Featured image from the City of Burnsville
If you need a bright, shining example of how invasive species enter our freshwater rivers, lakes, and streams, these fat goldfish are perfect. Likely released by well-meaning owners who no longer want to keep them, they’ve taken over and even choked out some lakes in the Land of 10,000. Recently the city of Burnsville, MN had a tweet go viral, talking about the oversized, invasive goldfish that reach “infestation” levels according to locals.
Please don’t release your pet goldfish into ponds and lakes! They grow bigger than you think and contribute to poor water quality by mucking up the bottom sediments and uprooting plants.
Groups of these large goldfish were recently found in Keller Lake. pic.twitter.com/Zmya2Ql1E2
— City of Burnsville (@BurnsvilleMN) July 9, 2021
“You see goldfish in the store and they’re these small little fish,” Caleb Ashling, Burnsville’s natural resources specialist, said in an interview. “When you pull a goldfish about the size of a football out of the lake, it makes you wonder how this can even be the same type of animal.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t a local phenomenon in Minnesota. In fact, Arizona has popped up as a popular goldfish, carp, and koi fishery in the many canals that lace the suburbs in the state. In fact, you’ll likely see an errant gold-orange blob in most neighborhood lakes if you look hard enough.
“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 earlier this year.
Goldfish and other released carp species can choke out lakes and ponds by stirring up muck from the bottom while they feed and destroying the aquatic plant life.
You can read more about the goldfish, in this article from the Washington Post.