What animals are there in Lake Tahoe

Monster Goldfish Found In Lake Tahoe

A new species of sea monster has been found in the depths of Lake Tahoe: gigantic goldfish. Researchers searching the lake for invasive fish species caught a goldfish that was nearly 1.5 meters long and 4.2 pounds.

"In those polls, we found a nice corner that has 15 more goldfish," environmental scientist Sudeep Chandra of the University of Nevada, Reno, told WordsSideKick.com. "It is an indication that they have trained and are spawning." The arrival of the fish, likely dumped there by aquarium owners, worried Chandra - goldfish are an invasive species that could affect Lake Tahoe's ecosystem.

It is unclear whether the giant fish were introduced as fully grown adults or were still small, Chandra said. But even a small creature can have a big impact if there are enough of them.

The goldfish is just one of several species of invasive warm water fish in Lake Tahoe. "The invasion results in the consumption of native species," said Chandra. In addition, the invasive fish secrete nutrients that cause algal blooms that threaten the muddy Tahoe-clear waters. [Photos: giant goldfish and other daring fish]

Fish out of the water

Aquarium dumping has become a common practice in the US and elsewhere, putting a heavy burden on domestic wildlife. A recent report on the California aquarium trade found that fish owners and importers are introducing resilient, alien water species into California's waters. "Globally, the aquarium trade has contributed a third of the world's worst aquatic and invasive species," Williams, lead author of the report, told OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site of WordsSideKick.com, in January.

While the exact number of aquarium owners is unknown, scientists know that this practice is practiced as these species did not end up naturally in these waters. According to Williams, between 20 and 69 percent of the fish farmers surveyed in Texas admitted to dumping.

Other ways invasive species enter natural ecosystems include aquaculture, live seafood, live bait, and fishing and recreation vessels. Williams found that more than 11 million non-native marine animals, representing at least 102 species, arrive at the ports of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Invaders include tropical fish, algae and snails. One of the most vicious is a deadly type of algae known as Caulerpa. A type of algae that produces toxic compounds that kill fish, Caulerpa was eradicated (with great effort) from lagoons in southern California in 2000.

Aquarium owners should be more careful about getting rid of unwanted fish and other animals, warned Williams. "It's pretty simple: don't drop your fish," she said. Instead, she suggests calling the pet store that sold the fish or the local fish and wildlife agency. (Euthanasia is another option, but simply flushing fish in the toilet can be problematic - both for the fish and for your plumbing.)

Why do people throw fish? Studies of dumping have shown that fish size and aggressiveness are two main factors, Williams said.

The largest pet goldfish, according to the BBC, was a fish named Goldie, which was 38 cm long and weighed over 2 kg.

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