrate the exhibit's grand opening Aug. 8.

Soon it will also add fish from the aquarium's Washington location, which is closing.

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