Construction has begun on UCLA's Ocean Discovery Center, a new aquarium that will be underneath the carousel at the Santa Monica Pier.

The aquarium should be ready for visitors by May, although many of the programs will not be in place until summer or when school starts next fall, said aquarium director Chuck Kopczak.

In the next few weeks, workers will set up three massive tanks to house the fish, the largest tank weighing three tons and holding 3,000 gallons of water. The aquarium also will include smaller "touch" tanks that will give children a chance to pick up marine life for a closer look.

The largest tank will show a tableau of life as it exists under the Santa Monica Pier--including pier pilings that are wrapped with mussels. Other creatures that will be on display include snails, halibut, sardines, jellyfish and squid, Kopczak said.

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