This is Passport to Texas
[Nats aquarium] Pet stores like Rivers and Reefs in Austin sell fish and plant species from all over the world.
11—Most of your Tetris species are from South America. Even your average gold-fish comes from China. Some of your Amazon sword plants obviously come from South America from the Amazon River.
Manager Rachel Pohl says that’s why people should be careful not to dump their aquariums in rivers or lakes or even flush live fish down the toilet.
08—Some of these fish get into our rivers and start eating our fingerlings in our rivers, and it starts unbalancing the native population because they don’t have a predator here.
And it’s not just fish. TPWD aquatic habitat biologist Howard Elder says giant salvinia started out as a decorative plant for aquariums…but it didn’t stay there.
09—Giant salvinia was found in a Houston school yard in 1998. It has since been found in 17 public reservoirs.
And it’s not pretty anymore.
10—The plant can produce dense mats that actually block out sunlight and displace native vegetation and fish species as well as many wildlife species.
So do Texas a favor. Have fun with your aquariums. Just don’t dump them. Many pet stores will take back unwanted fish or at least tell you where you can take them.
That’s our show… we had research and writing help from Gretchen Mahan…the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.