Blacktip Reef

Discover the aquatic life that thrives in a colorful Indo-Pacific reef.

Welcome to the Reef

Blacktip Reef is an award-winning exhibit located in the heart of National Aquarium. Guests can experience this replication of an Indo-Pacific reef from multiple vantage points, including a breathtaking underwater viewing area. The reef habitat is buzzing with aquatic life—sleek blacktip reef sharks cut through the water’s surface as rays gracefully glide and stunning fish dart between branches of colorful coral.


different species




gallons of water

Social Sharks

One of the unique characteristics about blacktip reef sharks is their camaraderie. These big fish often swim in schools in their natural habitats, and our school of blacktip reef sharks are no different. They lived together in our former Animal Care Center for 18 months before moving into their new home in Blacktip Reef, giving them plenty of bonding time before the big day.

Featured Animals Discover Life in an Indo-Pacific Reef

Learn more about the residents of Blacktip Reef.

Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)

These sharks can grow up to 6 feet long.

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Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator)

Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciatus)

Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulates)

Putting the Coral in Coral Reef

Real barrier reefs can take 100,000 to 30 million years to fully form, so growing our own coral wasn't an option. Instead, we painstakingly crafted our own—all 3,000 pieces of it—from the molds of real coral skeletons. Now it serves as colorful shelter for our diverse array of Indo-Pacific fish.

Daily Schedule Upcoming Activities at Blacktip Reef

Online Gift Shop Jaw-some Apparel

Our online shop has the perfect gift for the shark-lover in your life. Our original designs feature the iconic blacktip reef shark, sandbar sharks and more. Sales from the gift shop support the Aquarium's conservation and animal welfare efforts.

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