This goldfish wouldn’t fit in your average fish bowl.
A 1.5 foot long, 4.2 pound goldfish was found in the waters of Lake Tahoe by researchers. According to environmental scientist Sudeep Chandra of the University of Nevada, Reno, the fish was found in a school of about 15 other goldfish. The mega-goldfish, however, are not naturally found in the lake, but considered an invasive (nonnative) species that will hurt the other native species in the same ecosystem.
The researchers are led to believe that the fish were dumped there by aquarium owners, who likely were unaware of the harmful toll nonnative species can have on the local ecosystem.
"The invasion is resulting in the consumption of native species," Chandra said to LiveScience. In addition to threatening the local species, the fish are also excreting nutrients that may pollute Tahoe’s clear waters.
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Aquarium dumping is an increasing problem for native species, according to Sue Williams, an ecology professor at UC Davis and lead author of a report on California’s aquarium trade.
"Globally, the aquarium trade has contributed a third of the world's worst aquatic and invasive species," Williams said.
Scientists have suggested that killing unwanted fish is better than dumping it in a local body of water because that one fish may have the potential to decimate an entire species of native fish, or wreak havoc on the native ecosystem, such as stirring up the natural sediment, which can hurt all sorts of other species of underwater life.