protopterus annectens annectens 1 Happy Birthday Granddad!
Lungfish (not the fish in the story) Copyright

Well, it is not really his birthday since no one knows exactly when he was born, but as of 2008, Granddad has lived at Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium for exactly 75 years. Granddad is an Australian lungfish and the longest-living fish in any aquarium in the world, according to the Daily Herald. Travelling by steamship and train, he arrived to Chicago from Sidney in 1933 to attend the Chicago World’s Fair. At that time, he was already fully mature and scientists estimated that he was at least 5 years old. Nobody knows how old an Australian lungfish can become, especially not when well cared for in captivity. Today, Granddad is 4 feet (over 120 cm) long and weighs 25 pounds (over 11 kg). He lives in a spacious 6000 gallon (22700 L) aquarium together with four other members of his own species, some smaller fish and a few turtles.

According to George Parsons, director of fishes at the Shedd Aquarium, Granddad’s favourite food is actually something he would hardly encounter in his native environment in Australia – raw sweet potatoes! Granddad is also served romaine lettuce heads and a variety of different seafood and fish to stay healthy and happy.

You can read more about Granddad in the Daily Herald:

Just like all the other lungfishes, Granddad is equipped with both gills and a primitive type of lungs. This means that he can breathe oxygen directly from the air above the surface. This adaptation makes it possible for lungfish to survive in oxygen depleted waters. You can read more about lungfish here: