Texas Aquarium Accidentally Kills Scores of Fish
They think a chemical added to water to kill parasite may be behind deaths
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2015 12:21 PM CDT
The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi is shown.   (AP Photo/Corpus Christi Caller-Times,)

(Newser) – "A truly sad fluke." That's how spokesman Richard E. Glover Jr. describes this week's events at the Texas State Aquarium, where nearly all the fish held in its two largest indoor tanks died following an effort to rid their waters of a "particularly difficult" parasite. The Los Angeles Times reports the Corpus Christi aquarium was battling a parasite that other treatments hadn't been able to vanquish; after testing an unnamed chemical on a smaller pool of water, it was added to four tanks. The aquarium was trying to kill off the trematoda parasite, a class that "includes two groups of parasitic flatworms, known as flukes. They are internal parasites," says Glover. Instead, as many as 100 fish died, with Kiii News reporting that all but two of the animals that are part of the 125,000-gallon Islands of Steel exhibit were killed.

That exhibit held fish commonly found around an oil platform off Texas: nurse sharks, green moray eels, spadefish, amberjack, tarpon, grouper, and even a sand tiger shark, per the aquarium's website. A statement posted on Facebook by the aquarium states that the chemical "is commonly used by many other aquariums in treating similar issues," without this result. "Staff members worked diligently throughout the night to save as much of the collection as possible, but considerable losses were sustained." The San Diego Union-Tribune describes the post as since transforming into an "aquatic memorial" where visitors are recognizing lost favorites—a number of people have referenced a beloved and "crazy" grouper.