Aquatic conservation

Learn about some of our extinct fish, our current conservation projects and feeding, breeding and fish care at the aquarium

We keep two species of fish which are now extinct. These are the Paretroplus menarambo or Pinstripe Damba and the Paretroplus damii, both originating in Madagascar.

As rainforests in Madagascar have been cut down over the years, the rains have washed away the natural salts and chemicals from the forest into the rivers, killing all the living creatures that dwell there.

If the situation changes in Madagascar, here at Bolton Aquarium we may have the opportunity to reintroduce these fish into the wild.


The large fish are fed twice a week, and the smaller fish twice a day. They are fed with a mixture of high and low protein food including fruit, vegetable matter, aquatic animal protein, bloodworms, earthworms, and marine organisms.

We take extra care not to overfeed the fish as they store fat in their internal organs as opposed to inside their skin; which can cause problems.

The water is usually kept fresh by means of a filtering system which is used to pump out the waste, turning the ammonia into nitrates that then go back into the water.

To keep the nitrates at a suitable level the Aquarium team will need to change one third of the water in every tank once a week; around 2000 out of 6000 gallons of water.

If a fish appears to be ill or injured, the Aquarium team will take it off display and will put it in quarantine to treat it. Usually fish are treated for viral infections, abrasions, and mating injuries.

Fish breeding is commonly known as ‘Husbandry’. Like all animals, fish breed at certain times of the year and the Aquarium team would carry out extensive research into breeding seasons, depending on the species and where they come from.

The fish will need to have a plentiful supply of food and a good water chemistry leading up to the breeding season, which is why regular water changes, combined with regular feeding, is vitally important.