Giant fish in new aquarium display

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A new River Giants exhibit opens at Tennessee Aquarium later this month.

The two-storey exhibit is part of the Aquarium's 20th anniversary celebrations and will feature 40 fish – 17 species from four continents.

The exhibit has taken over two and a half years to complete, at a cost of $800,000.

The fish include Arapaima, freshwater whiprays and marble eels, Blue catfish, Lake sturgeon and Alligator gars, Pangasius, Redtail catfish, Wallago catfish and Beluga sturgeon.

The exhibit will be the first of its kind at the aquarium, putting a lot of fish that wouldn’t naturally be found together into the same tank.

"Normally we focus on one habitat and try to give people a better understanding of that environment," said Thom Benson, a spokesman for the Aquarium. "These large species are disappearing and may face extinction. It’s not just taking fish randomly and throwing them into one container because they are big. We want people to think about their plight."

"The Wallago catfish is one of my personal favourites," said Thom Demas, the Aquarium's curator of fishes. "It has the face of a bullhead and an eel-like body. In Southeast Asia, Wallago can grow to 8' in length."

The exhibit is presented in collaboration with National Geographic and inspired by the TV series "Monster Fish". Zeb Hogan, National Geographic explorer and host of "Monster Fish" will be in Chattanooga from April 25-28 to help launch the exhibit.

River Giants opens on April 28.

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