Australia’s giant goldfish are causing havoc, but there is a way to prevent further problems. Ever wondered, what happens to tiny little goldfish that people no longer want as pets?
While some people flush them down the toilet, many are tossed in rivers and lakes where they become gigantic and start devouring other fish. This week, a study published by an Australian University revealed that for the past 12 years the presence of abandoned fish or aquarium species has increased in rivers all over the continent.
The study was conducted by experts from the Centre of Fish and Fisheries at Murdoch University and published in the journal, Ecology of Freshwater Fish.
The experts monitored giant fish in the Vasse River located in the southwest of Western Australia for over a year to come to their conclusions.
They have discovered that the goldfish have been able not only to adapt to their new habitat, but they are also thriving and able to travel long distances. Stephen Beatty, who led the research, said:
“Most startling is the fact that goldfish in the wild can grow to massive sizes. One goldfish found by researchers weighed 1.9 kilograms (4.1 pounds), while another was tracked traveling a marathon 230 kilometers (142 miles) in a year.”
“We didn’t think goldfish were that mobile.What this study shows is that they are quite mobile, but I think it’s mostly to do with feeding and foraging.”
According to the findings, the pet owners, who thought the cute little goldfish from their aquarium could not do any harm to a large body of water, were wrong. The species caused numerous problems to the ecosystem and are known to carry disease. Mr. Beatty wrote in the paper:
“Goldfish are omnivores in the wild, and they can have destructive feeding habits. They deteriorate the quality of water by stirring up sediment on the bottom of river beds, dig up vegetation and also consume anything edible that comes before them — including native fish eggs.”
“On top of that, the goldfish compete for space and resources with native fish and have been responsible for introducing disease.”
So, what is the best option for a person, who no longer wants his pet fish? Some pet store will accept to take back the fish otherwise put them in the freezer. He concluded by repeating that it is simply not a good idea to dump goldfish in the river, no matter how cute they look. He said:
“But just letting go of a pet, no matter how innocuous you think it is in your aquarium, or how pretty it is, can potentially cause a lot of damage. Not all fish you let go will form a self-maintaining population, but we’re finding more and more that do.”
The giant goldfish problem in Australia is becoming a serious issue.