Monterey Bay Aquarium

Quarantine System for the Animal Research and Care Center



“Not everyone knew that the founders of Tenji met when they worked as curators, biologists, and exhibit designers at Monterey Bay Aquarium, but everyone on this project could tell how much it meant to them. Responsible, impeccable animal husbandry is at the heart of everything Tenji does, and the system they designed for us does everything imaginable to create a healthy, hospitable habitat for the plants and animals in our care.”


Built on the site of a defunct sardine cannery back in the 1980s, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has become internationally renowned for its regional focus on the marine habitats of Monterey Bay. The first aquarium to successfully care for and display a great white shark, the first aquarium to significantly advance the animal husbandry of jellyfish, and the first aquarium to create an underwater kelp forest is also the first place the founders of Tenji met.

The Tenji team takes on any opportunity to contribute to this wonderful institution. And if that opportunity involves elevating animal husbandry, we are in our true element. Core members of the Tenji team began their careers caring for plant and animal life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and we have built our considerable reputation on our passion for best practices and our ability to exceed AZA standards.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium turned to Tenji to create a new quarantine system for their Animal Research and Care Center (ARCC) because they knew Tenji would take it to the next level.


  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium asked Tenji to find the most flexible solutions possible for their new quarantine system. The vast biodiversity of their exhibits—fresh and saltwater, warm and coldwater—meant the system would need to be frequently changed as new species came in. Staff were seeking robust systems to meet all the needs of different species in a small footprint.
  • Space for life support system elements and other critical aspects of the project were at a premium, so Tenji engineers were tasked with minimizing space and staffing requirements.
  • And like all high-profile projects for nonprofit institutions of this caliber, the exhibit needed to be completed to the highest quality both on time and on budget.


Our experienced in-house design and engineering teams designed the Tenji proprietary Rapid Design Process (RDP) to solve problems, share our vision, save time and resources, and ensure successful outcomes—fast. No one can take a project from dream to reality as quickly without sacrificing quality as seamlessly as Tenji, and for this project in particular, the time and cost savings were significant.

Our aquatic engineers developed cutting edge and completely custom ideas into practical solutions.   Tenji’s in-house draftsman turned these concepts into detailed drawings, schematics, and fully realized 3D models within just three months. Once they were approved, each element was pre-constructed offsite by our team of fabricators and builders before being brought to The Monterey Bay Aquarium to be completed and installed. We developed easy to understand usage and maintenance documentation to support Aquarium staff.

Tenji designed and built:

  • unique innovations, like a modular biofarm solution using interchangeable fluidized sand filters. When a new shipment of animals comes in, staff can quickly create a hospitable environment by utilizing a mature active biofilter.
  • The LSS features tanks, biofilters, mechanical filters, UV sterilizers, and other components carefully constructed using corrosion-resistant plastics and stainless steel. The equipment can be configured into an almost limitless variety of functional spaces that always feel clean, well designed, and a welcoming for humans and animals alike.
  • energy savings into every aspect of the system’s construction, reflecting The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s core commitment to environmental sustainability.

For the Tenji team, the Monterey Bay Aquarium will always feel like home. We are proud to have created a fully custom quarantine facility to help the animals and plants displayed within the aquarium be healthy and disease free.