Third Ward Park

Main Ave, Passaic, New Jersey 07055 USA

“A testicle-eating fish was found here!”

Located north of Newark on the Passaic River, it was first settled in 1678 by Dutch traders, as Acquackanonk Township. The city and river draw their name from the Lenape word "pahsayèk" which has been variously attributed to mean "valley" or "place where the land splits." This was also the unfortunate location where a 10-inch Pacu fish (AKA a testicle-eating fish) was caught in September 2013. "Tom Boylan knows fishing. Last year, the 77-year-old retired bus driver caught 892 carp at Passaic’s Third Ward Veterans Memorial Park in almost daily trips to the lake. Tom Boylan of Passaic with the pacu he caught in Third Ward Park. The fish, native to the Amazon, is considered an invasive species. But nothing could have prepared him for the strange fish he hooked on Saturday. The 10-inch creature looked like a piranha, but it didn’t have its sharp teeth. Instead, it had rounded teeth, and an orange belly and fins that were unlike anything Boylan had ever seen. “I would say ‘shocked’ is a good way to describe how I felt,” he said on Monday. After he stashed the strange catch in the freezer at his Passaic apartment on Saturday, Absolutely Fish — an aquarium supply store in Clifton — solved the mystery the next day. It was ID’d as a pacu, a gentler cousin of the piranha that, like the piranha, is native to the Amazon region of South America and had no business being in Third Ward Park. “Most likely, someone had it in their fish tank and it grew too big, so they dumped it,” said Pat Egan, manager at Absolutely Fish. “We call them ‘tank busters.’ We don’t even sell them because they grow so big.” Although legal to own, pacus tend to grow up to 4 feet long, which is way too large for a fish tank, Egan said.

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Third Ward Park

Main Ave
Passaic, New Jersey
07055 USA

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