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Aquarium Repair Completed

February 27, 2017

yellow fish in the Phyllis Donner Aquarium

It’s a situation no aquarium owner wants to happen: a complete removal of all aquarium contents to make a repair. Yet that’s exactly what happened recently with the Phyllis Donner Aquarium at MCPL Wausau, though we’re happy to say the repairs were completed without the loss of any aquatic life.

The aquarium was constructed in 2012 by Las Vegas-based Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM), famous for their Animal Planet television show “Tanked.” In December, Darren Letner, owner of Tank Mates LLC in Wausau and the aquarium’s caretaker, noticed a few spots at the bottom of the aquarium where the seal holding in 650 gallons of saltwater was starting to deteriorate. 

A plan was devised that required Letner to empty the entire tank – sand, rocks, fish and all – into six large plastic tubs and kept at a steady temperature of 78-79 degrees. An ATM employee was flown in – the tank is still under warranty – and the entire perimeter of the tank received a fresh application of sealant that should keep the inhabitants safe for a long time, if not forever.

Such a move is stressful for the fish: “It’s something you don’t ever want to have to do,” Letner said. In fact, Letner said they were prepared to lose some aquatic residents, including the most sensitive fish like the Emperor Angel and Copperband Butterfly. But to our delight, all of the creatures pulled through the ordeal, which lasted about 48 hours, and seem to be readjusting to their environment just fine. In fact, a couple of days after the repair was finished, Letner pointed out a couple of Chromis fish vigilantly guarding a group of tiny eggs; a sign that life goes on!


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