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The World’s Oldest Captive Fish Will Always Be Remembered


The World’s Oldest Captive Fish Will Always Be Remembered

Photo by: Reef Builders

The lungfishes are some special fishes who have gills and one primitive lung and this particularity helps them to breath both underwater but also aerial. This species exists for hundreds of millions of years but nowadays we can find them only in South America, Africa and Australia.


Granddad, because he is the one we are talking about, was the oldest fish in the world raised in captivity. He died on Sunday in Chicago Shedd aquarium, being euthanized because of his very degraded health state. The experts say he was 95 years old but Queensland researchers hope that genetic tests will reveal his real age.  He arrived in Shedd aquarium in 1933, being a grown adult, after an exchange with Sidney Zoo, together with another 600 animals. He travelled for a 9,000-mile journey to Chicago Granddad lived near his female partner who died in 1980. They bred once but the eggs didn`t survive in the aquarium because of a fungal growth in there.

Over 104 million visitors came to see Granddad during his residence in the aquarium. In his last days, he lost the interest for food, didn’t want to do anything and his internal organs seemed to surrender.

The lungfishes can live 100 years, being a protected species in Australia and unfortunately Granddad approached this age. He was four feet long and weighed 25 pounds. Michelle Sattler was his caretaker for 30 years and she speaks very kindly about him. Granddad had a beautiful life and he was very interactive with the aquarium`s personal. He was seen of guests for over eight decades, participating in his first years of life to “A Century of Progress International Exhibition”. Spending so much time on the earth, he became one of the oldest living vertebrate species in the world. The specialists made a habitat which recreated a Queensland riverbank ecosystem. He lived there since 1994.

Most of the time the lungfish spent his time on the bottom of the water but he had times when was  swimming up to the top, inhaling air and taking some strange snorts that even scared the aquarium caretakers.


Granddad followed an alimentary diet composed by fish, shrimp, clam and a mix of vegetables and fruits.  He became very animated on “Earthworm Wednesdays” when this food was thrown in his habitat. He also loved leafy greens.

The decision to euthanize the fish was a difficult one to take for the care team but they had no way out from such a situation. He will remain in the memory of many people, especially in the one of a couple who married each other in the aquarium, right in the front of his tank, this thing making Granddad their witness. Everybody will always remember Granddad as a playful, happy and kind fish. This animal from mid 90’s have been loved by everybody and it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t exist anymore, the memories will always make people look back and remember him over and over again.



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