Don’t dump fish and aquarium casually
Question: I can no longer care for my fish. Will the Hawaiian Humane Society take them, as well as my aquarium?
Answer: The Humane Society welcomes all animals and works hard to find a family for all pets. Bringing in your fish in their original home environment is always best.
The worst thing you could do is flush them down your toilet or abandon them to streams, lakes or the ocean. Such actions pose a threat to Hawaii's native stream animals, unique freshwater ecosystems and reefs.
In 2003, Wahiawa's Lake Wilson -- the state's largest body of fresh water -- was covered in the invasive, floating water fern Salvinia molesta, believed to be the result of aquarium dumping. The fern not only blocked water birds from the lake and killed fish, but cost $1.2 million in tax dollars to clear.
Parents can teach children that releasing pet fish in the wild is harmful to the environment for a number of reasons. Their reproduction might be impossible to control. They could cause changes in the ecosystem such as infecting native fish with parasites or disease, or they could affect the genetics of native species.
Q: Besides the Humane Society, what other agencies accept aquatic life?
A: On Oahu, fresh- and saltwater aquatic life can be taken to the Waikiki Aquarium and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture plant quarantine building. Drop-off locations, including neighbor island sites, can also be found at www.hear.org/cgaps/pdfs/habitattitudedropoff.pdf.
You might also want to consider giving your fish to another aquarist or pond owner or donating them to an aquarium society.
When disposing of aquatic plants, seal them in a plastic bag and dispose with green waste or the trash.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, email@example.com. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.