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Non-Indigenous Fish

Non-Indigenous Fish may be kept in an aquarium but must not be released into a waterway. If any of these fish are caught in the wild they must not be returned to the water alive or dead.

This has largely been the result of people illegally dumping unwanted aquarium fish.

If you have a fish that you no longer want, do not dump it in your local creek. 
Instead, take it to your local pet shop and see if they can sell it or dispose of it for you.

Penalties of up to $200,000 apply.


Goldfish are native to eastern Asia and were first introduced into Australia in 1876. Goldfish are a popular aquarium species as many are small and brightly coloured.

They are now widely distributed in streams, ponds and dams throughout the southern half of Australia, extending into South East and South West Queensland and the Fitzroy Basin.

Goldfish are omnivorous with an extremely diverse diet. They eat large quantities of plant material (for example, algae) and aquatic insects (for example, caddisflies and mayflies). Wild form goldfish revert to an olive-brown colour and are often mistaken for carp. Unlike carp, goldfish do not have barbels (whiskers).

Goldfish can also hybridise with carp. Although it is not known if these hybrids are fertile the hybrids are listed as noxious.

Goldfish ulcer disease (Aeromonas salmonicida) is a bacterial fish disease. It was introduced into Australia during the 1970s via infected goldfish from Japan and has now spread throughout south-eastern Australia. The bacterium is evident in wild and captive goldfish and Koi carp populations and is spread directly from fish to fish. To date there are no reports of goldfish ulcer disease infecting Australian native fishes.

Swordtails, Guppies, Platies,  One Spot Livebearers  and Sailfin Mollies

Swordtails, Guppies, Platies, One Spot Livebearers and Sailfin Mollies all belong to a group of fish known as livebearers (Family Poeciliidae).

Livebearers, or ovoviviparous fish, have internal fertilisation in which embryos develop fully within the female, culminating in birth of live larvae.

These exotic species are known to dominate fish communities in many streams in the Brisbane region, often resulting in either a reduction in native fish numbers or the total elimination of native fish species. Many of these streams have a high level of habitat disturbance.

Swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri) and platies (X. maculatus) are popular
non-indigenious a quarium species.

Swordtails in particular are now widely distributed in Brisbane and further north in coastal streams. Swordtails appear to compete for space rather than food.

The platies (X. maculatus) and sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna) have a patchy distribution throughout Australia.

In general, the introduction of a livebearer (Poeciliid species) has been shown to have detrimental effects on small surface-dwelling native fish populations.

When two or more species of livebearers are present, all surface-feeding native fish species become rare or disappear.

For example, gambusia and swordtails found together and in large numbers depress endemic fish populations.

Where guppies (Poecilia reticulata) and gambusia are abundant in Brisbane streams, native fish are rare.

Some Non-Indigenous Fish

Rosy Barb
rosy barb
Sailfin Molly
Three Spot Gourami
White Cloud Minnow
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