What does your pet have to do with Canada’s water? Plenty. The damselfish you’re buying for your aquarium may have been captured from the wild. And that poop you forgot to pick up on your morning walk with Fido will eventually end up in your local lake or river. What will you pledge to do to save Canada’s lakes, rivers and oceans?
Don’t release Goldie the goldfish in your local stream when you don’t think you can handle her anymore. It’s not freedom for the fish or the waterway you’re introducing it to. When you dump a pet fish into a waterway you’re introducing a new species into that habitat and they can become invasive – taking over the stream, lake or river and making it harder for native fish populations to survive.
Canada doesn’t have a lot of warm water fish, so most fish you put in your aquarium are exotic species. So that begs the question, where are your fish from? Ask your pet store where they get their fish. If they are captured from the wild, move on and find a more responsible pet store that buys exclusively commercially bred fish.
After Fido has done his business in your backyard, make it your business to stoop and scoop with biodegradable poop bags. When pet droppings gets into storm water, it eventually leads to our waterways, bringing with them bacterial pollution. An estimated 15 tons of pet waste flows into ocean waters every day.
Mr. Meow might be the friendliest fluff ball you’ve ever met, but he’s still a cat. Which means cleaning the litter box isn’t an option. It might be a crappy job, no pun intended, but resist the urge to flush the cat litter down the toilet. The litter itself may contain pathogens in it, making it harmful on marine life. Chuck it in the garbage instead.
Remember that the fungicide you’re using to clean your aquarium will have a negative affect downstream when you dump it down the drain. They’re chockfull of nutrients and pharmaceuticals that can alter the habitat in your local waterway.
When you hit the pet shop to purchase plants and rocks for your aquarium, do some research. Don’t be afraid to ask where the coral is from. Because you never know. It could have once been a live piece of coral from Indonesia that was bleached.
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So you’re ready to take the Water Challenge! Great!