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Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bugwood.org / Creative Commons

Here's Why You Should Never Release Your Goldfish Into The Wild

By Mark Pygas

Goldfish may seem small and harmless in the controlled setting of your fish tank, but if you've ever decided to release one into the wild after getting bored of it, or flush it down the toilet, you could be destroying the local ecology and costing yourself thousands of dollars. 

It turns out that goldfish are one of the world's worst invasive species. Originally bred in China 2,000 years ago for food, goldfish became friend instead of food in the 14th century, reaching North America by the 19th century. Given the time, goldfish can eat their way to as much as 4 pounds, and the size of a football. 

Goldfish feed on plants, insects, crustaceans, and other fish, taking up the food sources of local species. They also introduce foreign parasites and disease that the local ecosystem can't handle. To top it all of, goldfish are the rabbits of water, and can quickly reproduce their way into an uncontrollable population.