Football-Sized Goldfish Threatens Australian Waterways

First Posted: Aug 18, 2016 02:16 AM EDT

Pet goldfish that are dumped from aquariums into catchment lakes grow as the size of football with about 1.9 kilograms in size. The researchers found these goldfish are traveling hundreds of kilometers every year in Western Australia (WA) waterways.

Dr. Stephen Beatty, from the Center for Fish and Fisheries, explained that they discovered the fish displayed a significant seasonal shift habitats during the breeding season, with one fish moving over 230 km (142 miles) during the year. He further explained that once established, self-sustaining populations of alien freshwater fishes often thrive and can spread into new regions, which is having a fundamental ecological impact and are major drivers of the reduction of aquatic fauna. He added that this study could help with species control in the future, according to Telegraph.

The researchers from Murdoch University found the species weighing more than two pounds, with the biggest that exceeds about four pounds. These goldfish not only have astonishing sizes but also have the ability to travel long distances in a year. This includes one which swam for more than 142 miles. The team also explains that goldfish native to eastern Asia are a highly invasive and hard-to-eradicate species. They spread through waterways around the globe, according to AOL.

Dr. Beatty said that invasive fish can potentially impact water quality, disturb habitat, introduce disease and complete with native species putting them under serious pressure. The team is hoping that the study into their behavior can help with containment efforts.

The goldfish belongs to the family of Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes, which is a member of the carp family. These include koi carp and the crucian carp. It is a freshwater and earliest fish to be domesticated. It is mostly kept in the aquarium and varies in size, shape and body. Goldfish was first domesticated in China thousand years ago and since then several distinct breeds have been developed.

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