Heartless fly-tippers dump AQUARIUM filled with fish gasping in half-inch of water

ANIMAL cruelty investigators are looking into something fishy – the fly-tipping of an aquarium with four prized goldfish floundering in grubby water.

Rescued goldfish recovering

Rescued goldfish recovering (Image: RSPCA)

The three traditional goldfish and a black moor goldfish were gasping in just half an inch of water before they were rescued. Luckily, a passing animal lover spotted the tank at a notorious rubbish dumping spot and alerted the RSPCA. Because the aquarium was so large, investigators believe the fish dumpers are likely to have been seen abandoning the tank.


RSPCA investigators are appealing for help after the tank and fish were left the near the Citident Dental Centre in Yearlstone Square, Milton Keynes, last week.

Animal Collection Officer Samantha Harris described how the dirty tank with only a small amount of water along with gravel and stones and some fish food had been abandoned at a well-known dumping ground.

She said: “At first, the passerby who spotted them thought it was an empty tank. There is always fly-tipping under that particular archway from bits of furniture to bags of rubbish but it was only on closer inspection that they realised there were four fish inside half an inch of dirty water, and the poor fish were very lethargic.

“It’s a fairly large tank and would have been quite heavy with the water and gravel inside so I’m hoping someone must have spotted this being dumped.”

Large fish tank dumped at fly-tipping site

The large fish tank dumped at fly-tipping site with half an inch of water (Image: RSPCA)

One of the four dumped fishes

One of the four fishes dumped in tank (Image: RSPCA)

While fears about dogs and cats spark the bulk of the 149,000 complaints the RSPCA receives a year, the neglect of exotic animals and fish features all too regularly feature in the million-plus calls to the charity’s cruelty line.

ACO Harris explained: “Unfortunately, people often assume that fish are easy pets to care for but looking after them and providing for their needs can actually be quite complex. Fish can’t show their feelings as clearly as mammals can and meeting their complex biological, environmental and behavioural needs takes lots of preparation, and any owner will need to invest plenty of time and care.

“A common misconception, particularly with goldfish, is that they live for no more than five years and reach about 12cm in length. In actual fact, this fish which is typically seen as a child’s first pet can live up to 25 years and reach over 40cm - so they are a big commitment.

Fish being taken to rescue centre in bucket

Fish being rescued in bucket (Image: RSPCA)

The four fish are are now being cared for by the RSPCA Milton Keynes and North Buckinghamshire branch .

You should never physically punish your pet. It brings the animal pain and fear, and it gains you nothing. It’s a lose-lose situation. Please don’t do it.

ACO Harris added: “There is never an excuse to abandon an animal in this way and these fish were lucky that they were found by a kind member of the public when they were.”

Anyone with information about the goldfish incident is urged to call the RSPCA’s appeals line on 0300 123 8018.