It might seem like a noble act to release unwanted pet goldfish into lakes and ponds. But the city of Burnsville, MN just found a few humongous goldfish in a local lake and are now pleading with residents: "Please don't release your pet goldfish into ponds and lakes!"
Although people might think of goldfish as harmless little creatures that grow to just an inch or two in length, that's when they live in aquariums. When placed in the wild, they can grow up to 14 inches long. Burnsville, just south of Minneapolis, tweeted that the fish "grow bigger than you think and contribute to poor water quality by mucking up the bottom sediments and uprooting plants."
From The Guardian:
Last November, officials in nearby Carver county removed as many as 50,000 goldfish from local waters. The county water management manager, Paul Moline, said goldfish "are an understudied species" with "a high potential to negatively impact the water quality of lakes".
Like carp, goldfish can easily reproduce and survive through low levels of oxygen during the Minnesota winter.
"A few goldfish might seem to some like a harmless addition to the local water body – but they're not," the Minnesota department of natural resources advised.
Shockingly (at least for me, who never had luck keeping goldfish alive), pet goldfish can live up to 15 years, which pet owners should be aware of before making a commitment to care for them.