When you think of a superhero, some of the first images that come to mind are probably of capes or the selfless, protectors of a city. While our superheroes don’t wear capes, they selflessly dedicate their time caring for and protecting the habitats at Georgia Aquarium.

The Life Support Systems (LSS) and Water Quality Lab Departments are the unseen superheroes at Georgia Aquarium, working around the clock ensuring the water quality is perfect for all of the animals in their habitats. Not only do they monitor the water quality, but they also maintain the pumps, pipes, and filtration systems that carry over 10 million gallons of water to more than 100 habitats in the Aquarium! While that might not sound like a difficult job, there are more than 70 miles of pipes in Georgia Aquarium. That’s enough to circle the I-285 loop around the city of Atlanta!

The Aquarium’s life support system:

  • Uses a network of over 31 computers.
  • More than 500 different pumps push over 10 million gallons of fresh and saltwater through 187 sand filters, 76 towers, and 70 protein skimmers – all equipment that helps care for the water quality.
  • Uses filtered city of Atlanta water to create saltwaterfreshwater, and brackish water for all of the habitats.
  • The Life Support technicians can monitor and control: pumps, valves, and water flow from anywhere in the building.
  • There are over 4,500 analog and digital control points that will automatically alert the technicians if there is an abnormality.

Not only is the equipment used by our LSS team high-tech, but it’s also environmentally friendly! Each exhibit is on a closed loop system, meaning the water is filtered, treated, and returned to the same habitat. The advanced filtration system allows us to recycle and reuse more than 99.5 percent of the water in an exhibit – saving over 50 million gallons per year! Water quality is an essential element to Georgia Aquarium. Each exhibit is tested in the Water Quality Lab twice a day, making sure it remains at the best standard for all our animals. Each week, around 5,000 tests are performed on close to 60 habitats!

Here’s what is takes to maintain our 6.3 million gallon Ocean Voyager Built by The Home Depot exhibit:

  • Approximately 225 total pumps requiring a total of 5,000 horsepower
  • Pumps filtering more than 140,000 gallons of water in one minute
  • The filtration injects over 61,000 cubic feet of air per hour into protein skimmers that remove oils, residues, and animal waste from the water

Georgia Aquarium’s Life Support Systems and Water Quality Lab departments are essential, and serve as a vital step in keeping the habitats clean and safe for all our animals. These departments are truly the unseen superheroes of Georgia Aquarium – staying behind the scenes, and keeping the wellbeing and care of our animals the number one priority.

To learn more about Georgia Aquarium’s Life Support Systems, and learn how you can see the pump and filtration systems during a Behind the Seas tour, please visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/behind-the-seas-tours. Don’t forget to follow Georgia Aquarium on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.