At the Texas State Aquarium located in Corpus Christi, a significant amount of fish, which included a sand tiger shark, nurse sharks, and ornamental fish were accidentally killed. According to reports, workers used a treatment in an effort to kill parasites but instead, fish died.
The fish involved were part of the Islands of Steel exhibit, which began to die in roughly two hours after the treatment was introduced. Multiple aquariums use this same parasite treatment throughout the country but in Texas, it was new. Prior to using the treatment in larger tanks, the medicine had been tested in small tanks without fish being affected.
Of all indoor exhibits, Islands of Steel is one of the largest and most impressive. The aquarium is designed to hold 125,000 gallons of water, which attracts visitors from all over. In addition to the sharks, stingray and angel fish were also affected.
In addition to fish in the Islands of Steel exhibit being killed, Lionfish and Flower Gardens’ tanks were also impacted. In a statement from Richard E. Glover, Jr., chief marketing officer for the Texas State Aquarium, the event is devastating not only for visitors but also staff members who take great pride in what they do.
Apparently, there were internal parasites in the involved tanks, which is why medicinal treatment was needed. Currently, experts are turning their attention to trying to figure out exactly what happened but also find ways to prevent any type of horrific event in the future.
Now that the fish have died, officials with the aquarium will work to stabilize the water in the exhibits that were affected. To assist in the process, several samples of water from the involved tanks have been sent to top-notch laboratories in anticipating of getting some kind of understanding of why the fish reacted in an adverse manner.
In what was to be a way of saving fish from an internal parasite became the very thing that caused their death. The parasite that was being treated is a flatworm that has potential for being deadly. Prior to the treatment that killed the fish, other treatments were tried but unsuccessful.
In all, approximately 100 creatures were killed. Staff members of the aquarium worked all night removing the dead fish, literally taking them out one-by-one. Of all the fish in the three tanks, only two lived.
As of this morning, the Lionfish and Flower Gardens’ tanks, each designed to hold 40,000 gallons, were empty. Glover added that the fish are more than just animals, they are part of the aquariums family and this is not something that staff members will easily get over.