An Ocean Room Tradition Reborn
Featured above: Jeff Turner, President of Reef Aquaria Design, and Member Diane Hill review various corals, fish and live rock that are reserved for the new aquariums at Ocean Reef.
Construction on the newly-renovated Ocean Room is nearing its final stages and is scheduled to be completed next month. With the foundation and structure finalized, the interior is starting to take shape. Harper’s Bar at Reef Lounge is constructed, complete with a beautiful view overlooking Buccaneer Island, painting is underway, furniture has arrived, light fixtures are secured, and the artwork has been selected!
The aquariums, another aspect of the indoor décor and one that is a long-standing Ocean Room tradition, have also recently been installed. Members will remember the aquarium that for many years, marked the entrance to the former Ocean Room and was visible from the dining room as well as the Reef Lounge. The newly-renovated Ocean Room will now feature not one, but two of these aquariums. At approximately 400 gallons each, the aquariums will represent two differing marine habitats – the Atlantic reef and the Pacific reef.
As are most things at Ocean Reef, the idea for these two tanks spawned out of a tale of Reef history. Director of Club Security & Safety Sonny Vasquez, who has been with the Club for 50 years, recalled there once being two aquariums in The Ocean Room many years ago, with one being a Pacific reef theme and the other an Atlantic. Vaughn Roberts, Sr. Vice President Finance, Administration & Projects, mimicked this concept in the new plans saying, “By presenting two feature aquariums again in the new Ocean Room, in a way, we are drawing on the rich history of this Ocean Reef icon.”
To fill these tanks with the proper sea life, the Club relied on Reef Aquaria Design (RAD), which specially built the tanks, and recommendations from RAD President Jeff Turner, local Aquarium Consultant Luke Popp, and the expertise of Diane Hill, who designed her own 1200-gallon aquarium in her Ocean Reef home.
“We researched which species would work well together and then traveled to RAD to finalize the fish list,” said Hill. “The Pacific tank will be home to the fish everyone expects to see – the Nemo’s and the Dory’s. Then on the Atlantic side, we get to see up close the species that are local to our home at Ocean Reef. These featured tanks will provide more than just beauty and entertainment, but also an interactive and educational experience.”
The tanks will also be home to corals that are native to the different oceans, with the Atlantic reef aquarium displaying local, endangered species of coral. Roberts said, “The Club has partnered with the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) to feature corals from CRF’s Carysfort Reef nursery for educational display. The Atlantic aquarium will feature the endangered staghorn, elkhorn, boulder star and mountainous star corals.”
Over the coming months, the fish will be introduced gradually as a precautionary method to ensure the water chemistry in the tanks is correct and providing the best environment for the marine life to thrive. The sensitive Atlantic corals will be introduced next season.
As The Ocean Room project nears completion, look for updates in upcoming editions of the Ocean Reef Press.