Marine experts at a Cheshire Oaks attraction are urging caution to would-be pet fish owners ahead of the release of the new Disney/Pixar film Finding Dory later this month (July).
The Dory character is based on a real species of marine fish known as a regal tang.
Aquarists at the Blue Planet Aquarium are concerned the popularity of the new film could lead to an increase in the number of inexperienced fish keepers trying to get hold of the species.
Curator David Wolfenden says people need to think ‘very carefully’ before deciding to set up any type of marine display at home.
“Marine aquariums can be very expensive to run and need a lot of research before starting out,” said David.
“We would urge people to never buy a regal tang, or any other fish, on a whim.
“Regal tangs need large aquariums, an adult can grow up to 30cms long, needs a tank of at least 500 litres and may live for up to 20 years!
“Regal tangs are also very delicate and prone to parasitic diseases. They are definitely not fish for beginners.”
He continued: “If you’re thinking of getting an aquarium, research the subject carefully and seek advice from a good retailer.
“Try to buy livestock that is either captive bred or that is Marine Aquarium Council certified as this ensures they have been collected in a sustainable manner.”
Found in the Indo Pacific regal tangs are also known as ‘palette surgeonfish’ as their black markings look like an artist’s palette. The fish are an intense blue colour, but this changes at night when they become much paler.
They get their name ‘tang’ from the scalpel-like spines on the base of the tail which are used defensively.
These are extremely sharp and are deployed like a flick knife when needed. They also give the tangs their other name of surgeonfish.
The fish feed on algae as well as plankton and assist in keeping the reef from getting overgrown with algae. They are found in large shoals as juveniles often in the branches of corals. As they grow they become more solitary and more aggressive.
‘The Blue Tang Story can be seen from July 25–September 4 at the Longlooms Road aquarium. The attraction opens daily from 10am.