This zone consists primarily of Mediterranean species such as the gilt-head sea bream (Sparus aurata, Awrat), european sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax, Spnot), amongst others such as mullet, grouper, amberjacks and scorpionfish. Don’t forget to look out for the skates hiding beneath the sand – undulate rays are also common in our seas which are a type of cartilaginous fish similar to the shark family.
The submarine is a replica of the HMS Stubborn submarine used during World War II which is now a dive site 2 miles of Qawra point. You will find a number of surprises when looking through the windows of the submarine – so pay close attention even if it may appear to be empty. Octopus, sea anemone, parrot fish and other species can be seen within the tanks of the submarine.
Thanks to Sharklab, an NGO in Malta which does research on sharks around Malta, we have been able to develop shark embryos in our Aquarium. These egg cases have been revived from the fish market where the fishermen take the sharks after being caught as by catch. By catch means ‘by mistake’ but this could lead to a decline in species if not regulated properly.
On entering the Grand harbour, you will find yourselves surrounded by a beautiful mural and more local fish including white sea bream (Diplodus sargus, Sargu) dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus, Cerna) and more. The two tanks opposite the Marsaxlokk area display the first of the coral reef fish series amongst which you will see anthias, lion fish, coral groupers and more.
Before entering the next zone you’ll also get a glimpse of the Indian Ocean which displays fish such as the Emperor Angel fish, clownfish, blue-green chromis (damsels) and many more. This tank emits an array of colour and diversity from the sandy bottom all the way to the surface.
The main tank inhabits marine life from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans displaying numerous shoals of pilot fish, pompano, unicorn tangs, batfish and other individual fish such as the bannerfish, porcupine puffer fish, blue cod and racoon butterflyfish. Black tip reef, leopard and zebra sharks are also abundant in this tank along with cownose rays and whiptail stingrays which all swim gracefully over the tunnel and through the coral and shipwreck. A few members tend to hide away in holes or behind the coral such as the horn sharks and dragon eel.
Welcome aboard… this zone characterises an ancient ghost shipwreck where you will see replicas of ancient Roman remains as well as displaying an array of damselfish, clownfish, cleaner shrimps and more. St Paul’s anchor was donated to the Malta National Aquarium by the Malta Maritime Museum and is thought to be the one used during his voyage to Malta.
The Jesus Christ statue represents the statue which was sunk in commemoration of the Pope’s visit to Malta in 1990 near St Paul’s islands. The tank exhibits fish which surround the statue in the sea such as damsel fish (Chromis chromis, cawla), ornate wrasse (Thalassoma pavo, ludhi) sea urchins and painted combers (Serranusscriba, burqax).
Within the tank displaying the bow of the shipwreck, one can see a number of large Mediterranean fish species such as the blue runner, meagre and moray eel . This and the following tank display fish which tend to live at great depths within the surrounding waters. At Lantern Point you’ll be able to see cardinal fish, red porgy, pandora and other local species from the depths.
Fascinating scenes of the Azure window, Xwejni saltpans and the blue lagoon surround this zone and truly illustrate the beauty of Malta’s sister islands Gozo and Comino. In this zone you will see one marine deep water tank and three freshwater tanks, bringing about a lot of diversity. Amongst the marine species, grey triggerfish and black bream can be seen,
Freshwater fish are characteristic of species which inhabit rivers, lakes and streams such as pacu, oscars, arowana, peacock bass and terrapins which are all commonly found in regions of South America.