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article imageInvasion of goldfish turns Colorado lake into giant fishbowl

By Karen Graham     Apr 7, 2015 in Environment
Boulder - Apparently tired of their goldfish, someone several years ago dumped them into Boulder, Colorado's Teller Lake #5, thinking it was more humane than flushing them down the toilet. Today, the lake is home to almost 4,000 descendants of those goldfish.
We all know keeping one or two goldfish alive in a bowl takes a bit of conscientious effort, but when we get tired of them, what do we do? Rather than giving them to a neighbor or pet shop, some people dump them into the waterways, and that is not a smart idea.
To prove the point, Boulder, Colorado wildlife officials have a very big problem on their hands right now, all because someone dumped three or four goldfish into 12-acre Teller Lake #5 just off Arapahoe Road in the city several years ago. Perhaps because of the hardiness of the goldfish, they thrived, instead of perishing, and now the descendants of the original fish number in the thousands.
Teller Lake #5 is a 12-acre lake in Boulder  Colorado.
Teller Lake #5 is a 12-acre lake in Boulder, Colorado.
Lucky HD
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officials explained that they "will likely need to be removed to maintain the integrity of the lake." In layman's terms, this means they have to get the goldfish out of the lake because they are competing with the native fish species, spreading disease and otherwise disrupting the aquatic ecosystem.
The fish weren't really noticed until around March 13 and estimates by the CPW put the number of goldfish close to 3,000 to 4,000. CPW spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said there were one of two things being considered, either draining the lake or using electro-fishing, a process where the fish are stunned by an electrical current for ease of removal.
Kristin Cannon, the district wildlife manager for Boulder told ABC Denver, "Goldfish are not a native species and are very harmful to the local aquatic ecosystem. We strongly encourage the public not to dump their unwanted pet fish in our waters. It is bad for our environment, as well as illegal."
The consequences of introducing a foreign species is far-reaching  CPW officials say.
The consequences of introducing a foreign species is far-reaching, CPW officials say.
Lucky HD
This is not the first time Colorado lakes have been used as goldfish bowls
The spotlight on the problems caused by non-native, exotic fish being dumped into Colorado's lakes occurred in November of 2012 when electro-fishing in Boulder's Thunderbird lake yielded over 2,275 non-native Koi goldfish. Based on the ages of the fish removed, the original unwanted pets had been put in the lake two to three years before 2012.
When the goldfish are removed from Teller Lake #5, they will be used as food for a local raptor rehabilitation program. People are also asked to not come to the lake to dip out a few goldfish for their own goldfish ponds because this will disrupt the natural environment around the lake.
More about Teller Lake 5, boulder colorado, Goldfish, Invasive species, aquatic ecosystem in danger
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