Aquarium Pets and Plants


In Oregon, several species of house pets  and aquarium pets and plants have become or could become invasive if they are simply released into the wild.

For example, it turns out that the harmless goldfish most of us had as pets are far from harmless if released into the wild. If goldfish find their way into Central Oregon’s Crane Prairie Reservoir, they could spread throughout the upper Deschutes watershed and destroy the region’s lucrative sport fishing economy.


Tips to be a responsible pet owner

  • Before you take critters home, learn about the animal's particular needs so that you'll be able to care for it for the long-term. 
  • Never release any nonnative organism into the wild.
  • Learn to identify native reptiles so you won’t confuse them with exotics.
  • Keep our natives safe and sound in their natural habitats! Never move water, animals, or plants from one body of water to another.
  • Learn to recognize common invaders.
  • Share your knowledge with others.
  • Report invasive species. In Oregon, call 1-866-INVADER.
  • If you have a pet reptile, like a red-eared slider, make sure you know the regulations.

Proper disposal of aquatic plants and animals


Aquatic plants

  • Completely dry or freeze the plants, then add them to conventional garbage that does not get composted.
  • Compost should be avoided because many seeds can withstand drying and freezing.

Fish and invertebrates

  • Contact the place where you purchased the animal to see if they will take it back.
  • Research reputable rescue groups for the species and seek their help.
  • Approach local science centers, zoos, or aquaria to see if they can use the animal for educational purposes.
  • If all else fails, euthanize the animal in a humane manner -- it's far kinder than letting it starve to death in the wild or letting it destroy the homes of our native animals and plants. 


  • Add enough bleach to the water in which the organisms were shipped to make a minimum 5% solution (1 part bleach to 20 parts water). Dispose of in a sanitary sewer, never down a storm drain.


  • Because packaging is designed to keep your classroom species alive, it also keeps unwanted hitchhikers alive. Treat it with bleach solution if possible and dispose of it in conventional garbage
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