WEST BRIGHTON — An $8.4 million overhaul to the Staten Island Zoo's nearly 80-year-old aquarium is bringing floor-to-ceiling tanks to the attraction.
The project, which broke ground Friday, will replace 15 smaller tanks inside the 3,600-square-foot aquarium with four 75-square-foot ones that can hold 3,300 gallons of water each, according to the Department of Design and Construction.
Featured habitats will be the Tropical Coral Reef, Pacific Kelp Forest, Southeast Asian Freshwater Habitat and sea life from the Atlantic and Caribbean seas, the city said.
"We live every day in New York City surrounded by water, particularly in Staten Island," said Feniosky Peña-Mora, commissioner of the DDC.
"This proximity to the ocean makes a top-flight aquarium even more important for people to learn about our local wildlife and how we fit into this complex ecosystem."
The tanks will have high-grade filters and advanced temperature and water quality controls, the DDC said.
The city also plans to make mechanical upgrades to the building itself to reduce energy and maintenance costs for the zoo, and new boilers that will reduce noise.
The aquarium will remain open during construction and the city expects it to finish in the winter of 2018.