This is What Happens When You Flush a Goldfish Down the Toilet (Hint: Don’t Do It)

Here’s what happens when you flush a goldfish down the toilet.

LUIS PADILLA-Fotografia/Shutterstock

What Happens When You Flush a Goldfish Down the Toilet

If you think you’re releasing your goldfish back into the wild when you flush it down the toilet, think again. You’re most likely killing it within a couple of minutes because of the way city water is treated. That’s if they make it that far. Typically the cold water of the toilet puts the fish into shock. These are 15 things you should never flush down the toilet.

Releasing a goldfish into a pond or a lake isn’t any better. It’s actually a terrible thing for ecosystems. Goldfish in Minnesota are threatening marsh habitats and have grown to the size of dinner plates.

Goldfish can harm native fish, they reproduce quickly and can root up native plants while searching for food. Plus, aquarium fish can carry diseases that will kill native fish. Goldfish have no natural predator so they thrive in open water and grow to enormous sizes. In 2013, a 4.2-pound, 1 1/2-foot-long goldfish appeared in the Lake Tahoe basin in Nevada.

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Goldfish are part of the carp family and anyone who has encountered carp before can tell you how terrible they are for lake ecosystems. Carp feed on fish eggs, making it tougher for native species to continue, and they contribute to algae growth by releasing nutrients that promote algae growth.

Giant Goldfish Near ShoreRory Eye/Shutterstock

What Should You Do If You Don’t Want Your Goldfish Anymore?

Wildlife officials suggest people donate their goldfish rather than introduce them to local lakes, ponds and rivers. You can search for local places to donate goldfish. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also suggests you can donate a goldfish to a school. You can also ways euthanize a goldfish after consulting with a local veterinarian or pet retailer.

How Big of a Problem are Goldfish?

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates invasive species incur $120 billion in damages in the country.

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