A treatment administered by staff at Texas State Aquarium to kill parasites has resulted in the deaths of around 100 fish.
The medication used to treat what is described as a particularly resistant parasite was initially tested on a smaller exhibit for its suitability — a standard precaution — and there were no adverse side effects.
But when the same treatment was added to the Aquarium’s Islands of Steel, Flower Gardens, and Lionfish displays, the livestock housed within them reacted very badly and began to die.
A statement on the Aquarium’s website said: “Staff members worked diligently throughout the night to save as much of the collection as possible, but considerable losses were sustained."
The dead include sharks, amberjacks and lionfish. None of the outdoor exhibits were affected.
“The Aquarium’s first priority is to focus on stabilising the water in the affected exhibits," the statement continued. "The Aquarium has sent water samples from affected exhibits to testing laboratories in hopes of a clear explanation for what caused the adverse reaction.”
Richard Glover, the Aquarium’s chief marketing officer, said: “This was a complete surprise and something we could never have predicted.
"As you can imagine, it has been very rough on the staff. It’s obviously a very sad day for us here and it will take us some time to get over it."
The aquarium will not replace the fish in the affected tanks until the water is deemed safe. The treatment that was used to treat the parasites hasn’t been identified in reports.
In October last year, one of the coral reef displays at the Albuquerque BioPark Aquarium in New Mexico lost a large number of fish after treating them for a persistent trematode problem. In that case a product containing dylox was reportedly used.
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