Seeking Fish Foster Parents


More than 400,000 visitors a year experience the wonders of the ocean at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. To keep its fishes and invertebrates thriving, the aquarium has introduced a new Adopt-a-Fish program that invites participants to become part of the family.

Eighteen diverse species, from moon jellies to sharks to leafy sea dragons, are available for annual sponsorships ranging from $100 to $1,000. The tax-deductible adoptions make great gifts for the ocean lover and serve as an excellent way for fish foster parents to become connected with the care and habitat of their favorite marine animal.

“To keep our animals happy and healthy, we spend almost $1 million each year for food, care and maintenance,” Birch Aquarium Executive Director Nigella Hillgarth said. “Our aquarists even work on holidays and weekends to provide specialized tender loving care to our ocean inhabitants. Adopt-a-Fish parents become part of this dedicated team.”

The sponsorships also help the aquarium maintain and enhance its award-winning breeding programs for seahorses and corals that reduce the need for other aquariums to collect in the wild.

Fish foster parents receive a personalized adoption certificate, digital photo and fact sheet about their animal species, free passes to Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and a special invitation for an annual Adopt-a-Fish celebration. Additional features accompany adoption packages at higher sponsorship levels. Individuals, families, school classes, community groups and organizations are welcome to adopt.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps features more than 5,000 fish and invertebrates, representing 380 species. In addition to regular visitors, nearly 80,000 regional schoolchildren ¾ many of whom have never seen the ocean ¾ get to explore the aquarium through field trips each year.

Species available for annual adoption:


Moon Jelly






California Spiny Lobster

Sea Star

California Moray Eel





Coral Reef




Leopard Shark

Black Tipped Reef Shark




Giant Sea Bass

Scythe Butterflyfish



Sea Dragon


Pacific Seahorse


--Jessica Crawford

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