Tropiquaria, West Somersetâ€™s own zoo and aquarium, is this week hosting the Big Fish Roadshow.
The roadshow, the brainchild of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) and the National Aquarium Workshop (NAW), is part of a campaign to try and stop people buying small fish of certain species which can grow into immense fish, far too big for the home aquaria.
The Big Fish Campaign started a few years ago when it was discovered that over a period of four months, 11 of the UK’s top aquaria had been asked to take on 144 fish that had outgrown their (domestic) aquaria.
Tropiquaria director Chris Moiser said: "This is a problem that we have encountered locally and only recently we found one local dealer was selling Red-tailed catfish (which can grow to one and a half metres long), and Giraffe catfish which can make almost a metre. Whether or not the purchasers were aware of this remains to be seen."
Tropiquaria’s aquarist Shaun Stevens said the campaign "does not seek to stop people from keeping fish, just to inform, and to dispel the myth that the fish will only grow to fit their tank. It is not fair to expect the local zoo or aquarium to take on your Arowana or Pacu when it grows to be too big for the home. As part of the display we have Buster, a cuddly toy Red-tail catfish who is just over a metre long, and available for photographs. The real fish can of course grow to be bigger than this toy."
On Saturday, November 9 the roadshow will be taken to the Taunton branch of Maidenhead Aquatics at Blackdown Garden Centre, near Wellington, where children can enter the colouring contest (the prize is a cuddly 'Nemo' toy) and have their picture taken with Buster.
Afterwards it returns to Tropiquaria. Later in the tour it visits Bristol Aquarium and several other venues around the country before ending up at the National Museum in Liverpool next March.
The above picture shows Will Trickett, from Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home series, with Buster. Will endorses the campaign and popped into Tropiquaria on Tuesday.
Tropiquaria is open daily until Monday, November 11 and then on weekends and Mondays until the Christmas holidays.
Tropiquaria is located at Washford Cross, Watchet, Somerset, TA23 0QB. Tel. 01984 640688.
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