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The Gallery

Keep your eyes peeled — masters of camouflage live here! Search for sea dragons, feel the shock of an electric eel, and be mesmerized by living corals.

What Will You Discover?

Stroll through fresh- and salt-water environments to find fish of technicolour hues, live corals grown at the aquarium, and feel the jolt of shock from electric eels!

Staghorn Coral Staghorn Coral

Staghorn Coral

The staghorn coral may be found in a variety of branching forms on the reef, often table-like or small and bushy when found in an area of high water flow; in calmer areas the branches tend to be long and skinny. Coloration is often brown with purple tips in the wild, though aquarium specimens may be much more vibrant.

Diet

Plankton

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Did You Know?

The common name staghorn coral is used for a wide variety or species, typically from the genus Acropora as their growth pattern tends to form tall pointed branches, reminiscent of a deer's antlers.

Starry Cup Coral Starry Cup Coral

Starry Cup Coral

The starry cup coral is a beautiful encrusting stony coral species that is typically found on coral reefs deeper than 15 feet, as they are sensitive to too much sunlight. Color variations of this species can be stunning, even multicolored tie dye patterns is not uncommon.

Diet

Plankton

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Did You Know?

Like most coral species, the starry cup coral has developed several feeding strategies. Through a symbiotic relationship with a marine algae, known as zooxanthellae, they receive some of their nutrients from sunlight. They also capture planktonic organisms, food particles from the water column, and can absorb dissolved organic matter.

Horn Coral Horn Coral

Horn Coral

Horn coral colonies are typically green encrusting plates which may appear shaggy due to polyp extension, even during the day. Depending on colony size and flow conditions, this coral may also form knobby branches with wide blade-like tips.

Diet

Plankton

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Did You Know?

When it comes to real estate on the coral reef, every inch matters. If another coral trespasses too close, the horn coral will actually expel its guts, called mesenterial filaments, onto the intruder. These filaments are packed with stinging cells and digestive enzymes which will kill anything they touch.

Bubble Coral Bubble Coral

Bubble Coral

As the name suggests, the polyps of this species resemble large bubbles, which during the day are expanded to increase the surface area of the polyp, allowing it to absorb more sunlight for photosynthesis.

Diet

Planton

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Did You Know?

At night, the bubble coral retracts its blimp-like polyps and extends an arsenal of sweeper tentacles to prevent encroachment into its territory.

Mandarinfish Mandarinfish

Mandarinfish

The beautiful mandarinfish can be found in shallow protected lagoons and inshore reefs. These shy, slow fish typically live on the bottom among coral rubble in small groups where they seek cover during the day. At night, they emerge to spawn and forage for copepods, gastropods and amphipods, which are tiny shrimp and snails.

Size

Up to 3 inches

Range

Southwest Pacific Ocean

Diet

Crustaceans, worms, mollusks, fish eggs

Did You Know?

Just as the sun sets each night, groups of mandarinfish emerge from their daytime hiding places seeking a mating partner. Under the romantic golden hour light, a male who has successfully courted a female then swims close to her at the pelvic fin. Then the pair swim up from the reef towards the water’s surface, cheek to cheek, until finally releasing a cloud of sperm and eggs that fertilize in the water column and drift away to hopefully become baby mandarinfish.

Yellow Tang Yellow Tang

Yellow Tang

The yellow tang is often found in social groups ranging from solitary to hundreds of individuals while feeding during the day. Named for their bright yellow color, this fish is an unmistakable and iconic reef inhabitant.

Diet

Algae

Size

Up to 8 inches

Range

Island chains in the Central Pacific

Did You Know?

Algae feeders like yellow tangs play a crucial role in coral reef ecosystems. By keeping algae in check, they prevent fast growing algae from choking out slower growing corals.

Achilles Tang Achilles Tang

Achilles Tang

The achilles tang is a strikingly beautiful species typically found in shallow water with lots of surge where algae is plentiful.

Diet

Algae

Habitat

Coral reefs

Size

Up to 10 inches

Range

South and central Pacific Ocean

Did You Know?

