A.L.: What are the characteristics of the big project you worked in, in the United Arab Emirates?
M.R.: I have a confidentiality agreement about our projects and clients back in Dubai, so I won’t be able to give such information. Nevertheless, one of the most interesting projects I have ever done in Dubai was an 80,000 Litre corals tank. There I was involved with the concrete waterproofing, acrylic installation, internal decoration and LSS installation and system commissioning. The decoration was made by high porosity ceramics and considering the tank was 3 meters deep we had to use stronger lights to reach the bottom of the tank. Most of the corals and fish were supplied from Indonesia.
A.L.: How did you move from the UEA in Dubai to the Oman Aquarium?
M.R.: While in Dubai, I had the chance to meet so many interesting people and aquarium experts. One of them, who is now a very good friend of mine, one day asked me if I could be interested in being part of a new aquarium in Oman (Not far from Dubai). I didn’t even think about it and I immediately decided to start this adventure. Having the chance to be part of the construction of such an amazing project is not an everyday opportunity. Thus, I have been involved in the construction and commissioning of the aquarium as well as most of the initial collection of fish, invertebrates, sharks and rays.
A.L.: What are the characteristics of the Oman Aquarium and what is its position in the context of this country and the Middle East?
M.R.: The Oman Aquarium is one of the best of its kind in the Middle East, in my opinion for many reasons. First, it displays many different environments and animals from various parts of the world, and second, it also allows the guests to explore unique areas of this incredible country. From the typical Oman Wadis to the Omani deserts, from the shores of the country to its amazing coral reefs. In fact, the aquarium follows the steps of the famous Omani traveller, Ahmed Ibn Majid. Other areas that you can find while visiting the aquarium are the regional mangroves forest, the Asian Mekong rivers biotopes and species. Not forgetting the African shores of the Malawi and Tanganyika lakes, crocodiles from the Nile River and the unique penguins from South Africa. We have as well 6 jellyfish tanks that we fill with the seasonal jellyfish you can encounter in this rich region.
A.L.: What was your work on this aquarium?
M.R.: My job at the Oman Aquarium was Senior Aquarist. As I mentioned before I was involved in the collection and acclimatization of the animals needed for the aquarium, but I mainly took care of the main tank which is around 2 million litres as well as the corals tank which is around 5000L. I was very lucky because I was part of an amazing team which worked well and collaborated together. I also had the chance to work with people who have different expertise and extensive backgrounds like Suresh Aswal, Joe Hogue and Lamjon López. Part of my duties was to control the welfare of the animals and be sure they are healthy and in good shape in order for the aquarium guests to appreciate their beauties. Organizing and performing feeding regimes, cleaning and syphoning the tanks and also controlling water parameters and giving medical attention to the animals that require it.