Preuss Pets employee Greg Carlen had to say goodbye Monday to Buzz, his African, fresh-water dwelling, puffy companion.
During the past year, Buzz — an Mbu puffer fish — greeted customers from an aquarium at the entrance of the store in Lansing’s Old Town. Now Buzz, who is more than two feet long, is getting used to his new home at the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Ky.
Buzz came to the pet store after outgrowing his original home aquarium. Preuss’ owner, Rick Preuss, said customers and employees alike loved the fish. “We got really attached to the little guy,” he said.
Carlen was the most attached to the fish, “He was my puppy.” Buzz even acted like a puppy. Carlen was able to find the spot where the fish liked to be pet — his “tickle spot.”
Preuss said while moving Buzz for transit, the fish appeared stressed but Carlen was able to calm it down by petting the special spot.
Preuss and Carlen both attribute Buzz’s likeability to his personality. “ (Puffer fish) have a personality like you wouldn’t believe. They look like little humans swimming around with fins,” Preuss said.
Preuss said that Mbu puffer fish are rare: They are only found in the Lake Tanganyika in East Africa and its surrounding tributaries. Buzz is close to full maturation, which Preuss estimated could reach 30 inches, and had a tail span between eight and ten inches long.
Buzz is going to be a part of an exhibit at the Newport Aquarium that features other fish from the Lake Tanganyika region. The move also comes with a substantial upgrade in living space — Buzz is moving from a 150-gallon aquarium to a 1700-gallon aquarium at the exhibit.
The aquarium had wanted an Mbu puffer for the exhibit, but was having trouble finding one. That changed after a few Preuss Pets employees visited the aquarium and told workers about Buzz.
Carlen and Buzz won’t be separated for long. Carlen says he already has plans to go visit Buzz this April.