Giant goldfish are being found in American waterways these days and they could potentially destroy entire aquatic ecosystems in places such as Lake Tahoe and the Great Lakes. Fortunately, the fancier fish tend to swim more slowly and as a result, the natural predators of those regions are able to keep those populations down, but the comet goldfish, as the name suggests, are fast swimmers and are less likely to become lunch. As a result, the comet populations could potentially crowd out the native fish populations and dramatically upset the ecosystem’s natural balance.
Goldfish are popular as pets but quite often, people buy them without knowing how to care for them properly. When that occurs, one result can be dead, dying and sickly fish, but another possible result is perfectly healthy and thriving fish and an overwhelmed fish owner. Overwhelmed owners tend to panic first and ask questions later, so sometimes they look for easy ways to unload the problem, which in this case is the goldfish itself. Sometimes the solution they find for unloading the problem is to dump the fish somewhere and walk away, hoping to forget all about it.
The best place to keep a goldfish is in a backyard pond, as they are cold water fish and they actually thrive best in a more natural environment. They eat algae readily, nibble on live plants and excrete a lot–and therein lies the problem for most inexperienced fish enthusiasts, for that excrement tends to be rich in the nutrients that create algal blooms. Many times the goldfish tank becomes so dirty that the owner simply decides to get rid of the fish without actually killing them and do so by dumping them into the nearest natural body of water, like a pond, river or a lake.
Trouble is, goldfish just love these natural environments. They usually grow quite big when they have large amounts of water to live in. Goldfish have been known to grow well over a foot long — more or less — depending on the type. The fancier groups tend to be smaller but can still reach around 8 to 12 inches in length and most forms of goldfish can live for decades if conditions are right and predators with the capacity to catch the faster breeds, are few.
Goldfish in the wild, if they find each other, will readily spawn each spring when the waters warm up. They can create hundreds of rapidly growing fry during each spawn and are extremely messy fish, producing large amounts of excrement which creates algae blooms where none previously existed. This is a big problem in fresh-water lakes where the water is clean and clear and people would like to keep it that way. The more goldfish present in a body of water, the more likely it is that the biological system of that water will be overwhelmed by waste products, algae and a drastic reduction in natural plant life.
I have considerable experience with raising goldfish, and I know for a fact that they do thrive in natural conditions, are cold water fish and eat a lot of plant life. While they do eat algae and can keep algal blooms down, they also create the pollution that produces the algae in the first place, so it’s a vicious cycle. Worse yet is when the fish that is dumped into the natural environment is not a goldfish at all but actually a koi. Koi are very large fish that can potentially grow to a length of 3 feet or more and eat a lot of plant life. They can create huge amounts of waste product and cause algae blooms to spread for acres.
Fish hobbyists who want to take on goldfish had better do their research before purchasing their new pet and learn how to properly care for them. If they want to dump goldfish into a natural environment, the best way to do this is to dig their own pond, supply it with air and growing plants and basically just let it be. The goldfish will thrive, grow very large and provide the owner with years of enjoyment, but will not destroy already established aquatic ecosystems. Know your pet fish and its basic needs before purchasing and all will be well.
To learn more about taking care of goldfish, please visit this site.
To read more about goldfish found in Lake Tahoe, please visit this site .