Big Fish soon will retire from the aquarium at the Selma-Dallas County Library. -- Tim Reeves photo

Lovable Big Fish to retire

Published 1:26am Friday, December 3, 2010

Big Fish is finishing a stellar career as an attraction at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library.

“He’s approaching that age that we all get to when it’s time to do a little resting,” library Director Becky Nichols said. “So, we are going to send Big Fish off to a retirement aquarium.”

BankTrust will provide the retirement tank.

BankTrust Area President John Chislom said the institution is proud to have a part in providing a retirement opportunity for Big Fish.

The bank will also provide for a new baby Big Fish to arrive shortly after the senior fish retires.

Kirk Johnson, a vice president at the bank, said his children love the fish-in-residence at the library.

“I’ll be happy to tell them we have a part in bringing the new baby Big Fish to the library,” Johnson said.

Big Fish, a Doctorfish, has swum in an aquarium in the library for 16 years.

Former Selma City Councilwoman Jean Martin donated money to purchase the fish. Then, when the tank became too small for Big Fish several years later Martin and former Councilwoman Nancy Sewell provided the larger tank, Big Fish’s current home.

“I was a longtime volunteer at the library,” she said. “It brightened up that whole section of the library. It brightened up a lot of people. People talked about it and loved it.”

At the time Big Fish came to live at the library, few areas in the state had large tanks and such attractions, Martin said.

“The children — they loved it,” Martin said. “They got to know him as a friend.”

Nichols said the decision is a sad one. After all, Big Fish is an icon at the library.

Big Fish will remain in the library until the new home is ready, meaning folks who want to visit to wish Big Fish well may do so.

Nichols said the library would take a task at a time. The first order of business is to take care of the fish.

“We want to care for our old fish first, as we so beautifully care for our old people in our community,” Nichols said.

Once that’s accomplished, the search will begin for a new fish and the process will continue. “That last part, probably first of the year, I think,” she said.

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