Released fish threat to natives

A POPULAR aquarium fish on the loose in Far North Coast streams is a threat to native fish.

The warning has been issued by Industry and Investment NSW acting manager of aquatic biosecurity and risk management, Melissa Walker.

The fish, known as the pearl cichlid or pearl eartheater, was first reported in the areas around Murwillumbah and Uki in late 2008.

The pest fish is believed to have been released from a personal aquarium.

The department is appealing to anglers to keep a look out for the cichlid.

“If you catch one while fishing, the best thing is to take a photo, freeze it and record exactly where you caught it, then call I&I NSW on 02 4916 3877 to let us know,” Ms Walker said.

The species, which is a native of South America, is a popular aquarium fish, having an attractive pattern of pearly spots over a grey-green body with red or red-edged fins.

When breeding, a pair cleans a nesting site and guards the eggs, and may be aggressive to other fish which enter their territory.

It is hardy, being able to survive in water down to around 10°C, and in full-strength seawater.



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