Tenji builds Monterey Bay Aquarium colossal quarantine system

by | Jan 25, 2016 | Advanced Aquarist | 0 comments

A complete “pyramid” system in operation.  All photos is this article are courtesy of Tenji Aquarium Design + Build.

Tenji (www.tenji.com) recently completed an impressive installation at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Animal Research and Care Center (ARCC).  In an effort to expand MBA’s functional quarantine space, Tenji was hired to design and build a robust and functional array of systems.  Tenji staff collaborated with key individuals from MBA’s husbandry, water quality, and facilities operations departments to incorporate their vision for the quarantine space into the design of the systems.

Some of the highlights of the new MBA ARCC quarantine space are:

  • 10 independent Life Support Systems
  • 44 individual tanks
  • Temperature ranges for each system from 55°F to 80°F (13°C to 27°C)
  • All support structures constructed from 316 Stainless Steel and Fibre-reinforced plastic
  • UV Sterilization at 280mj/cm2 for each system
  • Titanium-plate-style water-to-water heat exchangers with hot and cold supplied for either heating or chilling of the systems
Two bio-farms with operating fluidized sand filters
Two bio-farms with operating fluidized sand filters

Also included in the package of systems were two “bio-farms” that operate 20 biologically mature fluidized sand filters, each of which can be installed on any of the 10 quarantine systems to immediately handle nitrogenous waste without having to wait for filters to mature.   The concept is no different than placing sponge filters in your sump which you can place into any new quarantine tank for instant biological filtration … only on a MUCH larger scale.

Tenji designed all of the  systems with 3D modeling programs (SketchUp and AutoCAD), which allowed all of the key players to offer their input about the floor plan and equipment layout during each step of the production process, thus making the space as efficient and user-friendly as possible.  Each of the various systems was prefabricated and water tested in Tenji’s production shop prior to delivery to the ARCC facility.

This is quarantine for the “big boys,” beautifully conceived, engineered, and manufactured by professionals for professionals.


One of two 500-gallon rectangular systems


One of three “pyramid” systems that operate on a dedicated LSS


Life support systems for 2’ x 3’ fiberglass tank.  Each pump and UV receives it own on/off switch.


A 28’ stainless steel table that supports eight 90 gallon holding tanks


90 gallon holding tanks with fish in quarantine

Production Photos


3D model of a pyramid system


Skid systems in production at the Tenji shop


Tenji staff moving a completed skid system into place


Complete skid systems on the truck ready for delivery


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