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Aquarium dumping

Aquarium Dumping

The introduction and establishment of pest fish and plants in natural waterways can cause decline in the abundance of native fish and otherwise adversely affect aquatic habitats within natural waterways and lake systems.

Exotic fish can be introduced into a waterway through accidental or intentional release. Common problems include:

  • dumping of aquarium collections into the waterway (e.g. goldfish, guppies, platys)
  • the introduction of species as sport fish (e.g. carp, tilapia)
  • the use of pest fish as live bait
  • the use of exotic fish species in ornamental ponds which overflow into other waterways
  • the introduction of parasites and diseases.

Problems caused by exotic pest fish and plant species can be prevented by:

  • never disposing of aquarium collections within a natural waterway or lake system
  • not releasing exotic species back into the waterway if caught while fishing
  • ensuring aquarium collections are kept in secure ponds
  • using native fish rather than exotic species
  • trading unwanted fish and plants with aquariums/pet shops or auctioning fish
  • reporting sightings of pest fish to the Customer Service Centre for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry:

Phone: 13 25 23 (cost of a local call within Queensland) or +61 7 3404 6999
8am to 6pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday  
9am to 6pm Thursday
Fax: +61 7 3404 6900

Under the Queensland Fisheries Act, there are two types of pest fish:

  • noxious fish which cannot be kept 
  • non-indigenous fish which can be kept but must be prevented from escaping.

It is illegal in Queensland to release noxious or non-indigenous fish into our natural waterways. For further information, you can contact Biosecurity Queensland at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Visit the Queensland Government website for more information on invasive or high risk pest fish


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