Have you ever wondered how large fish specimens are stored here in the Australian Museum collections?

The famous Goblin Shark and other fishy friends recently had a major accommodation upgrade.

For many years hundreds of large fish specimens were stored in PVC tanks. These old tanks served their purpose well, but in recent years had begun to leak resulting in spills of alcohol and specimens occasionally being left high and dry – obviously not ideal for specimen preservation.

Team members Matt and Chris with the finished product from our Ichthyology Collection's tank move
After a tough few weeks of moving our entire Ichthyology large specimen collection, our construction team during the move show off the results of their hard work. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

To solve this problem, we recently undertook the huge job of replacing 50 ageing tanks with new purpose-built stainless steel tanks. Each old tank was emptied of alcohol and then the fishes carefully lifted out. The old tank was moved from the compactor storage unit and a shiny new tank put in its place. The fishes and alcohol where then put back. Many tanks required topping up with new alcohol to replace the alcohol that had evaporated from the old tanks.

Students, Matthew Harris and Christopher Larson worked tirelessly over a period of weeks to complete this this not-so-glamourous job. Thank you guys!

I now really enjoy working in this part of the collection, where the long-term preservation of these valuable specimens is assured.

Mark McGrouther, Collection Manager, Ichthyology

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