The National Sea Life Centre

The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham becomes an adoption shelter for abandoned creatures

Over the last month, The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham has seen an unprecedented number of marine life being brought to its door by owners who are no longer able to care for them.

From Seahorses to Mudskippers and Catfish to Lionfish, the centre has been inundated with requests to rehome sea creatures that have grown far too large for their domestic tanks, or have become very difficult to care for.

James Robson, Curator at The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham, explains:

Over the last month we’ve had an influx of requests to take in various fish and marine life and, luckily, we’ve had the space and the expertise to accommodate them. But now we’re very full again and we’re concerned that if any more cases come to us we might not be able to help.
We’ve had three Seahorses donated to our breeding programme by an owner whose tank was too small for them, and three Mudskippers who had started to fight with each other, so the owner felt they needed a larger environment in which to thrive and be happy.
We’ve also received Catfish and Lionfish which, as babies, are extremely small and cute but quickly grow into large adults and domestic tanks just can’t accommodate them. These owners have all been very sensible in bringing them to us rather than neglecting them and we appreciate that approach, but we’re now full!

When an animal first comes into the centre, they are put into quarantine for one month to ensure they are healthy, eating well and in good condition. If there is space at the centre, a new tank or enclosure is then prepared, or alternatively, an arrangement is made with another centre, which has a suitable enclosure which also ensures strong genetics breeding across the sea life network.

James continues:

Sea creatures live in an environment adapted to them. To try and keep them as pets at home is not advisable and it’s a myth that fish will only grow as large as the tank they are in. Many pet owners soon find that they are unable to care for them as they outgrow their tanks and they find themselves in a situation where they desperately need to rehouse them.
It’s fortunate that we’ve been able to rehouse and rehabilitate some of these abandoned creatures, but the rise in numbers has resulted in the centre struggling for space. We urge the public to think very carefully and take the time to learn about these sea creatures before deciding to purchase one. But we also urge retailers to sell responsibly, and ensure prospective owners are fully aware of the potential adult size of the fish they are purchasing.

James and the team support The Big Fish Campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the issue of aquarium fish that grow larger than the vast majority of home aquaria can accommodate, and promote responsible buying and selling of these larger species. For further information visit

The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham transports visitors to an amazing underwater world, where they get to see incredible sea life from all over the planet, from the coast of Britain and the chilly Antarctic, to the tropical waters of the Caribbean.

The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham has an aquarium home to over 2,000 creatures, such as sharks, as well as a rescued Giant Green Sea Turtle, otters, jellyfish, piranha, octopus and rays.   

For further information or to pre-book tickets online before your visit please go to Reduced prices are available for tickets booked in advance. For regular news, updates and competitions, The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham is also on Facebook and Twitter You can also keep up-to-date with what new resident, Ginny the Gentoo, has to say by following her on twitter at



Maps & Guides

Maps & Guides for your visit.

Read More

Getting around

Getting around Birmingham couldn’t be easier...

Read More

What's on

Search for places, events & accommodation...

Read More

Festivals & events

Take a look at what’s on now and coming up here...

Read More


RT @birminghamcg22: Plans for the site that would be home to the #Birmingham2022 Commonwealth Games Village have been formally submitted fo…

RT @unibirmingham: Excited much? Congratulations to everyone joining us! You'll be here very soon! #hellobrum We can't wait 😊

Festivals & events

Sporting highlights

All sporting events

There’s always something, or someone, to cheer for here

Read More


Art Galleries

Birmingham’s art collection is as wide as it is impressive. 

Read More

Stage & Screen

From touring West End shows to showcasing local talent.

Read More


A huge arena tour or an intimate gig?  You’ll find it here.

Read More


Multiplexes, the UK’s oldest working cinema or art house cool?

Read More

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

A vibrant museum in the heart of the city with over 40 galleries.

Read More


A diverse range of dance groups and venues.

Read More

See More, Feel More

Come, stay and soak up the culture in one of Europe's most vibrant cities.

Read More


Plan the perfect shopping trip with full store, centre and brand directories.

Read More

Shopping centres

From the world-famous, 21st Century Bullring to the Victorian elegance of the Great Western Arcade.

Read More

Vibrant streets

Linking the centres are Birmingham’s bustling shopping streets, packed with major brands and boutique independents.

Read More


Don’t miss Birmingham’s amazing markets – whether it’s the 850-year old Bullring markets or the...

Read More

Jewellery Quarter

Home to more diamond rings, finishing touches and tokens of love than anywhere else in...

Read More

Getting Married in Birmingham

We have everything covered from the rings right up to the venue itself.

Read More