Do you know what to do with unwanted aquarium plants and animals?

Whatever you do, don’t release them into the wild! Don’t even dump them down the toilet because they may still find their way into a body of water, survive and become invasive.

Fish, aquatic plants, crayfish, snails, salamanders, turtles, frogs, crabs, worms and insects are released into the wild regularly with devastating consequences. Once introduced, these plants and animals, and the pathogens or parasites they carry, disrupt ecosystems, negatively impact water quality, reduce biodiversity and cost communities huge amounts of time, money, resources and lost revenue.

About a third of all aquatic invasive species (AIS), which currently threaten marine environments, were released into the wild from home and classroom aquariums. A survey of 2,000 teachers from the United States and Canada found that one out of four of them released live organisms after their lessons were completed. Many more people release their home pets when they get too big for their tanks or they tire of caring for them.

If you are faced with the dilemma of what to do with unwanted aquarium plants and animals, what should you do? Never release them into the wild under any circumstances. Do the following instead:

▀ Ask seller about possible returns.

▀ Give/trade with another aquarium owner, pond owner, or water gardener, or donate to a local aquarium society or school.

▀ Avoid using live animals in the classroom unless permanent homes can be found ahead of time.

▀ Completely dry or freeze unwanted aquatic plants and discard in the trash (not the compost bin).

▀ If all else fails, contact your veterinarian or pet retailer about humane disposal.

▀ Pour aquarium water on dry land instead of a storm drain, sink or toilet.

▀ Share this information with your friends, family and teachers.

Issue Publication Date: 
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Main Office: Tom Ridge Environmental Center 301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 3 Erie, PA 16505 814-217-9011