Meet Buttkiss, the black pacu who has eaten more than 175,000 fish during his residence in Queens. “We feed him twenty-five goldfish every other day,” says Steve Gruebel, the owner of Cameo Pet Shop in Richmond Hill. You do the math. He’s been in the shop continuously since 1970, becoming a Richmond Hill landmark in that time.
Why hasn’t he been sold already? “We actually sold him in 1968 to a Holocaust survivor named Kurt Emerick. The fish was about two inches long at that time. But he got so big he was knocking things over in Kurt’s fishtank. Kurt didn’t like that. He was a perfectionist. So he brought him back here in a bucket. Later Kurt got hit by a bus on Metropolitan Avenue and died. But the fish is still here. I had just gotten back from Nam and I decided to keep him.”