Published: Thu, February 09, 2017
Research | By Francis Brooks

Shedd's 'Grandad' - world's oldest aquarium fish - dies

The aquarium said Granddad was euthanised after losing interest in food and showing signs of organ failure.

"For a fish who spent much of his time imitating a fallen log, he sparked curiosity, excitement and wonder among guests of all ages who would hear his story", the aquarium's president Bridget Coughlin tells the wire service.

While the decades rolled by in the outside world, Granddad lived in habitats that aimed to recreate a riverbank ecosystem, dining on fare such as clams, fish and shrimp while aquarium visitors enjoyed catching sight of him. The fish's exact age is impossible to pinpoint, according to the aquarium, but officials there think Granddad was near the century mark, given that Australian lungfish can live to be 100 and he was fully grown when he first came to them.

On the 5 of February, Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, the home of the oldest lungfish in the world, had to bid farewell to Granddad.

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Shedd notes that Lungfish "have remained virtually unchanged for over 100 million years". He has been the star attraction of the Chicago-based aquarium since 1933 when he was brought all the way from the Sydney Aquarium in Australia. It would also seem that Granddad managed to outlive most of his caretakers, and, up to this day, no one knows for certain the lungfish's age.

Ever since the lungfish was placed in its new enclosure, it managed to steal the hearts of its caretakers and tourist who would, more than often, swing by to see Granddad's gimmicks. "What? Granddad?" said a staffer at the consulate. Granddad's mate died in 1980, but he went on to live a long life, even attracting the Australian consul general on the museum's 80th anniversary.

Aquarium officials estimate he was more than 90 years old.

Pathologists have carried out a necropsy and "confirmed the fish's age-related deterioration", according to the aquarium.

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