Archive for March, 2014

The Thirteenth Annual Eastern Washington/North Idaho Regional Lakes Conference, held in Spokane in February 2014, called attention to the fact that some of the invasive plants and species that infect area lakes are the result of dumping the unwanted contents of home aquariums and backyard fish ponds into local waterways.

When an owner decides to give up his aquarium or fish pond, an easy solution might be to release creatures and plants into a local lake or river, but doing so can have a disastrous effect on the lake environment.

It was this practice that introduced the popular aquarium plant, Eurasian Watermilfoil, into fresh waterways where it has spread and now competes with native plants for nutrients, often causing heavy algae growth which further damages the environment.

Aquarium owners are often faced with disposing of unwanted fish that may have grown too large, or are too aggressive for the aquarium. Whatever the reason for disposing of them, owners should never flush the fish or release them in a natural waterway.

Aggressive non-native fish that have no natural predators can severely damage local habitat. Even non-aggressive fish that grow too large can devastate the local food supply, sometimes resulting in the extinction of a local lake species.

Instead of dumping aquariums into a local habitat, owners are encouraged to donate plants and creatures to a pet shop or public aquarium, advertise free fish and plants in a newspaper, or donate the aquarium to a school, medical office or other public space.

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