Could it be done with good intentions, thinking at least this way they will live? Or just really thoughtless actions?

Either way, what appears to be aquatic pets from private aquariums being dumped into our waters has the attention of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Recently, two discoveries has officials on high alert and feeling the need to increase awareness that such actions are not harmless to Montana waters.

FWP says it might seem like a good idea at the time, but dumping an aquarium pet into a lake or river is not good for the pet or for the native wildlife. The pet probably won’t survive, and native wildlife won’t know how to compete with the invasive species.

Earlier this spring, Montana FWP personnel were able to identify two species that were the result of aquarium dumps, one such finding thanks to an experienced, conscientious local angler.

Flathead Lake Montana
Image courtesy of Getty Images, Heather Broccard-Bell


The first detection was mystery snails, or spiked-topped apple snails, at Finley Point in Flathead Lake. Mystery snails are an aquarium snail that are found in many waters in the west. But this is the first mystery snail population identified in Montana. FWP plans to attempt to remove the snail population later this season.

Near Bozeman, an angler reported catching a Dojo loach in a small pond. A rather creepy, prehistoric-looking creature, the Dojo loach is native to east Asia and is a popular aquarium pet in the United States.

These and many more species intended for aquariums at home or exhibits do NOT belong in the waters of Montana. FWP encourages aquarium enthusiasts to be responsible. Additional advice can be found at the website Don't Let It Loose.

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