Though the name Achilles comes from the Greek mythical hero who was killed by a single arrow to the back of his heel, the red spot on the Achilles tang is far from defenseless, harboring a blade-like spine on both sides which can be extended when threatened.

Convict Tang Convict Tang

Convict Tang

The convict tang is an active species that may be found in massive groups, hundreds strong in areas where algae are plentiful. Juveniles may be found alone or in small groups in shallow water.

Diet

Algae

Habitat

Coral reefs

Size

Up to 10 inches

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Did You Know?

The convict tang has a white or pale green body with six black vertical stripes, similar to the uniform of a prison inmate.

Neon Goby Neon Goby

Neon Goby

The neon goby has symbiotic relationships with other marine creatures. The fish remove ectoparasites from other marine creatures' bodies and, in return, receive an easy meal.

Habitat

Coral reefs

Size

Up to 2 inches

Diet

Parasites, fish scales, and mucus

Range

Western Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea

Did You Know?

Neon gobies typically mate for life and are fiercely protective of their partner. If a goby is widowed by the loss of their mate, they will usually leave the cleaning station they shared in search of a new partner.

Melanurus Wrasse Melanurus Wrasse

Melanurus Wrasse

Melanurus wrasse can be found either solitary or in small groups, darting in and out of crevices of sheltered coral reef areas. These peaceful, fast-moving fish can almost instantly disappear by diving into the sand, where they shelter overnight. During the day, they are inquisitive explorers, patrolling the reef, always with an eye out for a tasty morsel, so much so they have been seen to lift small rocks with their mouths looking for hiding invertebrates.

Size

Up to 5 inches

Diet

Crustaceans, worms

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Did You Know?

Juvenile melanurus wrasse exhibit a slightly duller coloration compared to their adult counterparts. They often sport eye spots on their tail and dorsal fins, which serve as a defense mechanism by confusing potential predators.

Naso Tang Naso Tang

Naso Tang

Juvenile naso tang tend to prefer the shallow reef environment, while larger adults often cruise the deeper reef slope, foraging for zooplankton in the strong currents.

Habitat

Coral reefs

Size

Up to 18 inches

Diet

Algae and zooplankton

Range

Western Pacific and east Indian Oceans

Did You Know?

This fish is sometimes called the lipstick tang due to their striking orange lips!

Banggai Cardinalfish Banggai Cardinalfish

Banggai Cardinalfish

Banggai cardinalfish are beautifully ornate fish often found hiding among the spines of sea urchins for protection. They are the only diurnal species of cardinalfish, which means they are mostly active during the day.

Conservation Status

Endangered

Diet

Zooplankton, copepods

Habitat

Coral reefs, seagrass beds

Range

Banggai Archipelago in Indonesia

Did You Know?

Like a fingerprint, the dot pattern on every banggai cardinalfish is unique to each individual.

Foxface Rabbitfish Foxface Rabbitfish

Foxface Rabbitfish

Mature foxface rabbitfish are usually solitary animals, scouring the reef with their rasp-like teeth to scrape algae from rocks. When threatened, this fish can dramatically change color from its usual bright yellow to dark brown.

Habitat

Coral reefs

Size

Up to 10 inches

Diet

Algae, zooplankton

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Did You Know?

Rabbitfish spines contain a venom similar to that of a stonefish.

Electric Eel Electric Eel

Electric Eel

The electric eel prefers muddy bottoms and calm waters. Among their many evolutionary adaptations, they can tolerate low levels of dissolved oxygen due to their ability to breathe air, gaining up to 80 percent of their oxygen through this method. The fact that these animals are primarily nocturnal, combined with their extremely poor vision, likely led to the development of and reliance on three pairs of electric organs to not only produce strong electric discharges when necessary but also use electricity to sense their environment and navigate through dark muddy waters.

Size

Up to 98 inches

Diet

Crustaceans, amphibians, fish

Range

Northeastern South America including Amazon and Orinoco River Basins

Did You Know?

The Electric Eeel is actually not an eel at all but rather belongs to another group of fish called Gymnotiformes, or knifefish. Until recently, all electric eels were considered the same species, but new research has shown there are three distinct species in this genus.

