Great Yarmouth centre’s arrivals enjoy veggie Christmas

Great Yarmouth Sea Life centre has welcomed some unlikely new fish this Christmas - vegetarian piranhas.

And to ensure the new residents are made welcome in true festive spirit, their diet over the holiday period will consist of a Christmassy mix of Brazil nuts and brussel sprouts.

The centre team has created an under water 'fish-mas' tree made entirely of the festive greens.

Centre aquarist Darren Gook explained that the 10 fish, each measuring between 70 and 90cm, would be truly ferocious had they evolved with the razor sharp fangs of their meat eating cousins.

Instead, pacu, as the breed is also known, bear teeth more similar in shape to a human's than their carnivorous cousins' flesh eating gnashers.

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Darren said: 'We are very excited to welcome the veggie piranhas. They are impressive in terms of their size, but also fascinating to learn about – children always look amazed that there could possibly be such a thing as a vegetarian piranha.'

Found in South American rivers, pacu usually eat weeds and algae, but also enjoy nuts and seeds that fall from trees into rivers.

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Darren said: 'It's a lucky time of year for the veggie piranhas to arrive as people have plenty of spare vitamin rich brussel sprouts to bring in and feed them, boosting their overall health. Sprouts also give the Pacus something to chew over and keep their teeth from over-growing.

'They are also extremely partial to Brazil nuts so we'll be throwing those in as a treat as well.'

The vegetarian piranhas are on display in one of the centre's biggest tanks – the 22,000 litre window tank next to the penguins.

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