RSPCA officers rushed to the rescue when a fish pedicure salon went under.
The animal welfare officers were called in after owners of The Bridges shopping centre, in Sunderland, noticed the fish had been left to fend for themselves after the closure of Babylon Spa at the centre.
The tiny garra rufa fish were rescued by officers, although some visitors to the centre say not all the fish were saved in time.
Andy Bradley, centre director at The Bridges, said: “Naturally we were concerned about the welfare of the fish so we immediately called in the RSPCA to ensure their safe removal and re-homing.
“It is hugely disappointing when a retailer closes but we’re doing all we can to ensure a new retailer opens within the centre very shortly.”
One concerned shopper believed he had spotted some dead fish in tanks inside the salon.
He said: “I was just passing the shop and had a look through the window. I know there has been a lot of controversy about these kind of places.
“There was a note outside saying it had closed down.
“It was pretty much deserted, but you could still see inside. There were all these fish just floating in the tanks.”
Mr Bradley reassured shoppers who snapped up vouchers for the spa, where reality TV stars Charlotte and Sophie from Geordie Shore were pictured enjoying a treatment.
“Shoppers who have purchased Babylon Spa vouchers should visit customer services within The Bridges who will put them in contact with the retailer,” he said.