Field Notes

October 30, 2018

Generous Support Strengthens Lilly Center Aquarium Programming

At the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams, a mere one inch of glass stands between you and 2,300 gallons of lake water, 140 native fish, over 40 buckets of river rock and one white-ash tree stump. Stand close enough to the large hexagon aquarium, or any of the other five display tanks in the atrium of the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex, and you might feel like you are beneath the surface of a local lake.

The atrium of the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex features a 875-gallon hexagon aquarium, the only one of its kind in the county, as well as five other display aquariums.

“When my wife and I thought about supporting the Lilly Center, we knew we wanted to donate to something that would make a lasting impact and represent our heart for this community,” said Tobias Buck, retired chairman, president and chief executive officer of Paragon Medical. “The hexagon aquarium was the ideal way to embody our love for local land and water resources and share in the Lilly Center’s conservation efforts,” Buck added.

The hexagon display tank is immediately inside the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex’s atrium. At an eye-catching eight-feet-and-four-inches tall and holding 875 gallons of water, the aquarium is hard to miss. In fact, this hexagon aquarium is the largest known display tank in all of Kosciusko County. It is currently home to six different types of fish, including sunfish, catfish and rock bass.

There are over 140 native fish spread between more than 30 aquariums at the Lilly Center. There are also 30 aquariums installed in K-12 classrooms and six more installed in community centers throughout the county. The Lilly Center has a team of six students who maintain and improve the tanks on a regular basis.

The Lilly Center’s aquarium lab has space for 85, 40-gallon aquariums. It is home to over 140 native fish, four turtles and two frogs.

With so many lives to look after, the team needed space for more aquariums and equipment. Terry and Sandra Tucker helped provide a solution. “When we learned about the Lilly Center’s new space in the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex, the aquarium lab quickly became our top priority,” said Terry Tucker. “We’re passionate about teaching the next generation about our county’s lakes. With this room, the center’s K-12 programs will be equipped to reach many more students with high-quality lake education,” he added.

The aquarium lab has space for 85, 40-gallon tanks. It is designed for that purpose, and even includes a large utility sink and plenty of counter space. Fish health was a top design focus for this lab with a specially designed climate control system, noise and vibration reduction features along with lighting system to mimic day and night cycles and less intense lighting similar to light conditions in one of our local lakes.

The potential is exciting, but for now, the Lilly Center aquarium team is focused on caring for the 72 tanks installed in the center and throughout the county. To support local K-12 lake education or schedule a tour of the science complex, email