Staff at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium have weaned a choco-holic Giant Gourami onto a healthier menu of grapes and bananas after inheriting the creature who had been raised entirely on Kit Kats.
The 40cm long and 4 kilos heavy; fish’s refusal to feed baffled aquarists until they learned of its previous unorthodox diet. The team stuffed crushed Kit Kat pieces inside grapes to get Gary, as he is affectionately known, to “take a break” from his daily chocolate fix.
“I have never heard of a fish being fed chocolate, let alone being brought up entirely on the stuff”, said Gary’s handler, Rebecca Carter. “Gourami’s usually eat a diet of fruit but Gary doesn’t appear to have suffered any ill effects from his chocolate addiction. However, we would NOT recommend feeding fish confectionary of any kind!”
Gary is not the only unusual creature to come to the top attraction from private owners. Nearby lives Ed, a Catfish with decidedly cat-like tendencies. Ed will only accept his food by hand and likes to be stroked on the head at the same time. He has also learnt to head-butt a lethal puffer fish who vies for his food!
But Gary and Ed actually highlight 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 Rebecca. “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. We’d urge people to think before they buy. We’re delighted we could find a home for Gary but the fact is we simply do not have the space to accommodate the vast number of re-homing requests we receive.”