Aquarium divers feed fish with hand
ESKİŞEHİR – Demirören News Agency
Two divers working in the underwater world aquarium where 1,200 sea creatures of 120 species live in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, feed th sharks, stingrays and herd fish with their hands.
The aquarium has more than 700,000 visitors annually in the “city of steppe,” which does not have a coast. Stating that underwater is a different world, divers said, “While working, we also rest. The presence of various fish around us makes us feel comfortable.”
The ETİ Underwater World, which was opened by the Eskişehir Municipality in 2014, is home to some 1,200 sea creatures of 120 species from the northern Aegean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, Red Sea, South American lakes and Amazon forest. The aquarium has a depth of 3.5 meters and a volume of 1 million liters of water, as well as a 19-meter water tunnel. Sharks, stingrays, corals, sea breams and striped sea breams in the aquarium are fed by professional divers Mehmet Ali Uçar and Özgür Altınışık.
Deniz Avcı, a seafood engineer working in the ETİ Underwater World, said that about 200,000 sea creatures, including the endangered grouper, are living in the aquarium.
“Among the species in the aquarium include sharks, some species living in the Red Sea, octopuses, endangered groupers, freshwater sharks, and plants. Last year, approximately 700,000 people visited the aquarium. The number of visitors is increasing especially during the holidays and summer months. Those who come to Eskişehir definitely visit the historical Odunpazarı houses and Sazova park, but they don’t leave without seeing this place. It is interesting for people to have a zoo and an aquarium in a city like Eskişehir.”
One of the divers, Altınışık said that they relieved when feeding the fish with their hands underwater. He said that he previously dove into the Marmara and the Aegean Sea, but working for an aquarium was more fun.
“I work as a diver in the underwater world aquarium. Here we do the feeding and aquarium maintenance. Before that, we were also diving in Marmara and the Aegean, but we were not as close to the creatures as in the aquarium. There are now many kinds of fish here from piranhas to sharks and groupers. We establish close relationships with all of them. We are also resting while working. The presence of various fish around us makes us feel comfortable,” he said.
The Turkish Underwater Sports Federation (TSSF) three-star diver Uçar said that apart from feeding the fish with by hand, they also monitor their health like a baby, adding, “We feed the fish in the aquarium four days a week. Our engineers prepare the food according to the biomass of aquarium fish. Feeding fish in the aquarium is exciting, we take care of them like they are babies. When there are creatures that do not eat, we also inform engineers and monitor their health. People watch as we feed, they show great interest.”