Last week, a football-sized goldfish present in a Minnesota lake shocked the web with its measurement and breadth. In a broadly shared Facebook submit, town of Burnsville warned residents to not launch their pet fish into public waters, saying “they grow bigger than you think.”

But these large beasts aren’t simply in Minnesota. Indiana has them, too.

Yes, Indiana has large goldfish. They’re 100% actual — and never the results of some lab experiment.

But these gargantuan goldfish pose issues past their measurement, as they’re an invasive species when present in ponds, lakes or reservoirs.

Large goldfish end result from individuals dumping their fish into our bodies of water and survive when there should not a variety of native fish to prey on them, mentioned Eric Fischer, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife. However, these big fish do not pop up fairly often.

“It’s not uncommon, they pop up from time to time, but for the most part, we use them as a good example of why people shouldn’t dump aquarium species because of the example of how … in rare cases, of how they can thrive in Indiana waters,” Fischer mentioned.

Don’t do it: Why Indiana DNR is reminding individuals to not dump goldfish in ponds or lakes

Several years in the past, at J. Edward Roush Lake in Huntington, officers discovered 31 goldfish starting from 6-11 inches. This was probably as a result of “Roush has a problem with not enough native predators,” Fischer mentioned. 

“In the right conditions, if you stock goldfish into a pond and there’s not enough native predators and there’s too many undesirable or problematic species like shad or other common carp, those sorts of things, then they can become abundant,” Fischer mentioned. “They can reproduce; they can stir up the sediment. They can even cause the native fish to be crowded out. So you have less productivity, and your water quality can diminish.”

Goldfish have the aptitude to develop alongside their atmosphere. If you set a goldfish in a much bigger tank, it may develop greater than what many individuals contemplate its typical measurement to be.

“They have the capability of getting well up into several pounds. I think I’ve even seen a goldfish up to about 16 inches,” Fischer mentioned.

While goldfish are sometimes eaten by native fish, as a result of they’re gold, they will pose a risk and grow to be an invasive species when there aren’t sufficient predators to take them down.

But the specter of large goldfish is only one of an array of issues that may include dumping out an aquarium right into a public physique of water, Fischer mentioned.

“When people dump aquariums, they can introduce diseases, they can introduce aquarium plants that can thrive and change the habitat of the lake they’re put in, or other fish,” Fischer mentioned.

If you’ll be able to’t maintain your fish anymore, there are alternatives for humane fish euthanasia, Fischer mentioned. There are additionally assets out there to fish homeowners trying to give their fish away.

“A lot of aquarium clubs and mom-and-pop type pet stores will even take back a lot of fish species and pets … And they can either rehome them or make sure that they don’t get dumped into public waters.”

So, what is the ethical of the story? Don’t dump your goldfish within the lake, lest they grow to be large — and an invasive species. 

“What I want people to know is they shouldn’t be dumping aquariums and they shouldn’t be introducing things because they can introduce species that can become invasive,” Fischer mentioned. 

Contact IndyStar Pulliam Fellow Claire Rafford at or on Twitter @clairerafford

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