A one metre long Pacu, (Colossoma macropomum) has been saved from an early death thanks to the intervention of Bristol’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
‘Percy’ the Pacu, a similar fish to the one pictured above, has spent the last 23 years at The Palms Tropical Oasis at Stapeley Water Gardens near Nantwich, Cheshire. As part of the now closed attraction’s ‘Big Fish Campaign’, he was used to help educate visitors to the potential pitfalls of ‘tankbuster’ species sold in the hobby which can soon outgrow most domestic aquaria.
With closure imminent and seemingly no one prepared to take on the 30kg fish, it seemed a bath of MS-222, (a fish anaesthetic and sedative) would be his final destination, but a last ditch Europe-wide plea from the curator of the collection came to the attention of Blue Reef.
Percy has now taken his place in their Amazon themed display where he is housed with another smaller specimen of a Pacu along with other South American species.
The Pacu, also known as ‘Tambaqui’ by Brazilian Indians is a characin, related to tetras and fish such as the piranha – with which it is sometimes confused, especially by UK newspapers! But is much larger and predominantly vegetarian, eating mainly fallen fruit and nuts which it crushes with its large, distinctive horse-like teeth. It is a prized food species within its native range where it is also farmed.