The Tropical Aquarium
Amaze and sensitise
With its 85 tanks, one third of them freshwater and one third saltwater, and its two terrariums, the Aquarium presents tropical aquatic ecosystems and the species that inhabit them.
Presented as tableaux vivants, the tanks reconstruct natural environments as faithfully as possible: coral reefs, mangroves, African lakes, the rivers of Asia, Africa or America, the great rivers, caves or springs. The plant and animal species that inhabit them are representative and sometimes endemic to these environments.
Firstly, the Aquarium as a whole incites amazement and close observation of its residents. In response to visitors’ astonishment and questions, information sheets and signs provide abundant information about the environments and species presented, the way they operate, and their fragility in relation to the current threats.
As a complement to this, the annual exhibitions and various events throughout the life of the Tropical Aquarium provide additional enlightenment and information on contemporary environmental issues such as global change, pollution of all types, the exploitation or degradation of environments.
In other words, the Tropical Aquarium is a place rooted in wonder and contemplation, moving from amazement to questioning, and to knowledge and protection of nature.
Welcoming species in optimal conditions
The Aquarium’s collection counts around 8,000 animals and 550 species. These figures vary constantly however depending on reproduction, mortality, exchanges with other public aquariums, acquisitions and donations.
To welcome these residents in the very best conditions, a number of aquariological techniques have been implemented. These ensure a favourable living environment, with enough room for each animal to be able to move around, optimal water quality, diets adapted to each species, daily monitoring of their health and immediate medical treatment in the case of illness.
Tank lighting, temperature regulation and the physicochemical nature of the aquarium water, water filtration, decors, plants and fittings are the everyday tasks of the team of aquariologists.
The Aquarium’s residents mostly come from breeding farms or sellers who are respectful of species conservation. The Aquarium can also provide shelter for species seized by customs officials as a result of illegal trading, like coral for example. Many exchanges also take place within the network of aquariums of France or Europe, to share a species, find a place to welcome an individual that may have outgrown its environment, combining males and females for purposes of reproduction.
Contributing to species conservation and scientific research
The Aquarium is also a centre contributing to knowledge of tropical species.
The information accumulated about residents, the cycle of life, diet, behaviour, etc., will enrich the databases shared between all the aquariums and the scientific community.
Species protection programmes have been set up and can sometimes help prevent the extinction of species that are endangered in their natural environment. These species conservation programmes are also carried out in the field: for example, the Tropical Aquarium coordinates the Fishnet Madagascar programme.
The tanks are also observation places of particular interest to researchers. The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle is conducting research on Pocillopora damicornis coral in order to better understand the role played by certain bacteria in the transformation of its calcareous skeleton.