Furniture store's pet fish moving to The Deep after out-growing tank
A PET fish with a personality as big as his gigantic fins is making waves – after he grew too big for his tank and his unsuspecting owners.
Paco, a black pacu – a vegetarian cousin of the piranha – has been taken in by The Deep, in Hull, because he has grown so big he can no longer turn around in his tank at Grimsby Pine Centre, off Convamore Road.
He has already grown to be half-a-metre long but before long, the four-year-old fish will grow to a mammoth 3ft – not ideal when the tank he lives in is a mere 5ft long.
Owner Glen Fox, 26, said: "It is sad to see him go but we are pleased because he will be so much happier at The Deep. It is really good of them to take him in."
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Glen, his twin brother Barry, and grandfather Alan Gillbanks bought Paco from a local pet shop two years ago.
Then just a few centimetres long, Glen saw Paco as the perfect addition to the store's growing exotic aquarium.
Pet shop owners explained that Paco would grow bigger, but not how quickly and to what extent his growth spurt would be.
Glen spent last year travelling New Zealand but when he returned last week and saw Paco's gargantuous frame, he knew he had to do something to help his beloved fish – who is known as the company mascot to the delight of customers.
He contacted The Deep which backs the national Big Fish Campaign, and the donation-lead charity organised a van to pick him up and take him to their 200,000 litre Amazon flooded forest-themed aquarium – with lots of other black pacus and other exotic fish for Paco to play with.
And while Glen and Alan know they have done the right thing, it is not without sadness that they wave farewell to their friendly fish.
Alan said: "We are devastated to see him go. People love talking to him, but we know it is the right thing to do.
"We are happy he is going to a new home where we know he will be looked after and everyone will love him.
"I feel very sentimental about Paco. He is such a character and when I realised he was getting too big I was worried about what we were going to do with him.
"A pet shop told us to put him down and have him for our dinner but how can you do that to a fish like Paco? I didn't sleep very well that night.
"We are so grateful The Deep can help us."
Glen said: "He is like the business mascot and a great talking point for everyone who comes here. All the customers love him."
Paco was forklifted into the back of The Deep's van for the 45 minute journey over the water.
It is a scenario Andrew McLeod, assistant curator at The Deep, is seeing more often.
He said: "We are receiving about five calls a month asking for us to rehome fish which have become too big for their tanks. It is a real shame.
"We try to do our best for animals and if we can take them on we will and if we can't we will find someone who will help."