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Magnate Carlos Slim inaugurates Mexico City aquarium, biggest in the Latin America

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MEXICO CITY - Mexican magnate Carlos Slim on Friday inaugurated a four-level, underground aquarium that is the biggest in Latin America, housing 3,000 animals belonging to 230 species.

The first visitors took an elevator underground to start the tour of the 400,000-gallon glass tank where blue, yellow, orange and green fish swam among sharks and manta rays.

In another floor there are several types of jellyfish and a separate massive fish tank houses piranhas, crocodiles and tiny turtles. There is also a small lagoon where visitors can touch a manta ray.

Inbursa Aquarium director Alejandro Nasta says the water was brought from the Gulf of Mexico.

"We decided to have the most striking (species), which is what everyone wants to see," Nasta said.

Nasta said penguins are among the main attractions that have not yet been brought to the aquarium.

He added that he hopes the aquarium will eventually become home to as many as 10,000 marine animals belonging to 307 species.

The aquarium was built in a upscale Mexico City neighbourhood that is home to gleaming office towers largely built by Slim and across the street from the Soumaya Museum that he constructed to house six floors of works by Impressionists, Old Masters, Mexican muralists, anonymous Mesoamerican craftsmen and others.

The aquarium has an entry fee of about $10.

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