During the darkest (and most festive) time of year, where else would you find an Electric Eel that lights up your Christmas Tree?
Well Helsinki, of course. Where else is mad enough to think this up?
Brain child of Markus Dernjatin, Chief Curator of the SeaLife Centre, Helsinki and a retired electrician from the Amusement park, Patrick Walsh. They picked apart old electrical equipment, salvaging and old audio speaker amplifier, lights and a car speaker!
With 4 steel bars secured into the tank of the Electric Eel, their function is to transform the Eel’s electrical pulse to sound through the speakers. The pulse also controls lights above the tank, to show visitors the electric current passing through the water.
During This Christmas season, the process also lights up the lights on the Christmas Tree! The tree lights blink along with the electric Eel’s pulse!
You can watch a short video of it HERE.
An Electric Eel has enough electrical pulse to kill a human, or “fell a horse”, according to Markus, who has worked at the SeaLife for 15 years. A Marine Biologist, graduating from Helsinki University in Aquatic Sciences, Markus is happy to talk with anyone he meets about Animals, Travel, Nature and the Environment.
Markus’s speciality at the SeaLife?
He has been developing a fluidized bed denitrification filter. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry neither did I! It is Nitrogen Removal filter, one of the first in the World that really works. We will have to take his word on that one, but that is some achievement. Markus took an existing process and in his words ” added some cool stuff to make it work…”.
Not Just Eels – but SEALS!
The team, when not busy inventing brilliant new Aquatic technology (out of old parts and young ideas!), have time to be a Fast Action Oil Spill Response Team, calling themselves the “Sea Life Seals”. Good to know for those of us living near the Baltic Sea Coast, in the event of an oil spill, that they would be there to act fast to preserve as much aquatic and bird life in the area.
The SeaLife Centre in Helsinki, is one of 47 SeaLife Centres and 6 Sanctuaries run by Merlin Entertainments Ltd from the United Kingdom – the company that is responsible for LegoLand and Madame Tussauds amongst other brands.
This might be the only public Aquarium in the world that generates power by electric Eel!
Electricity by Eel – Any possible ideas for this as a Renewable energy Markus?
“Problem with Eels is that they have low Amp, high voltage (up to 600 volts) and a long charging time. Maybe is nature invents an ell that charges a bit faster”
Insider’s Tip: Visit the Oldest living Clown Fish couple in the world!?
Ask someone in there about the Clown Fish, who frequently chose a partner for life! The two in the SeaLife have been a pair for a huge amount of time, and Markus is of the opinion that it may well be the Oldest Clown Fish Couple that he has ever known, among his worldwide network of Marine Biologists and Aquarists, both Professional and hobbyists!
Emma (the female Clown Fish) was bought from a hobbyist in 1995, by Markus, who subsequently bought Emma a “boyfriend”, Kamu, who was captive raised. They have had one offspring together, which was raised at the SeaLife Centre and is still there.
They are totally cute, think Nemo’s parents! Well maybe not quite, seeing as Nemo’s Mom was eaten by a Barracuda….. Bad example.
Christmas Tree lights will be around till 6th January, so still time to visit after Christmas if you happen to be passing through Helsinki!
Tickets are available for purchase on the door, throughout the year.