Category Archives: Pets

Releasing Goldfish Into Open Waters Can Lead To Big Environmental Problems

A few minutes ago, I finished reading an interesting online article that concerns the problems that arise when people release their pet goldfish into lakes and rivers.

Apparently, those cute little goldfish can really reproduce, leading to large populations of goldfish swimming around in bodies of water that never housed such creatures before.

According to this article, the relocated goldfish not only reproduce prodigiously, but they can also grow to be quite large in size.

For many years, goldfish owners everywhere have been releasing their goldfish into lakes, ponds and other bodies of water when they cannot care for them any longer. Although the intentions are usually good, the seemingly innocent act of releasing goldfish into open waters can really cause a lot of damage to the world’s ecosystems. Since the goldfish are not native to their current homes, they are upsetting the balance of ecosystems by eating foods that the native birds, fish and amphibians should naturally be eating.

The issues with goldfish are taking place both in the United States and Australia. In Lake Tahoe, it is not uncommon for U.S. biologists to find gigantic goldfish that are four to eight inches in length.

After reading this article, I feel like I’ve learned something about the issue of releasing goldfish into open waters. I can’t help but wonder, however, if some movie producer in Hollywood will see the goldfish issue as a great topic for a horror film.

Dumping Goldfish Into a Lake is Not Good For Anyone

Most people have heard tales of albino alligators living in the sewers of New York. The story goes that a long time ago, alligators were popular pets, or possibly a few people bought tiny gators after being told they were small lizards. Surprised by the size, the New Yorkers either flushed them down the drain or dumped them in the sewers. While almost certainly and urban legend, the moral of the story is the same. Invasive species that start out as pets can cause a great deal of damage.

A recent article in the Washington Post highlights just how big of a problem this has become. For example Australia has over 20 million feral cats, which are not native to Australia and were brought over by European settlers. They have no natural predators and are a threat to many of the native species, including 124 threatened and endangered species.

Fish are another invasive species that has been known to cause huge problems. Asian Carp, originally brought in to help control algae in fish farms are making their way into the Great Lakes. Not only do the destroy the native vegetation and animal life, but have been known to jump up and knock boaters out of the water.

And of of course there are the aforementioned Goldfish. With few natural predators, they can grow as large as four lbs when released in the wild, taking over and disturbing the populations of native species.

Because of the negative effect that domesticated animals can have on the ecosystem, its important to remember not to release a domesticated plant or animal into the wild. Instead, be mindful when choosing pets and ensure that you can care for them in the long term.