Today the Science Recorder reported that a gigantic goldfish was discovered by a team of biologists surveying Lake Tahoe for invasive species. The fish had grown to be 1.5 feet long and weighed 4.2 pounds; the team worries about the negative impact on native flora and fauna caused by the thriving population of goldfish in the lake.
The Tahoe Invasion Team Scientists, abbreviated T.I.T.S., is a conglomeration of biologists from University of California at Davis and the University of Nevada at Reno working in conjunction with both states' fish and wildlife departments. According to Reuters, surveying began in 2006. The team found large quantities of goldfish and other invasive species living and breeding in the lake, likely originating fish dumped from aquariums.
Researchers began “electrofishing” in 2011 to decrease the number of goldfish in the lake. Fish passing under the boat were stunned by dangling metal wires carrying electrical current, and then captured with a net. The team then sorted out the non-native species, releasing the remainder.
The goldfish have caused increased turbidity and facilitated algal blooms leading to increased turbidity in the lake. In and interview with Live Science, Environmental scientist Sudeep Chandra of the University of Nevada at Reno said the behemoth goldfish was discovered with approximately 15 other goldfish, “an indication that they were schooling and spawning.”
“It's unclear whether the giant fish were introduced as fully grown adults, or while they were still small,” Chandra said. “But even a small creature can have a big impact, if there are enough of them.”
According to the BCC, the largest pet goldfish, Goldy, was 1' 2” long and weighed more than two pounds. Goldy was an inch long when purchased by her owner for 99 cents.