Psa About Releasing Fish Into Rivers

  1. MrBrackishGuy

    MrBrackishGuy Valued Member Member

    So my family and I were taking a walk down the San Antonio River, and we stopped to look at some ducks and ducklings on a bank. As one swam into the water I noticed several very large common plecos eating a dense layer of algae. I counted, and there were at least 5, almost certainly more.

    However, plecos aren’t native here. In the past, many fishkeepers in the southern US released their plecos into streams when they got too big for their tanks. In many places these plecos have established breeding populations, and are a serious pest. They are eating machines and outcompete many other local fish for food, have few predators, and because they’re not that edible there isn’t much reason for people to fish for them, so they’ve basically got free reign over the rivers they’ve been introduced to.
    Additionally their burrowing habits are thought to cause significant erosion in Florida, but I’m not sure if that’s actually a thing.

    So just keep in mind, if your fish is too big for your tank and you cant give it away, don’t release it, because it could completely wreck the ecosystem for years to come.

    A photo of said plecos:
    11B592E4-1CDD-40DD-8721-7688BF6C9DFC.jpeg
    If you look closely you can see they’ve completely removed a thick layer of algae from the concrete bottom.
     
  2. Gypsy13

    Gypsy13 Well Known Member Member

    I totally agree but how awesomely cool! And, unfortunately, they are pretty good eating according to hubby. When I was with catfish research in the US, we found a pond that was just full of these commons. The biggest was over two ft long. They drained the pond and got all the fish sorted out. Lots of plecos, lots of common and comet goldfish. Very few bluegill, native cats or bass. The owner had been restocking every year and couldn’t understand why he didn’t have big fish anymore. Had caught big goldfish but didn’t expect what we found. The largest plecos and all the goldies went to university. The smallest plecos went to LFS. The rest of the plecos became dinner for the guys. I refused to try it but they loved it. His smaller pond was also full of “pet” fish. It was also being choked with parrots feather. So please don’t dump any pet into the wild. And many aquarium/pond plants are incredibly invasive. Be responsible. :)
     


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  3. Discus-Tang

    Discus-Tang Well Known Member Member

    Totally agree. Over here we've lost many native species thanks to the owners of:

    goldfish
    red-eared sliders
    plecos
    minnows/danios
    puffers (non native)
    livebearers

    Just to name a few :(
     


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  4. 75g Discus Tank

    75g Discus Tank Fishlore VIP Member

    Most people just think it’s a fish and fish live in water and don’t th8nk about the destruction.

    Same happened with the lion fish and snakeheads. They are basically destroying the ecosystem.

    I think that large plecos should be illegalized or restricted in the US for this. Same with lionfish. Snakeheads are already illegalized and they are ordered to be killed in sight.
    We should do the same for larger, destructive plecos and lionfish. It will be easier to control their wild populations if they are restricted to only people who can’t properly care for them or illegalized.

    Common plecos are very invasive in Houston.

    I know of a LFS that sells commons at 12+ in regularly.

    In creeks and rivers just outside of the city, they are as abundant as mosquitos.

    During Hurricane Harvey, a man caught a common pleco in his living room!

    This really shows how much of an issue they are.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    MrBrackishGuy

    MrBrackishGuy Valued Member Member

    Yeah, they’re a really bad issue. With lionfish you have more press focusing on them, and they’re apparently super delicious so people are allowed, even implored to kill on sight (I think) With plecos, theyre less well known and as such are bigger problems.
    We should make a petition to outlaw selling/keeping common plecos in the US and send it to Congress once we get enough signatures. Then maybe the fact that we sent it at all will spread awareness.
     
  6. Rtessy

    Rtessy Well Known Member Member

    That's really not a bad idea. Especially because so few of them are actually taken care of properly that the species has become rather abused in the hobby.
     
  7. Anders247

    Anders247 Fishlore Legend Member

    That's pretty sad. I hate when these things happen.
     
  8. 75g Discus Tank

    75g Discus Tank Fishlore VIP Member

    Since you’re in Austin and I know a lot of member stuff from Texas, we could start small with our state and let it slowly spread around the country.

    They are only really a problem in southern states and Hawaii because they can easily survive the winters. Same reason why freshwater rays are illegal in Texas.
     
  9. Gypsy13

    Gypsy13 Well Known Member Member

    :(
    Yeah the southeast here has lost so much to the giant apple snail. I want to go out and get another one so bad. Takes such a big tank if you get two though. Boy, what a bioload! They’ve hurt our native snail pops, a lot of native water plants, crayfish. But in the aquarium they’re totally adorable. And there’s something so cool about holding a snail as big as your forearm. But they’re definitely pests in the wild here. They have no predators.
     
  10. scarface

    scarface Well Known Member Member

    No, don’t ban them in the US. That’s a terrible idea.
     
  11. 75g Discus Tank

    75g Discus Tank Fishlore VIP Member

    What’s sad is that people think they can solve invasive species with more potentially invasive species.

    I remember watching a YouTube video on why snakeheads were a big problem in Florida and somebody commented that we should release a ton of pirhanas to take care of them...
     
  12. Gypsy13

    Gypsy13 Well Known Member Member

    I agree. And large fish shouldn’t be sold to people buying a ten or twenty gallon aquarium for them. Make it illegal to sell them. End it.
     
  13. Discus-Tang

    Discus-Tang Well Known Member Member

    Why? Most people can't even look after them properly:(
     
  14. 75g Discus Tank

    75g Discus Tank Fishlore VIP Member

    Then maybe a restriction?

    I would push to either ban them or restrict them to people who actually are capable of taking care of them and not release them.
     
  15. Gypsy13

    Gypsy13 Well Known Member Member

    Post it on twitter, I’ll sign!
     
  16. scarface

    scarface Well Known Member Member

    Once the governement gets involved things get screwy. Be careful what one asks for.The US banned snakeheads, sure, but they banned every species.
     
  17. 75g Discus Tank

    75g Discus Tank Fishlore VIP Member

    That would make a lot of aquarium fish illegal to keep.

    It might work for inexperienced keepers, but advanced keepers are capable of keeping larger fish and shouldn’t be deprived.

    Kinda like at what @scarface said.
    Illegalizing them completely wouldn’t be a good idea.

    I think we should restrict them.

    EDIT: An example is Florida(sorry to pick on you!). Silver arowana are restricted and keepers need a permit. They were introduced into Florida waterways nd are now restricted.

    Also, a YouTuber filmed himself releasing invasive species into Florida waterways. These species were redtail catfish and silver arowana. I think his name was Catchemall Fishing or something like that.
     
  18. Gypsy13

    Gypsy13 Well Known Member Member

    It’s really the only way to keep them out of the hands of irresponsible dealers and owners. Not saying those who already have them in adequate habitats should give them up. Just make it illegal to sell invasive species. We have parrots, parakeets, pythons, boas, common plecos, apple snails, goldfish, parrots feather, mile-a-minute vine, Japanese climbing vine, kudzu and a whole bunch more just in our area. It’s horrible.

    It never works. Ever. :(
     
  19. scarface

    scarface Well Known Member Member

    You guys are saying ban common plecos, without knowing there are other species of plecos that get much bigger that don’t go under the “common” name. Should we ban them too? How about Silver Arowanas or bichirs? I prefer the idea of more restrction or leave it to the states, not the Federal government.
     
  20. 75g Discus Tank

    75g Discus Tank Fishlore VIP Member

    Also for the lionfish invasion, I think some scientist were training native sharks to eat lionfish. They were fed dead lionfish and the scientists hoped that they would predate on them. I’m not sure how this ended up, but i remember watching it on Shark Week 2 years ago.
     


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