March saw the birthday of what might be the oldest pet fish in the world: a Black pacu (Colossoma macropomum) named 'Buttkiss' which is claimed to be 43 years old.
The pacu, which is similar to the one pictured above, is resident in a pet shop in Queens New York, weighs 9 kg and measures 58cm long. He was bought by his owner Steve Gruebel in 1967 when he measured just 5cm long. The fish was sold on and then returned two years later when it became aggressive and outgrew the then owner’s tank. Ironically Buttkiss now lives in a 283 l/62 gal. tank, just 1.2 metres long.
Although his owner has been criticised for the small size of the tank, he is quoted saying: "I'm afraid if I move him, he may not survive the changing environment."
Despite the fact that naturally the Black pacu is thought to be have a diet of insects, snails and rotting detritus, this fish is fed on 20 goldfish every other day. The pacu is now over double the expected longevity of 20 years but does suffer with deformed gills, hunched back and glaucoma in his right eye.
Up until last year, our own Sparsholt College owned a contender for the world’s oldest pet fish in a lungfish named Biffa that came to the UK in a coffee jar in 1967 aged not more than two years old. Dr Adrian Love told PFK
"Professor Hughes of Bristol University kept it until he retired in 1990 when it was brought to Sparsholt. Here it stayed as the favourite of students and staff alike until its death last year. A post mortem showed it to have extensive tumours and that surprisingly it was a female instead of the male we had all assumed it to be. It was extremely vicious and would have taken your arm off – or at least your fingers – if they got in the way. I have kept its jaws and they are not to be messed with!"
So it may just have beaten the pacu in terms of longevity.