Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks has recently taken in two catfish from separate owners after they grew too big for their tanks.
A Red tail catfish (pictured above with Blue Planet's freshwater aquarist, Steve Chester) was donated to the aquarium by a lady who had inherited it from a previous owner. The fish had been well looked after but had eventually grown too large.
It had originally been bought in a shop as a 5cm/2" baby with no warning of the 60cm/5' fish it could eventually grow into. It devoured all the other fish in its tank and very quickly outgrew the 90cm/36" aquarium it was housed in.
The other fish re-homed at the aquarium is a 60cm/24"-long Giraffe catfish which was being kept in a tank so small it could hardly turn round.
Both the fish will go on display at Blue Planet in an exhibit that's currently being re-stocked with large catfish.
The aquarium receives several offers of tankbusters and large fish every month from members of the public whose fish have outgrown their tanks — and it's the same story at other public aquariums and zoos.
BIAZA (the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) has been raising awareness of the problem with its Big Fish Campaign.
The aim of the campaign is to lessen the number of large tropical and marine fish species which have to be rehomed every year by public aquariums and zoos.
Formed by the public aquariums themselves, and supported by many industry experts and hobbyists, The Big Fish Campaign was forged through concern over the high number of large fish species which are sold at a small size and then later have to be rehomed when they have outgrown their owners' tanks.
Commonly rehomed species include Red tail catfish, Tiger shovelnoses, Giant gourami, Pacu and Pangasius. Other problem fish include Niger catfish, Giraffe catfish, large Clarias, Clown knifefish, Leiarius pictus, marmoratus and Perrunichthys perruno, Red snakeheads and Silver arowana.
The Big Fish Campaign was set up a few years ago after 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 owners' home aquaria.
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