Don't dump that fish!

Aquarium fish, snails or weed should NEVER be released or disposed of into the wild. Outdoor ponds should be designed so that fish cannot escape or be washed out during heavy rain. Any unwanted aquarium fish should be either given to a

Native fish can be an attractive and interesting alternative to keeping exotic fish in aquaria. A large variety of species can be obtained from aquarium shops, native plant nurseries or water garden suppliers (NB: native fish cannot be collected from the wild to keep in ponds or aquaria without a specific permit). Care should be taken to prevent release of native fish into the wild, as they can also have an impact on local populations.

Eastern gambusia and Carp illustrate the damage that can be caused if non-native fish escape or are released into natural waterways. Gambusia is now listed as a 'key threatening process' by the Office of Environment and Heritage because of their impacts on native frogs.

Other non-native aquarium species to take particular care of include the groups below. Some have already become pests and pose a threat to our rivers and oceans.

Livebearer family

Includes guppies, mollies, and ‘mosquitofish’. Two species (Eastern gambusia and One spot livebearer/Speckled mosquitofish) are aggressive pests and are banned from sale in most of NSW.


A popular and very diverse group of aquarium fish, but some species have established pest populations (e.g. Jack Dempsey (Eight Banded) cichlid and Pearl cichlid). Tilapia are banned in NSW.

Carp & minnow family

Includes minnows, bitterlings, danios, and rasboras. Five species (Carp, Goldfish, Roach, Tench and White Cloud Mountain Minnow) are pests in NSW. Some – like carp – are major pests.

Loach family

These non-natives are very hardy and can move overland to invade new areas. Oriental weatherloach has established pest populations.

Marine & freshwater weeds

Assume that all aquatic plants in your aquarium or pond are potential weeds. Some (eg. salvinia, cabomba and alligator weed) have already invaded NSW waterways, and are totally banned.


Fresh and saltwater snails can be big vegetation eaters. Keep them safe in your aquarium.

‘Live rock’

Live rock’ (used in marine aquariums) contains all kinds of organisms and should never be dumped in or near the sea.

Species that occur naturally in other parts of Australia may cause problems if introduced into an area outside their natural range (e.g. Banded grunter (Amniataba percoides) and Caulerpa taxifolia, a pest marine vegetation).