gas bubble Stingray Tampa

‘Gas Bubble Disease’ To Blame For The 12 Stingray Deaths At ZooTampa

TAMPA, Fla. – ZooTampa has been committed to conducting a thorough and transparent investigation to the May 27th incident at Stingray Bay where 12 Stingrays died.

ZooTampa enlisted the assistance of independent experts who have extensive aquatic experience in the zoo and aquarium field.

“Following their analysis and assessment of lab and pathology tests, it’s been concluded that a supersaturation event took place, likely in the overnight hours, causing gas embolisms (gas bubble disease) in the rays.,” said ZooTampa in a statement.

Gas bubble disease is a fatal condition that is similar to the “bends” in human scuba divers which is caused by bubbles in the bloodstream.

The event was not immediately known because the oxygen levels had resolved by the time the water was tested in the morning, following a standard water change. 

The exact cause of the supersaturation is unknown, however, possible causes include a system malfunction or a crack in portions of the pipe line which was not readily accessible.

The Life Support System was checked daily and maintained by trained aquarists and maintenance staff on a schedule that followed the manufacturer’s recommendations and industry standards.

ZooTampa has decided that it will not reopen Stingray Bay, instead, it will build an updated habitat, with a new water management system that will include redundancies, safeguards, and updated procedures.

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