Archive for January 11th, 2013

Invasives: Aquarium Animals and Plants

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Giant Salvinia photo by Larry Hodge

Giant Salvinia photo by Larry Hodge

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.

10—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.[ambience trails]

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. Parks and Wildlife aquatic habitat biologist Howard Elder says the extremely invasive giant salvinia started out as a decorative aquarium plant… 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, enjoy your aquarium, but if you tire of it, don’t dump your fish and plants…check to see if a pet store will accept unwanted fish or at least tell you where you can take them.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.