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Discover some of the most beautiful and colourful fish from around the world right here in our tropical tanks. Displaying some of the most wonderful tropical fish, our Tropical Treasures exhibit is an incredible place to learn about marine life up close and with your own eyes.

So, what should you expect when visiting the Tropical Treasures? Let’s find out…

Let’s dive into the Tropical Treasures

The tropics is the name given to the regions of the world that lie in the middle of the globe, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The central areas of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and most of the Indian Ocean, lie in the tropics.

One of the key features that make up tropical marine environments is coral reefs. They provide an important ecosystem for marine life, offering food and shelter among their crevices and branches for animals including fishes, molluscs, sea urchins and sponges. These reefs thrive in warm and clear water and rely heavily on the sun to grow.

Our Tropical Treasures exhibit aims to showcase this wealth of species to help you learn more about the animals that live in this part of the world.

What is the Tropical Treasures atmosphere like?

Our Tropical Treasures exhibit mimics the natural habitat that these creatures need in order to thrive. Based on the waters of the Indo-Pacific, you’ll find saltwater at an average temperature of 26 degrees. This tropical climate provides the perfect home for a huge array of fish that you’ll find here, from eels and starfish to pufferfish and seahorses.

The main feature of our Tropical Treasures exhibit is the tunnel tank, so you can feel incredibly immersed in life underwater and see some of the incredible species swimming by.

What animals will I find in Tropical Treasures?

Here at Blue Reef Aquarium Portsmouth you really will find a treasure chest of marine life, ranging from colourful fish to some fascinating species. Here are just a few of the types of fish you’ll find here.

Damsels: Belonging to the Pomacentridae family, damselfish are closely related to clownfish. Damsels are typically found in warm seas around the world, and are known for their colourful appearance and lively behaviour. In our exhibit, you’ll find the likes of the humbug damsel (Dascyllus aruanus) which is known for its bold black and white colouring. We are also home to regal damsels (Chrysiptera hemicyanea), characterised for its electric blue body with a splash of yellow.

Triggerfish: Part of the Balistidae family, triggerfish are also brightly coloured and are found mostly in shallower tropical waters. There are around 40 species in total, and each has a distinctive pattern. The most distinguishing feature of triggerfish is their dorsal fin, which can be locked in place by a modified spine called the “trigger.” This spine can be raised and locked into position, preventing the fish from being easily pulled out of tight crevices in coral reefs, where they often seek shelter. Here, you’ll see clown triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum) which has an incredibly unique appearance, featuring a black body with large white spots on the bottom half of its body, and yellow lips and yellow spots on the top of its body. We also have the red-tooth triggerfish (Odonus niger) which is the sole member of its genus, and identified by its deep purple colour and literal red teeth.

Starfish: While also known as sea stars, these echinoderms belong to the class Asteroidea and are closely related to brittle stars. There are over 1,000 species of starfish around the world, inhabiting a wide variety of homes like rocky shores, tidal pools, coral reefs and on the sea bed. They live in both warm and cold water, so long as it is saltwater! At our aquarium you’ll find the crown of thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), recognised for its stunning purple colour and venomous thorn-like spines. We’re also home to the red serpent starfish (Ophioderma squamosissimus), with its long red arms and more closely resembles a brittle star.

Tangs: Belonging to the family Acanthuridae, tangs are a type of surgeonfish. They are characteristically bright in colour, and can be found across a wide range of water across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. We are home to a great number of different tang species, including the very well-known regal tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) with its blue and yellow colouring, as well as the yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens).

Alongside these incredibly colourful and fascinating species, you’ll also find the likes of wrasse, eels, pufferfish and many more!

How is global warming affecting our tropical seas?

Climate change is gradually warming our oceans, and even a few degrees can make a huge difference to our marine life. The warmer temperature can cause the sea level to rise, which has a knock on effect in the ocean’s currents. What’s more, ice melting can also reduce the salinity of the ocean.

The ocean absorbs a great deal of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and carbon emissions, which leads to lower oxygen levels in the water. All of these factors can lead to a deadly impact on our marine life, from coral bleaching to fish having to move to cooler waters.

Who would enjoy the Tropical Treasures exhibit?

This is an incredibly fascinating exhibit complete with tunnel, so you can really feel close to the species we have here. People of any age will have a great experience walking through Tropical Treasures, whether you’re hoping to see brightly coloured tropical fish or eye-catching starfish. Not only is it educational, but you have the chance to see some really unique species.


Tropical Seas, like all areas of Blue Reef Portsmouth Aquarium, is fully accessible to those with mobility issues, including wheelchair users. To find out more, please visit our accessibility page.

Current Water Temp

26 / 78

Water Type

Salt Water

Climate / Biome

Tropical Marine

In This Exhibit

70 Species | 14 Tanks

Where are we?


In This Exhibit

Continue Downstream

Freshwater Fun

Continue your undersea adventure as you discover the fascinating freshwater side of the aquatic world in our Freshwater Fun zone! Come face to face with turtles, and amphibians!

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