Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Fish owners warned over crisps diet

Gerty was transformed from a natural grey colour to an unusual pink hue when a previous owner fed her an unhealthy diet (Sea Life London Aquarium)

Humans are not the only species to suffer from a diet of junk food.

An aquarium has warned fish owners not to feed crisps to their pets after it had to wean a giant gourami off a diet of prawn cocktail-flavoured Skips.

Gerty, a 16 inch-long, 9lb fish, was transformed from a natural grey colour to an unusual pink hue when a previous owner fed her an unhealthy diet.

Staff at the Sea Life London Aquarium are now feeding her a healthier menu of grapes and bananas.

Curator Jamie Oliver said: " I have never heard of a fish being fed crisps. 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 visitor attraction from private owners, and aq uarium staff have nicknamed one display the tank-busters because it houses a number of large fish that grew too big for their previous homes.

"Many people don't do the right research when they buy fish and end up unable to care for them," Mr Oliver said. "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."

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