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When you think of a goldfish, a cute, tiny fish swimming in its bowl probably comes to mind. But, then again, you've probably never seen a photo of The Carrot. This oversized goldfish weighs over 67 pounds, which is about the same weight as a 10-year-old child. Of course, at that weight, The Carrot most certainly isn't living in a fishbowl. Instead, she's been roaming the waters of Bluewater Lakes in Champagne, France, for the past 20 years. But how did she get there?

The Carrot, who is a hybrid leather carp and koi carp, was actually introduced into the waters by a fishery when she was young. The incredible growth of The Carrot is a reminder that these hardy fish can grow to incredible sizes if put into open water. Intended as an attraction for fishermen coming to the lake, the giant goldfish has gained new attention thanks to British angler Andy Hackett.

The avid fisherman argued with the carrot for 25 minutes  before catching it. After taking several pictures of her, he released her into her water. Other large goldfish have been caught in the past, but carrots are heavy, making them the largest goldfish in the world. In fact, the French fish is more than 30 pounds heavier than the previous title holder caught in Minnesota in 2019. So why do these fish get so big? Goldfish belong to the cyprinid family and have historically been selectively bred. This is why goldfish come in so many different shapes, sizes and colours. They are a generic species which means  they can adapt and thrive in a variety of environments. They tend to live longer, using all available resources  to feed, reproduce and avoid predators. This also explains their success in open water.
In fact, goldfish are considered an invasive species in North America. In 2021, Minnesota authorities asked people not to leave their pets in lakes and local waterways. They reminded the public that "they grow larger than expected, block sediments and pull out plants, contributing to the deterioration of water quality."

In 2020, Minnesota's Carver County officials actually removed about 50,000 goldfish from local waters. The fish were abandoned by pet owners and drove the native species in search of food and shelter.
So while carrots may look impressive, these giant goldfish are a reminder to never  introduce non-native species into any ecosystem. It may seem harmless, but the results can be more harmful than you think.

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