While most commonly associated with fish tanks and festival prizes, goldfish are actually a naturally occurring wild species of fish too.
The term goldfish refers to a variety of variations of members of the carp family that are native to the freshwaters of east Asia. Goldfish have been selectively bred for color and kept as pets for more than 1,000 years. They can also hybridize with other members of the carp family.
Sometimes, people get tired of their pet gold fish and free them into nearby bodies of water and wish them the best. The fish are actually quite adaptable to lakes and ponds and oftentimes they grow far larger then they typically would if confined by the dimensions of a fish tank.
A goldfish in a tank tends to typically top out at 2-inches long, or up to 6-inches in larger tanks. However, goldfish in wild pods can grow more than a foot long and the largest goldfish ever recorded was 19-inches long.
While not quite that big, a huge goldfish was hauled in earlier this spring in Virginia, and apparently the state does log state records for the species.
According to ABC 8 News, the fish measured 16-inches long, and girthy too, measuring 15-inches around!
The fish weighed 3-pounds 9-ounces and was pulled out of Hunting Creek.
The fish’s status as a new state record was just recently officially verified by a biologist with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and confirmed by the state record book committee.
While it is illegal to dump goldfish into Virginia waterways because non-native fish can negatively impact the existing ecosystem, the state did add the species to the record program just last year. This is the first goldfish to be submitted.
An even bigger goldfish was caught more recently in a Missouri pond, and officials believe it was once someone’s pet before being freed into the water.
The Missouri fish was a hybrid between a goldfish and a butterfly koi, which allowed it to grow up to a whopping 9-pounds.
Though an impressive fish, the Missouri Department of Conservation urged people to refrain from celebrating the fish too much, and urged people to avoid dumping their pet fish into the wild.
“DON’T DUMP PETS: Tim Owings caught this 9-pound butterfly koi goldfish at Blue Springs Lake Remembrance over the weekend.
When pet owners dump ornamental fish like this, it can cause serious issues for native species. Instead of dumping aquarium fish, check with local pet stores who may take them back, or connect with aquarium clubs in your city.”
DON'T DUMP PETS: Tim Owings caught this 9-pound butterfly koi goldfish at Blue Springs Lake Remembrance over the…