Tell your neighbor not to flush that darn goldfish. As aquarists we need to do our job to help educate people about our hobby and as this report from Alberta, Canada shows, flushing a goldfish down the toilet has dire consequences.
Officials in western Canada are urging people not to flush their pet goldfish down the toilet because they’re surviving and multiplying at an alarming rate. Environmental officers in the province of Alberta say they’ve found goldfish the size of dinner plates in the region’s storm ponds. In fact, 40 of the fish were pulled from a single pond in the north of the province earlier this year, the CBC News website reports.
“That’s really scary because it means they’re reproducing in the wild, they are getting quite large and they are surviving the winters that far north,” says Kate Wilson from Alberta’s environment department. Goldfish are considered an invasive species in Canada, and the government is worried they could upset fragile local ecosystems.
From the invasive lionfish in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, to large plecostomus found in lakes in Texas and elsewhere are other reminders of what can go wrong once we release them in the wild. We need to ensure we share this basic guidance with family and friends. If you can’t rehome the fish, its better to quickly euthanize it (its tough but cutting the head off with a sharp knife works) or putting it in a cup of water and sticking it in the freezer are two methods used for years in the hobby. Then they can be disposed of in the garbage.
Officials are warning people not to flush the fish, even if they are dead.
“Even if the fish are dead, they could have diseases or parasites that could be introduced, especially if the water treatment system is not top notch,” Wilson tells Fort McMurray Today. The campaign will also target pet stores and markets, as well as groups that engage in “mercy releases”, where captive animals are set free in the belief it will create spiritual “good karma”, CBC News says.