Jump to content

Letter from Moody Gardens, Galveston


Recommended Posts

Just thought I'd share this with everyone. I posed some questions to Moody Gardens and while general in nature I thought it interesting to see what the big boys are doing in terms of Marine water, light and chemicals. I do weekly 10% water changes and it was nice to see that this is what they adhere to as well.



"Greetings David",

Thanks for your enquiry about our marine aquariums, I’ll answer your questions as best I can. If you have any additional ones, please let me know.

Most of our systems are very simple but efficient, we have biofilters, mechanical filters using floss, bags, and cartridges, protein skimmers, UV sterilization, and some of the tanks have ozone. We don’t use turf scrubbers but do have refugiums with macro alga on the coral holding systems.

Water quality parameters differ depending on the animals housed in the exhibit and their requirements. I’ll give you parameters for our warm water marine tanks and reef exhibits.

Temperature: 780 – 84o F

pH: 7.8 – 8.3

Salinity: 32 – 35 ppt

NH3: 0.00 mg/L

NO2: 0.00 mg/L

NO3: 1 – 10 mg/L

PO4: 0.00 mg/L

Ca: 250 – 450 mg/L

Alkalinity: 2.0 – 4.0 meq/L

We perform 10% weekly water changes as SOP and as needed to maintain optimal health of the animals and system. We are very fortunate here to have natural seawater available to us from Offatts Bayou, an adjoining body of water to West Galveston Bay. The water quality remains fairly consistent all year long which really helps us out, though we do have to deal with some extremes for rainfall or drought. If we have to add salt to the seawater, we use a commercially available mix made for public aquariums in Dallas. We also have a few RO units available for that purity of water if we need it as well.

Lighting conditions vary by tank, depending on animals and environment. We use a combination of PC’s and metal halides, together or separately on a 12 on/12 off cycle. The PC’s are 65 watt square pin 10K’s or actinics and the metal halides are 400 watt 10K, 14K, and 20K’s. The primary consideration as to the combination we use is the best intensity and spectrum needed for the target animals, whether soft or hard corals to our dimly lit deep water tanks. For the corals we usually use a combination of 10 and 20K’s, it’s a good formula that works 90% of the time. No real need to reinventing the wheel. As you know though, you always have to tweak the externals; light, flow, water quality, chemical additions, animals placement, etc, to get things just right. Aquariums are dynamic environments that constantly change day to day, demanding our attention to detail. They’re also quite forgiving because nature has an extraordinary way if keeping itself in balance.

I hope this has helped somewhat with your questions. The best of luck to you and your club, remember, we are stewards of the animals we care for and it is our privilege, not right, to share the earth with these beautiful animals. Take care.

Roy Drinnen

Assistant Curator of Fishes

The Aquarium at Moody Gardens

One Hope Blvd.

Galveston, Texas 77554

Off: (409) 683-4103

Cel: (281) 642-5354

Fax: (409) 683-4943

[email protected]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember you mentioning this at the last meeting. Great information to share with all of us. In my last visit to Moody Gardens a couple years ago there was a couple of small windows allowing a person to see some of the pipes and filtration for the building with the aquatic livestock. This was before all the hurricanes so things may have changed. If I remember right the protein skimmer I saw looked like it was 4ft wide in diameter and about 12ft tall. Of course I may be wrong with my visuals but it definatly looked to be a skimmer. There were lots of pipes. I do remember clearly seeing coral frags on plugs in a couple of holding tanks off to the side of the windows. Makes me wonder if they give frags to fellow reefers. I'll ask next time I am down in that area for a vacation. Nobody hold their breath though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...