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Title: Aquaria KLCC (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Summary: A recount of a 2008 visit to the aquarium in Kuala Lumpur Malasysia.
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Date first published:  April 2009
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Aquaria KLCC
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

By Aquarticles Editor

Original to Aquarticles



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Located below the famed Petronas Twin Towers, the Kuala Lumpur Aquarium is worth a visit



I had mixed expectations on visiting the Kuala Lumpur Aquarium or "Aquaria KLCC" as it is locally called. Our guide book says of the aquarium:

"One of the costliest tourist draws in KL (at about $12 US per adult), the Aquarium is only just worth the cost of admission. Labeling is occasionally lost in the muted lighting, but some sections are wonderful - for example the well lit Living Reef tank, packed with multicoloured and multiform anemones and corals, which might just help you make sense of the riches on view to snorkellers on the east coast of Malaysia or elsewhere. Also worthwhile is the Flooded Forest tank, with its pair of hefty Amazonian arapaima freshwater fish, all of two meters in length. The piece de resistance is the obligatory transparent tunnel, whose moving belt walkway transports you through the base of the vast Living Ocean tank, replete with menacing sand tiger sharks, all with parasitic ramora fish clinging to their front and back edges. It is possible to arrange to dive with the sharks, for around RM 400 (US $ 120); the fee includes a DVD of your dive plus equipment rental. Otherwise the aquarium has worthwhile diversions on coastal and other wetland habitats, populated by the likes of gigantic grasshoppers, and by oriental whip snakes, such a bright green they are almost fluorescent." The Rough Guide to Malaysia Singapore and Brunei, 2006, p.121

While I agree that the aquarium is expensive compared to other sites in Malaysia, on a world scale it is not overpriced at all. I particularly liked the center piece display - a cylindrical tank measuring over 30 feet in height, located mid way through the aquarium. I really enjoyed looking at all the large barbs, knifefish, and catfish as they traveled vertically along the column.


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Worth the price of admission alone is seeing this amazing cylindrical tank holding a mix of SEAsian freshwater fish

If traveling with children around Peninsular Malaysia and doing some snorkeling or diving with them, I would recommend a visit to the Aquaria KLCC. Though it is not as much fun or as much value as the Petronas Science Center, it is conveniently located by the Petronas Twin Towers (a must see for most kids). A few things that bothered me about the aquarium were its two tiered pricing for locals versus foreigners. Foreigners pay much more than locals. Also, in the gift shop there was not an aquarium book to be found. We had hoped to pick up a marine fish identification book; where better than the gift shop of a major aquarium to find one? Alas, no luck! In chatting with the gift shop manager I learned that they had in fact once had a good selection of fish books. Now they have lots and lots of t-shirts (good deal at $10) and a few too many stuffed animals. In my later travels around Malaysia I learned that the Aquaria KLCC was initially built and overseen by a New Zealand company. The aquarium was later sold to a local company. I wonder if this change of ownership coincided with the loss of aquarium books in the gift shop…?


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Entering the aquarium


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Admission fees and list of rules


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Friendly staff greeted us on a quiet day


Part one - Touch tanks and "odd-ball fish"

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A staff person stands next to some exotic "touch pools"


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A hands-on experience with bamboo sharks in a holding pool. Elsewhere in Malaysia I have seen these
sharks in the holding tanks of restaurants for people to choose to eat (cost is about $20 US per shark).
Thus, perhaps these guys have landed in a better pool?


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My children get close and personal with baby sharks!


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Some stunning 3 foot snakehead fish in perfect condition. These giant snake head are found in Malaysia's
fresh water lakes and streams. Measuring up to 4 feet in length, they have been known to attack humans
when defending their nesting sites. I have also seen this variety of snakehead, known as Tomon in
Malaysia, for sale at street side restaurants. It is reputed to have great healing powers as a food.


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Few people who buy giant snakehead as fish are prepared to care for them long term. These fish require a
very large tank when adult and are also extremely aggressive. They are outlawed in many areas of
North America due to their being an invasive species when released by irresponsible aquarists.


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An interesting glass mural which explains the scientific fish classification system


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The KLLC has some nice bio-tope displays, such as these for Polypterus and Protopterus


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Moving on into mixed format section - terrariums, vivariums and aquariums


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Species information sheets provide more than the usual amount of information


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The piranhha display was more effective than most I have seen


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Gars on the left, a crocodile on the right


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Marine turtle conservation information at left, a fresh water turtle species at right


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Computer terminals compete with standard information boards


Part two - Malaysian flora and fauna display focussed on Johor province

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Johor is a southern province of peninsular Malaya, abutting Singapore. The
displays that follow all highlite creatures found in that part of the country.


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Moving on to another section of the aquarium - reptiles and insects


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Frogs, snakes, turtles, spiders, millipedes, geckos - just a few
of the creatures presented in this part of the aquarium.


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The subdued lighting of hallways and large display cases all make for an effective presentation


Part three - the Malaysian rainforest cylindrical tank and turtle display

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Entering the Malaysian rainforest section of the aquarium


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This cylindrical "Malaysian rainforest tank" can be viewed from several stories in the aquarium.
For me, the price of admission was worth it to see this tank alone.


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Above photos: information about the creatures in the Malaysian rainforest tank


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Some more photos of the Malaysian rainforest tnak and the turtles at its base


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Some sober information about the trade in wild-caught turtles


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With all the fascinating native fish Malaysia has, I found the South American tank out of place somehow.


Part four - Marine turtles and fish

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Reef sharks, lion fish and green turtles swim in open-top ponds


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A warning not to touch creatures (including larger sharks!) in the ponds


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Photos above: sharks, rays, turtles and a lonely moorish idol


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Photos above - a transition zone in the aquarium used for information display


Part five - large tank, moving sidewalk/open reef display

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Lots of jumbo rays and sharks on display here as you walk along a moving sidewalk through a tunnel of plexiglass


Part six - final odd dislays and exit to gift shop

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Flower strewn manequins are unique

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Some smaller specialized tanks, a technician feeding some fish, and heading towards the exit...


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Some nice t-shirts on offer, but alas, no books...


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The exit of the aquarium


If you have time on your hands while in Kuala Lumpur I would recommend a visit to this aquarium. If you are travelling with children, I would much rather recommend you visit either the science center (located inside the Petronas Twin Towers) or else get out of town to Sun City amusement park. If you are a die-hard aquarist, be sure to visit the outdoor aquaria market in Kuala Lumpur called Pasut Purdu (See upcoming article on this district for more details).