Staff here at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium have weaned a Giant Gourami onto a healthier menu of grapes and bananas, after inheriting the creature who had been fed an unhealthy amount of prawn cocktail flavoured Skips as part of its diet by its previous owner – turning the usually grey creature an unusually pinky hue.
The 40cm long, four kilo fish’s refusal to feed baffled aquarists until they learned of its previous unorthodox diet.
“I have never heard of a fish being fed crisps,” said Curator Jamie Oliver. “Gouramis usually eat a diet of fruit and vegetation but fortunately Gerty doesn’t appear to have suffered any ill effects from her unhealthy addiction. However, we would NOT recommend feeding fish crisps of any kind!”
Gerty is not the only unusual creature to come to the top attraction from private owners, which actually highlights a more serious issue. Aquarists have nicknamed one display the “tank busters” tank, because it houses a number of large fish that simply grew too big for their owners to manage.
“Many people don’t do the right research when they buy fish and end up unable to care for them,” continues Oliver. “Catfish are a good example and we have a number here that outgrew their homes. Terrapins are another – they can live for 40 years and are actually quite costly to care for. As a supporter of the Big Fish Campaign we’d urge people to think before they buy fish that could potentially become too big to handle. We’re delighted we could find a home for Gerty but her case just goes to show how important it is to be responsible when buying creatures for home aquaria.”
All photos by Matt Haworth 2014