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp Pacific Cleaner Shrimp

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp

Pacific cleaner shrimp are typically found in caves or under reef ledges, often in pairs. Like other cleaner species, this shrimp will operate a cleaning station where typically large fish or other marine life will wait patiently in a designated spot while the shrimp diligently remove parasites, bacteria, and dead skin from their customer's scales, gills, and even from inside their mouths! Interestingly, the shrimp are selective of their clients, especially the ones that might eat them. One study showed cleaner shrimp turn down predatory clients up to 75% of the time, which was far more often than they turned down harmless species.

Size

Up to 2.4 inches

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Diet

Ectoparasites and dead tissue from fish, detritus

Did You Know?

Research has indicated that inflammation is reduced when the Pacific cleaner shrimp cleans a wound on another marine species.

Potbelly Seahorse Potbelly Seahorse

Potbelly Seahorse

Potbelly seahorses are masters of camouflage and can be very hard to spot in their natural habitat. They use prehensile tails to anchor themselves to seagrass or other objects while waiting for prey. They can also move both eyes independently, allowing them to watch what's going on without having to move their bodies.

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Diet

Crustaceans, zooplankton

Habitat

Seagrass beds, rocky reefs

Range

Southwest Pacific around Australia and New Zealand

Did You Know?

The female potbelly seahorse will leave her eggs in the male's brood pouch. The male will carry the eggs until they hatch.

Weedy Seadragon Weedy Seadragon

Weedy Seadragon

This otherworldly-looking fish can be found slowly moving amongst the algae and seagrass of shallow water estuaries and deeper offshore reefs. These fish have incredible camouflage, which is handy because they are terrible swimmers, incapable of evasive or fast movements.

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Diet

Crustaceans, plankton

Range

Indian Ocean along the South coast of Australia

Did You Know?

Weedy seadragons have neither teeth nor a stomach, which means to survive they must constantly be in a slow speed chase for crustaceans and other planktonic snacks small enough to be swallowed whole.

Common Cuttlefish Common Cuttlefish

Common Cuttlefish

Common cuttlefish are found in sandy or muddy substrates, from sub-tidal waters to depths of 600 feet. Members of this species follow seasonal migrations, spending spring and summer in shallow waters, then moving to deeper water during autumn and winter. Cuttlefish bodies are soft, aside from a large flat internal shell called a cuttlebone filled with gas and used for buoyancy control. They have eight arms and two much longer tentacles. When hunting, they can shoot out their tentacles in a flash, grabbing prey with pinpoint accuracy and drawing it into their beak to be consumed.

Size

Up to 20 inches

Diet

Crustaceans, fish, mollusks

Range

Eastern North and East Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea

Did You Know?

Cuttlefish can change the color and texture of their skin within seconds, allowing them to camouflage instantly or communicate with other cuttlefish or predators. Special structures within its skin enable it to change colors quickly. The cuttlefish expands and contracts these structures to create different color patterns and textures on its skin.

Red-Bellied Piranha Red-Bellied Piranha

Red-Bellied Piranha

Found throughout the Amazon River Basin, red-bellied piranha tend to travel in large schools. Despite their fearsome reputation, piranha are omnivorous and rarely bite animals larger than themselves.

Size

Up to 12 inches

Range

Amazon River basin

Habitat

Rivers and streams

Diet

Fish, fins, and scales, insects, mollusks, fruit

Did You Know?

Along with close relatives like pacu, red-bellied piranha have a highly evolved sense of hearing; they can also produce barking sounds using sonic muscles attached to their swim bladder!

What's Inside

Exhibits Nearby

Canadian Waters

Embark on a coast-to-coast journey through freshwater wilds, local fisheries, and kelp forests, meeting more than 80 aquatic species, like sturgeon and the giant Pacific octopus, along the way!

Swirling Pinstripe backdrop

Woah! The Aquarium sounds like alotl fun! But what are you doing all the way down here with the axolotls – some of the most secretive salamanders in the world?!

Did you know out of more than 800 salamander species that exist, only about 22 can be found in Canada?