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Over three years ago, somebody released a pet goldfish into a pond in St. Albert, Alberta. Since then, the hearty fish has reproduced into the thousands and grown to lengths of six to twelve inches. That harmless-seeming pet has become a huge danger to the fish native to the area and the balance of the ecosystem. Officials already tried once last winter to eradicate the fish by draining the lake and freezing it to the bottom. These guys are resilient though and came back in the spring. This week, the city is trying again to get rid of them.

Goldfish only grow to be about one inch when they’re kept in a bowl, but their adult size is determined by the size of their container. When they’re released into a pond, they have all the room they could possibly want, and they grow into these monster fish. Absolutely terrifying.

Leah Konsgrude, St. Albert’s director of environment, refers to them as ‘franken-fish’ and hopes that the city’s latest attempt to cull them is successful. They’ve so far only infested storm ponds in the area (as far as the city knows) but are at risk of infiltrating larger bodies and getting into rivers where their destruction would be almost impossible to corral. Officials are using the organic chemical Rotenone on the inhabited bodies of water. The chemical is a natural substance that comes from a tropical tree root and is only supposed to be harmful to animals with gills. The treatment is working so far, but if any fish can survive it, it’s these guys.

‘They are much hardier, much stronger than our native fish,’ Konsgrude said, ‘They can live in more low-oxygen conditions, they can live in dirty water and they also reproduce extremely quickly.’

The internet had some compelling ideas about better ways to deal with the infestation. Grilled goldfish fillet, anyone?

And then there were others who were less helpful. Because they were freaking out a little bit that Alberta ponds are being taken over by giant franken-fish. Completely understandable.

There is about a fifty-fifty chance of the chemical fully eradicating the fish and the ponds require another treatment in the coming weeks. Hopefully the city will be able to protect the rest of it’s waters from these giant intruders.

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