What to do with unwanted Goldfish?

If you have ever owned a Goldfish, you’ll understand that sometimes for whatever reason these fish suddenly don’t fit into our busy lifestyles. Maybe you’re getting ready to move and you don’t have space or the time to take care of one. That’s when the question poses; What to do with unwanted Goldfish?

If you cannot care for your goldfish anymore is simply don’t want to keep it. The best thing you can do it try to find another caring home for it. Ask, your friends and family if they would like to take over the care of your goldfish. Alternatively, most pet stores will take it for free and will resell it to a new keeper.

Although goldfish require less maintenance than many other types of fish, they still come with a time commitment and certain care needs. Taking on any pet comes with responsibilities.

Some fish owners make the mistake of disposing of their fish in a toilet or in a local pond, lake, or stream. Firstly, this is cruel and should never be done for a number of reasons which we’ll go into more detail soon.

What to do with unwanted Goldfish?

Secondly, goldfish can only live in certain water. And as you can imagine, the water conditions in a sewer are not suitable for any living creature.

It’s much better to find a new home for the goldfish. Thousands of people willingly purchase goldfish each year so there are no shortage of re-homing options. 

Dangers of Fish Dumping

One of the dangers of throwing your fish into a local pond or stream is that, if the fish survives, they can actually become an invasive species. Some of the animal invaders such as snakeheads and lionfish started to invade when pet owners put them in local waterways. 

What to do with unwanted Goldfish? 1
Goldfish explosion is a lake in Colorado wipes out eco-system
Image Credits @BusinessInsider

In the worst scenario, your goldfish simply won’t survive the conditions of their new environment. They may become prey for larger fish or not be able to live in the area where they’re dumped.

One thing is for sure, your goldfish will live possibly a very short life in horrible conditions and suffer for your poor actions.

If the goldfish eventually finds some water conditions that it can survive in it will often grow significantly. In lakes and streams where Goldfish have been left, they have been found to grow up to 7-9 Inch with Koi Carp growing even bigger.

These large fish then damage waterways with their large appetites as well as a tendency to carry parasites. 

What to do with unwanted Goldfish?

One example of this can be found in Teller Lake in Colorado. The goldfish dumped there multiplied significantly. Theses seemingly harmless pets crowded out the natural fish in the lake.

The damage to the eco-system was significant and almost impossible to control. While finding your fish a new home in the wild seems like a reasonable option, you could be causing damage to the environment. 

If your goldfish needs a new home but you’re unsure of where to get started, these are some of the best options for re-homing. 

Look for a Fish Club

Fish collectors may not seem like an option for goldfish but many of them enjoy this simple but attractive fish. If your goldfish has survived for a number of years, that likely means he or she is a healthy and thriving fish.

For this reason, many fish collectors will either be willing to take the fish or find it a new home. Look for local fish clubs in your area. Many of them have websites and may even have links for fish owners who need to find a new home for their pet.

This is a great option for your fish to find a new home with someone who will appreciate and care for it. 

Contact a Pet Shop

Pet shops and Tropical fish stores that specialize in caring and selling for fish would always be my first choice. They don’t offer the fish a permanent home but they do specialize in selling aquarium, pet, and exotic fish and should be able to find a loving home for your unwanted Goldfish.

Additionally, they frequently receive inquiries about finding a home for goldfish and other types of fish. If you have a local pet or fish store, contact them to let them know you need to find a new place for a goldfish.

Here is a directory for fish stores in the US & UK

US Fish store directory click here

UK Fish & Pet store directory click here

Chances are that they’ll be willing to take the fish off your hands. In some cases, they may even be willing to pay for the fish, although you shouldn’t count on getting much. 

what to do with unwanted goldfish
Unwanted Goldfish often end up in rivers and streams from sewers

Try the Internet

The internet has become a place where people buy, sell, and discuss fish. This is a great option for you to find a new place for a fish. Keep in mind that the internet has no area code. If you go to an online forum that’s full of fish enthusiasts, they may not be in your area.

It’s likely that you’re going to want to find someone local to get your fish. Also, if you’re getting rid of a goldfish, the new owner likely won’t want to travel far to pick it up. Look for local online forums like Craigslist or similar to find someone who will enjoy your fish.

You may also be able to give them the fish tank and other supplies for free or a small sum. Since this person is doing a service though, you shouldn’t plan on charging much. 

Offices, Nurses, and Schools

Think about the places where you’ll often see tanks of fish. Any public place that has an aquarium is a great place that may be able to take care of your goldfish. These spots are often great for fish. They enjoy a large area and receive good care throughout their lifetimes.

Additionally, you’re performing a public service by giving a fish to a place where it will be enjoyed. This is often the perfect place to donate the fish you can’t keep anymore. 

Keep in mind that not all aquariums can take care of every type of fish. Goldfish may not be compatible with their tank conditions or the fish that they currently have. If you know a few places that already have tanks in place, reach out to them to see if you can donate your goldfish.

You may be able to get a deduction as well. If you have the tank setup available as well, then they’re going to be more interested in taking your fish. This is a great public service so consider it if possible. 

BUYING SMALL TROPICAL FISH
Once you buy a pet fish you have a duty of care

Talk to a Vet

If you have a vet in the area, reach out to the office to see if they know anyone who wants a fish. They often have fish owners that come into their office. A vet office is a great option since they can match your fish with someone who will truly enjoy having it.

They may know someone who has just lost a goldfish and wants to replace it with another. This is always a great option for your unwanted goldfish as you know it will going to a good home and they will be able to give your goldfish the love and attention it deserves and needs.

Conclusion: What to do with unwanted Goldfish?

When it comes to your goldfish, knowing what to do with unwanted goldfish is a challenge. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have good options though. Use these ideas to determine the best way for your fish to find a new home. 

At the end of the day you entered into a moral agreement when you took on a pet and you have the duty to find your goldfish a suitable home to live out the rest of its life and be happy.

Carl Broadbent
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