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Aquarium dumping

Aquarium Dumping

The introduction of pest fish and plants in natural waterways can cause a decline in native fish population. This can also adversely affect aquatic habitats within these waterways and lake systems.

The release of exotic fish into a waterway can be accidental or intentional. 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.

Prevent problems caused by exotic pest fish and plant species 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
  • keeping aquarium collections 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 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry:
    • Via an online form
    • By phone on 13 25 23 (cost of a local call within Queensland) or +61 7 3404 6999
      Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 8am to 6pm
      Thursday: 9am to 6pm

Under the Queensland Fisheries Act 1994, 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