Bolton Library and Museum Services

Aquarium FAQ

Why are the Bolton Aquarium displays all freshwater fish?

We like to be different! Most aquaria have marine fish, but we would like to show some of the many beautiful and interesting fish to be found in the rivers, streams and lakes of the world.

Why are some tank displays more interesting than others?

We want the fish to feel at home and be happy. The tanks are made to be as much like the fishes natural homes as possible. Some fish like to hide amongst rocks, whilst some like plenty of plants and others prefer clear water.

Where do you get the fish for the aquarium?

Some of our fish are bought from reputable dealers known to aquarium staff. We regularly exchange fish with zoos and other public aquaria for breeding or display purposes. Some private aquarists who understand our work also give us fish that they have bred. A very small number of fish are given to us by members of the public who have bought fish and then found they could not look after them properly. However, we are only very rarely able to rehouse fish in this way.

Big Fish Project

Aquarists should always take care to fully research the needs of any fish they hope to care for as some do grow huge and are not suitable for the home aquarium. Zoos and Public Aquaria, including ourselves here at Bolton, have been campaigning to raise public awareness about this problem.

Please see the following web pages for more information about the Big Fish Project:

What do you feed the piranhas?

We feed them on a wide range of food. They get pieces of fish, prawns, cockles, mussels and flaked fish food. Despite what many people think, piranhas do not need fresh meat, so we do not feed it to them. Too much meat is in fact bad for them. To help their digestion and provide extra vitamins, they are also given small amounts of fruit.