An Electric Eel Lights Up The Living Planet Aquarium’s Christmas Tree

Well now, this is cool! The Living Planet Aquarium located just outside of Salt Lake City has done something quite unique for the holidays. They have shocked their visitors with their latest Christmas display which uses an electric eel to flash the lights on the tree!

Parents, if you have any plans of going to Salt Lake City, now is the time!

The holiday display located in the “Journey To South America” gallery is blinking by using the energy generated by an electric eel in a nearby tank. Every time the eel moves, the 4 strands of lights on the 5ft tall tree flash.

“We took the voltage produced by the eel via stainless steel electrodes and used it to power a sequencer,” said Terry Smith, Project Manager at Cache Valley Electric. “The sequencer takes the voltage the eel produces and operates circuitry that flashes the lights, fast or slow, based on the level of voltage he puts out,” said Smith.

Electric eels contain electric organs with about 6,000 specialized cells called electrocytes that store power like tiny batteries. When threatened or attacking prey, these cells will discharge simultaneously, emitting a burst of at least 600 volts, five times the power of a standard U.S. wall socket.

The electric eel Christmas display will be available to visitors through December 31, 2011, however the eel itself will remain in the South American exhibit long after.