BLOOMINGTON -- This week in our "Behind the Scenes" series, we take you under the sea at the Sea Life Aquarium inside the Mall of America.

With thousands of gallons of water and thousands of fish there is a lot of work to be done for Sarah Meyers and the other Aquarists.

"We have about 10,000 animals throughout the aquarium, so many species," says Meyers.

With so many mouths to feed work begins at about 7:00 a.m. to make sure all the animals are properly fed.

"We have large menus on the wall that maps out what food each animal gets that day, so we prepare it and start handing it out," says Meyers.

As food prep is going other staff members begin cleaning the exhibits before the public's arrival.

"So we clean the outside of the tanks and make sure they are presentable for the public, doing checks in the morning on the animals to make sure everyone is healthy," says Meyers.

About once a week divers will go into the tanks to clean the inside, and while that allows for interaction with the animals, Meyer says they still need to be careful.

"We do have to take our precautions (when cleaning the shark tanks) because it's their home first and we are entering that home," says Meyers.

Survival for the animals is very important and to make sure the animals stay healthy water testing is done on a regular basis.

"Water readings don't tend to fluctuate too often but if we have a new exhibit or the water seems to look dirty we will test it more often," says Meyers.

While a majority of the animals stay at the aquarium Meyers says they have a few traveling exhibits (like the new spider crabs) that move to different aquariums for others to enjoy.

She says the staff continues to learn so much from the animals they care for and continue to provide the best care for all species.

"When you have breeding in an exhibit you are doing something right," says Meyers. "They feel comfortable to put their young in this environment and it's a good indicator for us."

The Sea Life Aquarium is open everyday inside the Mall of America.



Fish swim freely at the Sea Life Aquarium inside the Mall of America. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)