Park Workers Find Huge 9-Pound Goldfish In Lake During Routine Water Check
If I asked you to picture a goldfish, I imagine your mind would go straight to the barely palm-sized creatures found at fairgrounds or in the bedrooms of young children whose parents grew tired of them begging for a pet.
You almost certainly wouldn’t picture anything bigger or heavier than your average mobile phone, but that’s because you probably haven’t ever come across a goldfish like this one before.
The nine-pound, 15-inch-long goldfish was discovered in the waters of Oak Grove Lake in South Carolina, when parks and recreation workers conducted a routine water quality test.
The team didn’t see anything resembling a goldfish when they last studied the lake a decade ago, so Ty Houck, director of Greenways, Natural and Historic Resources for the Greenville County Recreation District, has no idea how long the orange beast has been lurking in the water.
Goldfish are not native to South Carolina, so it’s unclear how it even got to the lake in the upper part of the state in the first place.
Houck explained how officials use a method called electrofishing to test the health of the ecosystem, CNN reports. This method gently shocks the fish – without hurting them – making them float to the surface so surveyors can check for any signs indicating unhealthy water.
In the midst of the study, the giant fish jumped out of the water and surveyors quickly snapped a photo while examining it. The workers threw the fish back into the water after getting a good look at it.
Houck suspects someone must have dropped the fish in the lake because they didn’t want it anymore, after which the access to food and larger space in which to grow contributed to its huge size.
The director explained that goldfish grow ‘to the size of their environment’, and noted that to have a nine-pound goldfish survive in the lake ‘must mean [they] are doing something right.’
According to National Geographic, goldfish can grow up to 16.1 inches. They typically weigh between 0.2 to 0.6 pounds, but can – evidently – exceed five pounds in the wild.
The fish can live as long as 41 years in the wild, though in captivity their life expectancy is shorter, spanning between 10 to 30 years. If the fish in Oak Grove Lake only arrived in the last decade, it seems it could be around for quite some time.
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the longest goldfish as measuring 18.7 inches from nose to fin, though the listing does not include the weight.
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