Hey kids and parents, when you decide that you no longer want your goldfish as a pet, do the sensible thing and find another suburban fish tank home for it. Or flush it down the toilet. What you shouldn’t do is just go and dump it in the local lake and walk away. Because there’s some evidence that this might not be the best idea in the world. Recently, folks got some stark evidence of what happens when goldfish are set loose to roam local waters. In short, they can grow to massive sizes.
In a lake in Burnsville, Minnesota local residents started documenting what they caught in their local waters that looked a bit different than the finds on normal fishing trips. Massive goldfish were being reeled in from Keller Lake by residents with picture proof to document the problem. In all, over a two-day span, 28 goldfish were caught ranging in sizes from 10 to 15 inches. This stands in stark contrast to what we think of from the species which is about four inches in size when you win them from a local carnival.
The goldfish problem stems from residents deciding to release their pets into “the wild” when they are no longer willing to keep them at home. Folks have gone to the local waters to put the goldfish in freshwater lakers. But the issue there is they are something of an invasive species, feeding on smaller plants at the bottom of the lake before plants can take root. This causes issues because it disrupts the lake’s growth cycle and in turn harms the fish already and other life living in the lake.
And because the goldfish have a food source already in place without much in the way of predatory threats they can survive for quite a bit of time. According to experts, to grow to the sizes shown, the goldfish would have had to have been alive for quite a while. Some that were spotted were even the size of a football. This isn’t exactly what you picture when you take the local jaunt down to the pet store to pick up an easy pet for your kid. These things have become something much different indeed taking over waters and becoming increasingly difficult to eradicate.
And local Minnesota residents might also want to think twice before releasing an unwanted goldfish into the nearby lake. Besides just screwing up the environment by uprooting sediment and causing issues for water quality as well as other fish, it’s illegal in the state to release them. Because goldfish are deemed an invasive species, one can face a fine for putting them in public waters.
It’s not just Keller Laker that has the issue. In October 2020, over 50,000 (you read that number correctly) goldfish were taken out of waters in Carver County. This was part of a massive operation to stop the production of the goldfish who were causing a significant environmental impact. Again, think twice before buying a goldfish and think three times before you dump it in the local lake.