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An Australian man who installed a shark tank in his living room is receiving criticism for animal cruelty, but he thinks 'the haters are simply jealous'

thegyp_aus shark tank tiktok
The 5,300-gallon tank houses 11 sharks.@thegyp_aus/TikTok
  • An Australian TikToker installed a shark tank in his living room.

  • The anonymous man posts live-feeding videos on TikTok as @thegyp_aus.

  • An expert from the Animal Welfare Institute suggests that people stop paying attention if they want it to stop.

Australian TikToker @thegyp_aus has been receiving criticism for installing a shark tank in his living room.

The videos show him live-feeding the sharks, cleaning the tank, and adding new marine animals.

@thegyp_aus Port jackson shark vs White tip reef shark and Grouper… @thegyp_aus (INSTA) and @thegyp (SNAPCHAT) #portjacksonshark #grouper #sharktank #homeaquarium #whitetipshark ♬ original sound - TheGyp_Aus

His most viral video, which has close to 40 million views as of May 25, shows him adding a 14-inch Port Jackson shark to the tank and documents it being almost eaten by a 4-foot-long Bumblebee grouper. In addition to a door being slammed for added sound effects, Fred, the grouper, is heard being scolded before the shark is able to get away.

His videos have garnered mixed reviews, with some people fascinated by the novelty, and others calling him out for animal cruelty.

"Your aquarium is amazing! I could stare at this all day," read a comment on one of his TikTok videos. "This is way to small for these sharks. please get a way bigger one," read another on the same video.

The 5,200-gallon tank currently houses 11 sharks — one black-tip reef shark, two 4foot-long white-tip reef sharks, two Port Jackson sharks, three epaulette sharks, two banjo sharks, and one bamboo shark, per Yahoo News Australia, citing @thegyp_aus.

The tank is also home to other marine life, including moray eels and rays, per Yahoo.

The whole set-up, including the sharks, cost him about $327,000, per Yahoo citing the man.

The TikToker man told Insider that "the haters are simply jealous."

"People are quick to criticize. Yet these people are hypocrites who go to zoos and pay money to see animals in cages,"  @thegyp_aus, who did not want to share his real name, told Insider.

He added that he considers the sharks his babies, and he treats them "as any dog lover" treats their dogs. "In fact, I believe I do it better," @thegyp_aus said.

He shared that he was told the dimensions of his current tank made it the "perfect size for reef sharks," and ensures the marine animals have perfect living conditions with regular saltwater changes.

"Jealousy is a curse. Yet it brings me a lot of views as the same people who provide negative comments, share the videos and follow my socials so secretly, they can't wait to see my next video or my latest live video," he told Insider.

Animal welfare advocates are concerned.

"This is a vanity project, having nothing to do with the fish and sharks themselves," marine mammal scientist Naomi Rose told Insider.

Rose works for an American non-profit organization, the Animal Welfare Institute, and is familiar with public aquariums.

"That's too many fish and sharks in a space that size. Just watching them bank and turn as they try to swim around clearly demonstrates how they are trying to cope with a space that isn't big enough for them and their swimming habits," Rose said.

Rose also added that while she refrains from using the word "cruel" as it implies intent, the way @thegyp_aus appears to use his marine animals for shock value and views suggests intent and thus meets her definition of cruelty.

As fish have almost no protections in any jurisdiction, @thegyp_aus's shark tank would most likely be legal in the US, said Rose.

The marine biologist suggests people stop paying attention to him if they really want him to stop.

"This is not a person who wants to do anything in a vacuum. They want attention. People shouldn't give it to them, because when they do, the fish suffer," said Rose.

Read the original article on Insider