Thank You for Bringing a New Coral Reef Aquarium to WonderLab!

More than 100 generous donors helped us raise more than $50,000 to build a new, sustainable coral reef aquarium in 2017. This exciting new exhibit will debut next summer with new invertebrates and coral, an updated water management system to keep the ecosystem healthy, and an accompanying video kiosk. See more detailed information about this exhibit below.

WonderLab is especially grateful to the Brabson Foundation for its major support of the new coral reef exhibit, as well as an anonymous donor who provided the funds necessary for the matching campaign!

The new coral reef exhibit is part of WonderLab’s Next Generation of Wonder Initiative to build curious and creative problem-solvers! WonderLab is currently working with a professional museum consultant to re-imagine our exhibits and gallery space. Your continued support allows us to improve the museum and reach even more visitors with hands-on science education and fun!

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New Coral Reef Aquarium Goals

  • Introduce a new generation to the beauty and wonder of the oceans
  • Encourage visitors to and protect critical water habitats, from distant oceans to Indiana rivers and lakes
  • Expose visitors to the concept of sustainability and its importance to global environmental conservation
  • Promote critically important STEM skills such as observation and communication

New Coral Reef Aquarium Features and Species

Algal Turf Scrubbing (ATS) System

The ATS System provides effective regulation of oxygen, pH, and nutrient cycling, as well as surge simulation (simulation of natural waves using a dump bucket). This also allows for increased biodiversity due to the ability to feed heavily and avoid skimmers and mechanical/chemical filters.

Nemo and Dory Return!

The new aquarium will feature Ocellaris (Clown Fish), Blue Tang, Yellow Tang, and Mimic Lemon Peel Tang.

The Riveting Partnership of the Goby Fish and Tiger Shrimp

See the pair that has coevolved to live symbiotically with one another. The shrimp uses its pinchers to dig protective burrows for the two. The goby fish returns the favor by providing sentinel services to the shrimp, as he has very poor eyesight! The shrimp is sensitive to the movements of the goby, so when the fish senses danger, the shrimp immediately takes cover and lets the fish defend the burrow in the case of an invasion.

Lots of New Coral, Including Stony Coral

Stony corals create the physical structure that is a reef community and provide shelter, food and mating grounds for those that live on the reef. What will you see: Bubble Coral, Pipe Coral, Goniopora, Brain Coral, and more.

 Featured Invertebrates

Giant Clam – One of the largest marine invertebrates in existence, giant clams are charismatic with impressive facades. As their numbers are rapidly decreasing, the featured Giant Clam will be an important and intriguing addition to the aquarium.

Tuxedo Urchins

These hearty creatures play a pivotal role the health of the reef as they eat macroalgae and keep the coral free from algae. They are also wildly interactive and will be a great hands-on addition for visitors!

Brittle Stars

Brittle stars, and most other echinoderms, can perform a behavior called autonomy, or the voluntary loss of a limb as an escape method when in the grips of a predator. This helps them get away when a predator has one of their arms in its grasp. It can then later on regrow that arm and have full, unhindered use of it.

Other Fish

Cleaner Wrasse- Cleaner wrasse remove parasites from the surface of other fish. This has been documented to not only keep the other fish healthy and parasite free, but has also been seen to reduce stress of those fish.

Also: Lamarck’s Angelfish, Scissortail Goby, Starry Blenny, Mini Blenny, Green Mandarin, Dispar Anthias, and Purple Firefish