Our spectacular 8,000 gallon living coral reef aquarium is the largest aquarium of its type in the Mid-Atlantic Region. It is home to 250 colorful marine fish and 150 live soft and stony corals. The living coral reef system will grow and change over time and offers exceptional SOL compliant educational value, as well as providing enjoyment for all those who visit and observe. Exciting new technologies with interactive screens provide a learning experience for everyone.
The mention of coral reefs brings to mind warm climates, colorful fish and clear waters. However, the reef itself is actually a component of a larger ecosystem.
The coral community is a system that includes a collection of biological communities, representing one of the most diverse ecosystems in the
world. They're like cities under the sea filled with colorful fish, intricate formations and wondrous sea creatures.
The importance of coral reefs, however, extends far beyond the pleasure it brings to those who explore it. Coral reefs play an essential role in everything from water filtration and fish reproduction to shore line protection and erosion prevention. Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse
ecosystems on earth, rivaled only by tropical rain forests.
Sea creatures that call this aquarium home include Gorgonians, Marine Sponges, Sea Cucumbers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Sea Biscuits, Sea Stars and more.
We are proud and grateful to have a wonderful donor who has sponsored the large aquarium.
The Turtles of Virginia aquarium features several species that live in the lakes, creeks and rivers of Western Virginia. It has become an instant favorite.
Current residents of the aquarium include a Map Turtle, two Painted Turtles and a Red Eared Slider. The turtles take turns swimming and resting on a 300 lb piece of driftwood collected from the side of the river. They are already
eating from the hands of Center’s Aquarium curators!
The Chomp Tank features a handful of aggressive marine fish species
that can be found in various oceans around the world.
Koi are the most recognized fish in the world. They are graceful, vibrant
and respected. They are usually associated with Japan, but they
actually originated from Central Asia in China.
They got their name around 500 B.C., but the fish itself has been around for millions of years according to fossil records. The colors and patterns that
adorn Koi today were made through natural genetic mutation.
According to legend, a huge school of Koi swam upstream the Yellow River located in China. The fish acquired more strength by battling with the
current. When the school reached a waterfall at the end, many
of the fish went back and let the current of the river carry
them away. The Koi that stayed did not give up.
They leaped from the depths of the river and tried to reach the very top of the waterfall to no avail. Local demons noticed their efforts and mocked them
by increasing the height of the waterfall. After a hundred years of jumping
one Koi finally reached the top of the waterfall. The gods noticed
its determination and turned it into a golden dragon,
the image of power and strength.