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Blue Tang Survives Six Hours Out of Water After Thief Smashes Tank

Vandal smashed 180 gallon reef tank, killing most animals in tank.

February 25, 2013

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Naso literatus

Big Blue, a blue tang survived six hours out of water after its 180 gallon aquarium was smashed by a thief. Photo by Animal Instincts Aquarium & Pet Center in Falls River, MA/Facebook

An estimated 18-year-old blue tang (Acanthurus leucosternon) survived a pet store burglary in which the criminal smashed several fish tanks in addition to stealing various items of value. Animal Instincts Aquarium & Pet Center in Falls River, MA was broken into last week, and in addition to stealing a computer, some reptile supplies, and the cash register, the burglar, who spent an estimated 90 minutes in the store, destroyed the 180 gallon tank in which Big Blue was housed, as well as a smaller 15 gallon tank. Store owner Bob Schenck told the Herald News that the fish spent nearly six hours out of water. Big Blue was found on top of the rocks in what was left of the tank.

Click here to read a species profile of the blue tang.

"She's hanging on by a thread. She might make it. It's gonna take at least 7 to 10 days to see what the repercussions are, if she survives," Schenck told the paper. "This is someone with no compassion, who’s willing to kill animals." Bib Blue is currently housed in the store's live rock tank is apparently doing better, according to the store's Facebook page.

Schenk, who has owned the store for 23 years, sold the blue tang to a customer when it was very small, but when the tang grew, the customer returned it to Schenk. That was 14 years ago. It has been in the store ever since. The entire break in was captured by the store's security cameras but because the store was dark, the thief's face was obscured. Schenck is offering a $500 reward to anyone who can identify the suspect. “I know it’s a bad economy and guys are out there to steal anything to get their fix or anything, but this guy definitely needs to get caught and pay for what he did,” Schenck told the paper.

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