Nirah will dwarf Eden Project

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A team of UK-based freshwater biologists are planning an aquarium which will be four times the size of the Eden Project, according to a report in The Times Higher Education supplement.

If everything goes to plan, Nirah, the National Institute for Research into Aquatic Habitats, will provide Britain's freshwater biologists with a unique research facility, as well as providing what could be one of the UK's biggest visitor attractions.

Not only will Nirah contain the world's largest aquarium, it will also focus on freshwater organisms, rather than the marine fishes and invertebrates kept in most of the UK's other aquarium attractions.

A site for the project has yet to be finalised, but Nirah is planned to hold three 6.9 million litre tanks, as well as numerous smaller ones, all housed inside two 15,000m2 transparent geodesic domes - similar to those used at the Eden Project.

One of the domes will contain a slice of the Amazon, while another will hold a Mekong ecosystem, complete with a massive river containing Pangasius gigas, the world's largest catfish.

The Project is being supported by a number of universities, and is being led by Dr Steve La Thangue, a Bristol zoological consultant well-known in the aquatic trade.