Giant goldfish have been discovered in Lake Tahoe, and conservationists are concerned. Goldfish are not native to the freshwater lake and may cause problems with the ecosystem. The invasive goldfish can grow to nearly 1.5 feet long.
Ecologists blame aquarium dumping for the invasion. Many pet owners choose to place their fish in lakes, ponds, or rivers as opposed to flushing them down the toilet. It might seem like an ideal solution, but conservationist warn against the practice.
Pet fish, like the goldfish, can thrive in fresh water. As reported by the Huffington Post, the fish that thrive can rapidly breed causing problems with overpopulation. Many pet fish can become invasive, causing severe damage. Goldfish compete with native fish species and can carry parasites that may harm other fish. Additionally, they disturb sediment, which can impede plant growth.
Researchers from University of Nevada, cooperating with the California State Fish and Game department, were on a routine search for invasive species when they discovered the giant goldfish. Lake Tahoe has been rumored to contain monster goldfish, but their existence was never documented. As reported by WESH.com, researchers were stunned with the discovery. Christine Ngai discusses her reaction:
“You just see this bright golden orange thing starting to float up, and you’re like, what is that? Then when I saw it — I was like, oh … it exists. It’s not your average-size goldfish. So, you’re like, is that real? Oh, it’s real. It’s alive.”
The team was at the lake conducting ongoing research on the invasive large-mouth bass. Utilizing an electric probe, researchers are able to temporarily stun the fish so they can be counted and studied. They were not expecting to discover giant goldfish in Lake Tahoe but plan to further investigate their presence.