Fish May Not Like Being in the Miami Marlins Stadium's Aquarium Backstop

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via YouTube (Manny Navarro)
​The new Miami Marlins stadium has a backstop that could only have originated in South Florida -- rather than have a normal-people brick wall or those nice green pads, the stadium will have 40 feet of aquariums separating the area behind home plate from the first row of fans.

Though Marlins President David Samson says the aquarium setup "screams Miami," the setup was manufactured by Fort Lauderdale-based Living Color Aquariums, in a process that company president Mat Roy said started two years ago. I called to ask how one would go about putting an aquarium in a baseball stadium without the folks in the expensive seats getting their laps filled with dead fish.

"With a lot of consideration," Roy said. "It's been a long process for sure."

But it looks like the aquarium getting busted won't be an issue -- it's got a front panel that Roy and Marlins Executive VP for Ballpark Development Claude Delorme said was tested by, uh, having Marlins first-baseman Gaby Sanchez wing baseballs at the thing. He was allegedly clocked at 84 mph.

But the prevention of gruesome trip to the sandy stuff for the 100 fish that will populate the tank isn't the only consideration that was taken. After investigating if the company could actually pull it off, Roy said, they set out to design the two 20-foot aquariums to be insulated from stadium vibration (the sides of the tank are suspended on neoprene), protected from heat (there's a 24-hour chiller system), and prevented from reflecting sunlight into players' eyes (the front panel is angled upward, presumably directly at the denizens of the upper deck).

Surprisingly, activists are not particularly pleased with the idea. Animal Rights Foundation of Florida spokesman Don Anthony said stadiums are not really the place to be playing with tropical fish.

"I can tell you even if the glass doesn't shatter, it's going to cause a tremendous vibration and disturb and upset the fish," Anthony said. "No matter how many shock absorbers they build into the system, if there are thousands of fans screaming and jumping during a sporting event it's going to affect the fish in there."

He did say "I don't know if its on the high end of animal abuse, I don't know if its going to upset them to the point that it kills them," but pointed out that if fish in somebody's living-room aquarium get startled by one person tapping on the glass, it was a pretty safe bet the fish forever trapped in a colosseum of stomping, screaming, booing fans would be perturbed.

"Why put animals in a place like that, in a place where animals don't belong?" he said. "Fish are not a decoration."

Both Roy and Delorme said the fish were the first concern.

"This is a very high profile job. If I didn't think the job was achievable, I wouldn't have gotten involved," Roy said. "Something goes wrong on this job, the world gets to know about it."

Delorme pointed out that it's also "extremely unlikely that a tipped ball would even hit the glass," saying the main danger would be over-throws and weaker foul balls, but "if it hit on the third bounce, at that point it wouldn't be an issue."

He also said the team set up a pitching machine to launch baseballs at the tank with fish inside.

"You would see a small reaction -- they would move because they would sense something in that area," he said, adding that while the fish did swim away from the impact spot (pretty much their only way for fish to say they don't like something), they also floated back to their spots afterward.

"We've had three games on it, and there's been great reaction," Delorme said. "I really don't believe that's an issue."

(The games he's referring to are probably a high school game March 5 and two exhibition games in which the Marlins beat the University of Miami 7-6 and FIU 5-1.)

"We've taken every precaution," Roy said. "All that we can do is show that over the test of time, these animals are doing just fine."

If you can't wait for the April 1 exhibition game against the Yankees to see what these things look like, here's a video Herald sports reporter Manny Navarro took of the setup:



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26 comments
Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

 Wow, this makes absolutely no sense at all.  I will assume English is not your primary language.

Rockofloveusa
Rockofloveusa

why hate the fish tank it safe,   you sound like the people who throw ball at gold fish at the fair an have no problem their.   are the one that give a over active kid a fish tank full of fish knowing they are going to die,  what next you ? bean beach going people  screaming and jumping during a  trip there  also event it's going to affect the fish in there."  that why shark bite people.   what about people diving in the sea.  to you stop people from going to the beach , diving in the water , an stop selling fish to kids you know who going to kill them. stop complening.  cause that the safest place for them.

