When I was a little kid, I remember my next-door-neighbor giving me a goldfish from her parent’s pond. I named him “Goldie”.
This little guy was such a trooper! I had him for several years and he just kept growing. Over the course of about 3 years, I kept upgrading his tank because he always grew too large for the enclosure.
Before releasing him back into my friend’s backyard pond, Goldie grew to be about eight inches long.
For a run-of-the-mill goldfish, I found that to be very fascinating. As a naive child, I thought that was the biggest goldfish, ever!
Now, nearly 20 years later, I have been surprised by another unusually large goldfish.
Scientists doing research in Lake Tahoe recently discovered an invasive fish species weighing in at about 4.2 pounds. The 1.5 foot long goldfish was most likely dumped into the lake by an aquarium owner and it’s about one of 15 found in a certain part of the lake.
The monster-sized fish findings are beginning to concern scientists because the species could inevitably wreak havoc on Lake Tahoe’s ecosystem.
Aquarium dumping has unfortunately become a common practice in the United States and the results have been devastating to native wildlife. A recent report on California’s aquarium trade has found that fish importers and their owners have started introducing nonnative aquatic species to various California waters.
Christine Ngai, a researcher who frequents the lake hunting for invasive species, notably the large-mouth bass, says the numbers found are astonishing and potentially devastating to the lake. The massive bright orange and red fish have been steadily multiplying in the waters of Sierra Nevada and are flourishing despite being released into the wild by their owners.
“One day we caught 15 in just one corner of the Tahoe keys,” Ngai told KCRA. An exact idea of their numbers, and for how long they’ve managed to survive, is still unknown.
Something else that may surprise you is that people aren’t just dumping their unwanted pets in Lake Tahoe. These fish have also been sighted in Missouri, Michigan, Arizona and in France, one man claims to have caught one that weighed in at more than 30 pounds!
In Tahoe, officials say the immediate threat to the lake is still the growing population of large-mouth bass, but the recent threat cannot be ignored.
You know what they say, fish only “grow to the size of their tank.”