How to Break Up with Your Goldfish
A 14-inch goldfish removed from the Niagara River.

Goldfish can seem like the ideal low maintenance pet. But if you are no longer able to care for your them, it can be difficult to know what to do with your fishy friend.

Many people think that letting their goldfish loose into a local pond or river is a harmless and humane way to get rid of them. But that’s not the case. When goldfish are released in to local waterways they become an invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
that can live for up to 25 years and do real harm to the water quality and wild fish communities.

When they are released into the wild, goldfish can grow to the size of football and weigh up to four pounds! These voracious eaters carry parasites, foul the water, and uproot native plants and animals.

Here are some better ways to break up with your goldfish:

  • Help your fish find a home with someone who will care for them. Fish adoption is a real thing! Donate your fish to a pet store, school or learning institution, or advertise that you will give your fish away for free.
  • Check out online forums dedicated to the adoption of unwanted pets. Some of them include fish.
  • Reach out to social media groups dedicated to aquariums and fish hobbyists. Many people would be willing to help you re-home your pet fish.
  • Reach out to your local veterinarian or pet retailer to learn how to humanely dispose of your aquarium pet.

Each year invasive species, like goldfish, cause $120 billion in damages to our country. Billions of additional dollars are spent on prevention, detection, control, management, outreach and habitat restoration. Check out Habitattitude U.S. and Don’t Let it Loose for more information on how to be an environmentally responsible aquatic pet parents.

Story Tags

Invasive species