blacktip reef

Blacktip Reef

Blacktip Reef is a breathtaking exhibit full of color, light, and movement located in the heart of National Aquarium.

This coral-filled exhibit, replicating Indo-Pacific reefs, is active with life that guests can experience from many vantage points, including a new floor-to-ceiling pop-out viewing window that allows guests to virtually come face-to-face with the animals.

Watch Blacktip Reef  live on Shark Cam:

At 6-month Check-Up, Blacktip Reef Thrives

Since our $12.5 million Blacktip Reef exhibit opened six months ago, the numbers are speaking for the sharks - Thank you for making our newest exhibit such a success!

Check out some of our numbers from the past six months:

  • We have welcomed more than 381,530 visitors (an increase of 8,790 visitors when compared to the same 6-month period one year ago)
  • More than 46,000 students have encountered the new exhibit
  • Guests have had the opportunity to enjoy more than 1,400 interactive presentations, shark feedings, diver talks and education carts every day (approximately eight per day)
  • Overnight guests have enjoyed 14 overnights with the inhabitants of Blacktip Reef through the Aquarium’s Sleepover with the Sharks Immersion Tour program

Not only is Blacktip Reef thrilling visitors at the Aquarium, the exhibit is thriving as an integrated, self-contained habitat for 779 animals representing 70 species including blacktip reef sharks, clown triggerfish, tasseled wobbegongs, humphead wrasse, stingrays, a green sea turtle and more. The exhibit is still just as breathtaking as the day it opened due to the hard work of six dedicated staff members, ten husbandry volunteers and approximately 50 dive tenders who keep the exhibit running smoothly.

Animals in This Exhibit

  • Blacktip Reef Shark

    The Blacktip Reef Shark is named for the easily recognizable black tips on its dorsal and caudal fins.

    Add to Trip Planner Blacktip Reef Shark
  • Clown Triggerfish

    The Clown Triggerfish is one of the most desirable fish for aquariums because of its unique appearance.

    Add to Trip Planner Clown Triggerfish
  • Emperor Angelfish

    Male emperor angelfish are territorial, and they will defend their living space, as well as the few females they share it with. This area can be as large as 10,760 square feet.

    Add to Trip Planner Emperor Angelfish
  • Green Sea Turtle

    The shells of sea turtles are lighter and more hydrodynamic than the shells of turtles that live on land, allowing them to glide easily through water.

    Add to Trip Planner Green Sea Turtle
  • Harlequin Tuskfish

    The Harlequin Tuskfish is a solitary animal, but it can be aggressive and territorial at times.

    Add to Trip Planner Harlequin Tuskfish
  • Honeycomb Stingray

    Also known as the Reticulate Whipray, the Honeycomb Stingray has a light brown body with dark brown spots. Its underside, however, is a solid off-white. Its snout is pointed, and when intact, its tail can reach three times its body size. The tail usually has one barb on it.

    Add to Trip Planner Honeycomb Stingray
  • Humphead Wrasse

    The colossal Humphead Wrasse, also called the Napoleon Wrasse, is one of the largest fish inhabiting coral reefs. It is easily identifiable by its thick lips, prominent bump on its forehead, and two black lines behind its eyes. The coloring of Humphead Wrasses can range from a dull blue-green to brilliant shades of green or purplish-blue.

    Add to Trip Planner humphead wrasse
  • Slingjaw Wrasse

    The Slingjaw Wrasse is a very peculiar fish because it folds its jaw under its head when not in use and extends it from its body when it needs to catch food.

    Add to Trip Planner Slingjaw Wrasse
  • Spotted Unicornfish

    Adult spotted unicornfish can be anywhere from bluish gray to olive brown in color.

    Add to Trip Planner spotted unicornfish
  • Wobbegong Shark

    The wobbegong has a wide, flat body that sports a series of darker lines and splotches against a paler background. This pattern helps it disappear against the ocean floor.

    Add to Trip Planner tasselled wobbegong
  • Zebra Shark

    These zebras lose their stripes! As juveniles, these sharks have dark bodies with yellowish stripes. As they mature, the pattern changes to small dark spots on a grayish-tan background.

    Add to Trip Planner National Aquarium – Zebra shark

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An exhibit in the making

Blacktip Reef construction

Quick Facts

  • Location: The centerpiece of National Aquarium, Baltimore, replacing Wings in the Water
  • Number of animal species: 60+
  • Number of animal specimens: 800+
  • Number of corals: 3,000
  • Gallons of water in tank: 260,000
  • Square feet: 13,500
  • Cost: $12.5 million

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