UK's Biota super aquarium just three years away

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The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Whipsnade zoo are currently working on what promises to be one of the world s largest and most unique aquariums.

~Biota! an 80 million pound project is being built in the London docklands at Silvertown Quays and will open in 2011.

The building will be split into four separate ~biomes simulating the habitats found in the Amazon, Indo-pacific, the Atlantic and the British Isles. A fifth area will focus on the conservation of aquatic life and its habitat.

The aquarium will cover an area of 14,000 square metres - that s the equivalent of five football pitches. It will be 31 meters tall and 70 tanks will hold 3 million litres of water. Held in these tanks will be over 550 different species of fish and other aquatic life forms.

The existing aquarium at London Zoo holds an important place in history as it was the first aquarium to be established opening to the public in 1853., and also the first place to ever use the term ~aquarium ; prior to this they had been known as ~aquatic vivariums .

The world s largest aquarium is in Atlanta, Georgia. The tanks there hold over 30 million litres and there are 120,000 fish including whale sharks, beluga whales and the only captive hammerhead shark in the USA. The aquarium cost in excess of 200 million dollars.

The London aquarium, which is still looking for 15 million pounds worth of funding, states on its website:

Through active research, conservation and education, we believe that Biota! will make a difference to our understanding of the aquatic world, and to our ability to make the right decisions about the precious wildlife and natural resources with which we share our planet.