Tuesday 17 September 2019

Shark Tanks in Sea Point

CAPE ARGUS - 1939, December 16
How deceptively small Cape Town’s new ultra-modern aquarium at Sea Point appears from outside was demonstrated to a representative of The Argus today by Dr. C. von Bonde, Director of Fisheries, in a tour of the new building.
The aquarium, which is rapidly nearing completion and should be officially opened some time in the first half of next year, extends underground to more than twice its surface height. The exhibition hall itself is below ground, and below that again are great water-storage tanks.
Through an entrance on Beach Road, the public will do down a broad staircase, paneled in green Transvaal marble, to the exhibition hall. There 42 tanks, ten of them for fresh-water specimens, line the hall behind glass that is 1½ inches thick.
In this hall, too, the walls are marbled, with copper tank-frames, louvres and other fittings. Some of the tanks are 13 ft. long and big enough to hold small sharks. Daylights, diffused through the surface of water, makes luminous all the marine life in the tanks.
Down in the basement 62 000 gallons of water are stored in darkness in order that no algae may develop in it to cloud the glass of the exhibition tanks. Great air-ducts run through the hidden “service” passages where another 30 000 gallons of water are stored to feed the exhibition tanks. The entire building is air-conditioned.
The new aquarium, which will be operated, as far as the visiting public is concerned, as a municipal enterprise, is really the “head office” and laboratory of the Director of union fisheries and his staff. For them three laboratories and a photographic dark-room have been provided on the most modern lines.
The aquarium will be one of the “show” places of the Peninsula. The opening, eagerly awaited, is being pushed forward as much as possible and will not be delayed through war time shortage of material, since all the necessary materials are already on the site.
The Fisheries Department staff, it is expected, will move to their new laboratories within the next six weeks.

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