Rainbow Reef

Marvel at the fascinating behaviors of nearly 150 species of fish and coral in Rainbow Reef. This 1,700-gallon coral reef aquarium—one of the biggest in the Northeast—features a large and low viewing surface that provides even the littlest Nemo watchers an amazing view of brilliantly colored fish, corals, anemones, shrimp, eel, and crab.

A multimedia presentation adjacent to the tank helps guests identify the various types of fish introduced into the miniature ecosystem.

Rainbow River and Sea Anemone Tanks

In close proximity to Rainbow Reef is the Rainbow River tank, home to sparkling freshwater fish found in tropical rivers from all over the world. An adjacent sea anemone tank is the perfect place to watch clownfish, like Nemo, and other small reef inhabitants up close.

Underwater Residents

The aquariums at The Strong are home to nearly 150 species of fish and coral.


False Percula Clownfish
Scientific name: Amphiprion ocellaris

What tank would be complete without a Nemo? Look closely because false percula clownfish rarely leave the protection of their favorite anemones.

Flame Angelfish
Scientific name: Centropyge lorica

In the wild, flame angelfish love to nibble on corals and clam mantles. Rainbow Reef's flame angelfish are well fed, so there is no concern for them to be in the tank with corals and clams.

Hippo Tang
Scientific name: Paracanthurus hepatus

More affectionately known as Finding Nemo’s Dory, hippo tangs are a favorite of many museum guests.

Lipstick Tang
Scientific name: Naso lituratus

Some people think the lipstick tang looks beautiful; some think it looks plain silly. But one thing is for sure, its unique coloration definitely makes it stand out in a crowd!

Red-Toothed Triggerfish
Scientific name: Odonus niger

Triggerfish get their name from their two moveable spines. When the larger, forward spine is upright, the smaller one behind it (the trigger) can drop down, so the fish can secure itself in a hiding spot.

Unicorn Tang
Scientific name: Naso unicornis

Only male unicorn tangs have a long “horn.” Hercules, the museum’s unicorn tang, is the largest fish in the tank and still getting bigger—and the bigger he gets, the bigger his horn gets!

Yellow Tang
Scientific name: Zebrasoma flavescens

With a brilliant yellow color rivaled by few other fish, Rainbow Reef’s yellow tangs are always a crowd favorite.


Brain Coral
Scientific name: Favia sp.

The green brain coral in Rainbow Reef has to be placed far away from other corals or, in the nighttime, it will send out tentacles called “sweepers” that will sting and kill neighboring corals.

Candy Cane Coral
Scientific name: Caulastrea curvata

Under certain lighting, candy cane corals display candy-cane-like stripes. Look for these types of coral in blue, green, and brown colorations.

Cap Coral
Scientific name: Montipora capricornis

Cap coral is one of the fastest growing corals. It comes in many different colors including red, orange, purple, green, and brown.

Gorgonian Coral
Scientific name: Gorgonia sp.

Brown gorgonian corals, sometimes called sea fans, have an almost wood-like skeleton that is very different from most other stony skeleton corals. Some scientists disagree on whether or not these are even real coral!

Hammer Coral
Scientific name: Euphyllia paranchora

Hammer corals are closely related to torch corals. Some people have given them the name anchor coral. Look at the coral’s tentacles and decide what name—hammer or anchor coral—is most fitting?

Mushroom Coral
Scientific name: Actinodiscus sp.

Mushroom corals are actually closely related to anemones and grow very fast. Look for different colors of mushroom corals in Rainbow Reef?

Staghorn Coral
Scientific name: Acropora sp.

Staghorn coral is a favorite of many reef keepers. It can grow in many shapes and sizes and even though it looks like a colored rock, it is actually a living animal. This coral is one of the major reef corals responsible for building the substructure that supports the entire reef!

Torch Coral
Scientific name: Euphyllia glabrescens

Torch corals have long, thin tentacles that flutter in the current of the water. Think about why they are called torches.