An important message from Gold Coast Pest Fishing Classic about pest fish

Important information regarding pest fish

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Being a keen pest fisho and also having a love of fish keeping, I am more aware than ever of the damage that exotic aquatic species can wreak on our waterways.

I also see a lot of posts and ads on social media for aquarium fish available for delivery right to your door. Most of these fish, are perfectly legal and in an indoor aquarium pose little to no threat to our ecosystems. Our southern states are too cold for tropical species to thrive, or even survive. Further north however is a very different story. Currently In Queensland, we have tilapia, texas cichlids, convict cichlids, jaguar cichlids and pearl cichlids commonly found.

Texas cichlids are legal to keep in Queensland and are a beautiful medium sized fish, the problem arises when these fish are kept in outdoor ponds, or unwanted fish are released into local waterways when they outgrow their tanks.

I have recently even seen ads for red tailed catfish, these are being sold as juveniles, just 6-8 cm long. Very tempting to have this small predator in your very own tank. The problem is that these things get huge, 80kg and 1.5m in length, way too large for anyone but the most dedicated aquarium keeper or a public aquarium.

I have seen people wanting to put these in ponds, a far more reasonable location for such a large fish. That is of course until we have a major rain event & the pond spills over or if being kept in an aquarium.

This fish and many other exotics will become too large to re home and it is unlikely that the owner would euthanize a pet they have kept and cared for over many years, a likely outcome is that these fish will be found released, rather than deceased.

I kept African cichlids for many years, they are beautiful fish and I completely understand wanting to keep exotics, these days however I am discovering the amazing native fish that can be found just a few km from my own front door.

Keeping fish is a fantastic hobby, but it is more important than ever that you research what you are buying and be responsible in how they are kept. Exotics should never be kept in outdoor ponds where they can escape into our local waterways, if your fish outgrows its home, never release it, call your local pet store and see if they have an adoption program, The Tech Den

So I suppose what I am suggesting is that our native Aussie species adapt readily to the aquarium environment, instead of a cichlid, try a spangled perch, instead of a tetra, buy a few Hardyhead or Pacific Blue Eyes. Our rainbow species are also highly sought after overseas.

Enjoy the hobby, but please be responsible when it comes to our waterways.

The GCPFC Team

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