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Fordtk692003
Fordtk692003

Those fish tanks were built using bullet  proof lexan,like the people sit behind at the currency exchange,it ain't gonna break from a simple baseball.Oh,and they were built in JAPAN too,not in the florida ,japan were the workers do good job.  :)

Fordtk692003
Fordtk692003

why aren't you goofs complaining about the tax dollars being spent on this $615 MILLION dollar stadium.the state,hell the world is broke,children are not eating,but a bunch of idiots are building another stadium using tax dollars,$615,000,000 of them......................................

Jake
Jake

Why does it surprise you that activists aren't happy about this? I'm not an activist and I think it sounds like a pretty terrible idea.

Just Ron
Just Ron

We have suckers here in Wisconsin.Apparently, they have them down there is west israel also~~the ones who pay for this bullshyt.

The only thing good about it is going skinnydipping when the suckers are running.

Daisy Castellanos
Daisy Castellanos

And the fish said......"We all live in a televised goldfish bowl."  And the Marlins said...Thank you taxpayers.

hateonit
hateonit

Wow glad to see all you people are so worried about the fish i just had me some for dinner and i think it is a pretty cool idea everyone else is just mad they didnt think about the idea first and that their mascott isnt a fish

biologist24
biologist24

Do y'all have any brains??   Marlins are pelagic predatory  species of fish and would  need millions of gallons of water to be kept in...even the the marlin would predate on all the other fish in the system.. this isn't any different that having public aquariums...actually probably better due to lack of gettin eatin

Joe Schmidt
Joe Schmidt

fish may not be decoration, but they are definitely whats for dinner. ;0)

Swanderman
Swanderman

What a cheap cop-out. I'd heard that they were going to build it big enough to actually house a Marlin.Angels..? Reds..? Dodgers..? Help me out here. Are those the fish they're going to stock ?

Teresa Wagner
Teresa Wagner

That's exactly right--fish are not decorations. If they want fish, why not sculptures of fish?  Why terrorize live animals?

penguin man
penguin man

Fish would probably enjoy being in a large fish tank where the threat of being ate is less. Food is not hard to find since giving that every day. Do the people in charge of "PETA - People Eating Tasty Animals" not get that?

SMc
SMc

Just read a report that says there is a chance that the fish may be indifferent to being in the tank.  Think I saw one early that described their potential reaction as "mildly bemused, combined with intermittent periods of gratefulness, along with two predicted thoughts of arrogance over having such a good view of the game".....How do these people figure this out?

jshaffer21
jshaffer21

"No matter how many shock absorbers they build into the system, if there are thousands of fans screaming and jumping during a sporting event it's going to affect the fish in there."

clearly this man has never watched a marlins game.....

FishHead
FishHead

what?  where are the MARLINS?  I bet there not going to have smoked marlin sandwich either!

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

This just screams bad idea.  Ive worked in a lot of arenas and the first things to break is always anything made of plexiglass.  Expect a flood on home base.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

Well at least they didn't trade Brandon Marshall for pennies on the dollar.

TM
TM

More money than brains.

Dancingman424
Dancingman424

If fish aren't decorations, why are there always fish tanks in dental buildings, office building, high class restraunts, and peoples' living rooms. explain that please.Any that looks 'pretty' is bought to be a decoration.

Teresa Wagner
Teresa Wagner

Would you like to be on display, in an artificial box, rather than live your normal life in your normal place on earth?  There are things even worse than dying. One of them is living in captivity.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

 That is a good point.  The only things that will watch the game is the fish.

Rich Abdill
Rich Abdill

There are actually a few layers of material between the game and the fish -- the guy who built it said the front "impact panel" has been tested to be good up to 200 mph, but there's an air gap between that panel and the actual tanks.

biologist24
biologist24

maybe for whales..not fish who have no brains..as long as theyre fed,..theyre happy..truuuuust me

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