Aquarium Jailbreak! Enormous Goldfish Invade Lake Tahoe
Introduction of pet fish (via aquarium dumping) could cause serious impact
The discovery of giant goldfish in Lake Tahoe has experts worried about the effect of this invasive species on the freshwater ecosystem, according to NBC affiliate KCRA-TV.
The massive fish, which can grow up to 1.5 feet long, may have been dumped into the lake by aquarium owners. Aquarium dumping is a common issue worldwide, said Sue Williams, an ecology professor at UC Davis and lead author of a 2013 report on California’s aquarium trade.
"Globally, the aquarium trade has contributed a third of the world's worst aquatic and invasive species," Williams told Huffington Post.
Of the species released, goldfish are one of the most common and can do some of the worst damage due to the way they eat. Goldfish feed by rooting around in sediment, which can lead to murky water that destroys lake vegetation and increases water turbidity.
In the case of Lake Tahoe, the introduced fish are breeding quickly and could soon cause problems. Scientists will need further studies to understand the seriousness of the damage.