A dogface pufferfish called ‘Spot’ has been ‘rescued’ from a pair of over-zealous cleaner wrasse at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
The wrasse get their name from their habit of setting up special underwater stations where large fish come to have parasites and dead skin removed.
Normally the cleaner wrasses’ attentions are welcomed by the other fish, however they do occasionally become a little too eager.
Blue Reef’s Rosie Wiggin said: “Most fish seem to positively relish the all-over body scrub from the wrasse but Spot seemed to find all the attention a little overwhelming.
“He was beginning to get tired and frustrated by them and we decided the best thing to do would be to move him in to another display.
“He is now in with another type of pufferfish called Sparky and he seems to be much happier.”
“Some of the aquarists think he just didn’t like the idea of being too clean.”
Despite only measuring around 10cms in length cleaner wrasse are safely able to swarm all over larger fish.
They do such a thorough job that they have even been spotted swimming into the mouths and the gills of their clients.
Usually the larger fish which want to be cleaned will swim up, and pose in a way which indicates it is safe to approach them.
The wrasse then carefully pick off parasites, and other materials which may become attached to the bodies of the fish.