Second clutch of Zombie fish at SEA LIFE Aquarium

One year on from SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s announcement of the native species breeding program, they have welcomed their second clutch of southern purple-spotted gudgeon and are well positioned to restore a thriving population in Victorian waters.

In partnership with the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA), SEA LIFE Melbourne housed a small population of the endangered zombie fish, declared extinct in Victoria in 1998, and created the perfect environment for breeding while also educating visitors on the importance of wetland conservation. 

The first purple spotted gudgeon eggs were laid in December 2022 and hatched on the 1 January 2023 with the most recent laid and hatched in July. The latest batch of fry are around 8-10mm in size and are developing on a diet of live and premade foods.

Sam Fawke, Curatorial Supervisor at SEA LIFE Melbourne said, “we are incredibly proud to announce the latest arrivals, one year into this breeding program. This hatching, well ahead of spring, ensures the fish will be the perfect size to release into native wetlands around northern Victoria at the end of spring.”

“For the second time this year, SEA LIFE Melbourne has bred threatened native freshwater fish onsite”. 

Peter Rose, Project Manager at North Central CMA said, “we are really excited at the results from the first year of this breeding program. It’s given visitors to the Aquarium a glimpse into the work we do to protect and enhance the environment across 13% of Victoria, but also gives us a healthy number of fish to introduce to wetlands on the Goulburn River floodplain and in Gunbower Forest.”

Guests can see the southern purple-spotted gudgeon up-close and learn about the breeding program in the newly created Wetlands Recovery Nursery on Level 1.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is open 7 days per week with tickets and further information available at

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