The New England Aquarium’s splashy new look The facility is pulling off a major renovation — an improved giant tank to hold more animals than ever — and doing it in public view. ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page The New England Aquarium is pulling off a major renovation — an improved giant tank to hold more animals than ever — and doing it in public view. Photograph by Webb Chappell Hundreds of tropical sea animals swim around below their former home, the New England Aquarium’s Giant Ocean Tank, which is being remade. Photograph by Webb Chappell The tank is being rebuilt as part of the aquarium’s $17 million nine-month renovation. Photograph by Webb Chappell Michael Weatherwax, Turner Construction project manager for the makeover, in “the attic” above the top of the tank. Photograph by Webb Chappell Workers are still removing the old tank’s 60 panels, each of which weighs anywhere from 600 to 1,500 pounds and is made of four layers of glass. Photograph by Webb Chappell Before the tank is rebuilt, some of the concrete around the current windows will be cut away, improving the kids’-eye view. Photograph by Webb Chappell Workers cart off a section of the old glass tank; on a good day, five are removed. The panels will be replaced with 52 clearer-than-glass acrylic panes. Photograph by Webb Chappell It took about 24 hours over two days to drain the tank so its 800 animals could be moved safely and comfortably. (The rebuilt tank will house about 1,500.) Now scaffolding lines the walls and surrounds the base of the coral reef sculpture that was built for the tank in 1984. The old “corals” are being replaced along with the glass. Photograph by Webb Chappell The aquarium’s 2½-year-old Animal Care Center in Quincy has holding tanks for the new specimens destined for the tank, including this blacknose shark. Photograph by Webb Chappell Elsewhere in Quincy are tanks for turtles the aquarium has rescued and quarantine tanks for sick fish and animals. Photograph by Webb Chappell These all used to be tucked into nooks and crannies at the aquarium in Boston. Some of those spaces have been given over to new exhibits. Photograph by Webb Chappell Where are the penguins during construction? Photograph by Webb Chappell The Little Blues are still on display in Boston. But the larger flocks of Rockhoppers and Africans (in foreground) are spending the next months in a pool at the Quincy facility. Webb Chappell is a freelance photographer in Newton. Michael Fitzgerald is a freelance writer in Cambridge. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.