how do i start. first native - Aquarium Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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how do i start. first native

Hey guys, my background in aquariums has been around since my teen years so for more than 15 yrs i have had tanks. All have been tropical with you swords, neons, tetras, barbs and the like. Well, my tast is changing. Im loomking to do a native tank as something you would catch at the local pond or lake. Pekerel, bass, trout, sunfish ect. Now i know some will need a tank size that i cant put in the house so im wondering what would work for certain size tanks. One of my LFS has a selection unlike other fis h sores around me. We have the usual SW fish stores and Petco but no one carries local type fish. The one LFS that i have been in has something close with FW flounder, northern large pike (states grows to 14"..is that correct?). My other thought is to take the son fishing and see what we catch and use a net to get fish that are closer to the shore. So as of now i have an unsetup 45 gal. What fish would be able to go into this.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 04:07 PM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

Most native fish need cooler water than is usually present in an aquarium (60 vs 75). They also need O2 enriched water. In a lake fish can move to a water level where conditions are good, In an aquarium they can't, they depend on you to provive them with high quality water.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 05:49 PM
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Re: how do i start. first native

I Would try a few bluegill or yellow perch or green sunfish or perhaps a bullhead. These species should be able to attain out of local ponds, rivers, and lakes. A true Northern pike will outgrow your tank, and you wont be able to keep much with him. Make sure the tank has good filtration, as some natives can really put stress on the water quality. They do get very personable and friendly and you will be happy with them!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 09:31 PM
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Re: how do i start. first native

A Chiller to keep the tank cool.

My 240g Reef Tank Pics
Water Parameter: Alk-8:PH-8.2:Cal420:Phosphate.05:Temp77:Nitrates-20:Mag1250:SG1.025
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

First, check your laws. Where I am, the penalty for keeping a 'game fish' is nasty.
Northerns are big suckers - try three feet. Plus, they eat lots of live fish and pollute like mad.
I've kept all sorts of shiners, dace, mudminnows and native killies over the years - I used to frequent the bait shops as much as I did pet stores. You would need a cool tank, and summer is an issue for them.
In a 45, even a sunfish gets kind of big - northern fish are generally bigger than southern ones (more oxygen in cool water?) and are harder to keep. It can be done though, if it is legal and the fish isn't a predator.
Most of the natives I've enjoyed have been way north of you, but a quick check of the minnow and darters (darters are beyond nice) of your region would probably pay off. There's lots of info online.
You also have the option of buying and getting natives from outside your range shipped to you.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

I have had several native tanks with several different fish. I have had Bass, sunfish, Bluegill, Pike(young), darters, Minnows, dace, Flag-Fish, Least Killi, Bluefin Killi, and some I never identified. Right now I have 2, 1 has Heterandria Formosa(Least Killifish), Jordanella Floridae(Flag-Fish), 5 Darters(not positive on ID), 1 or 2 Gambusia and 1 straggler Golden Topminnow. The other tank has around 7 Golden Topminnow's, some Least Killi, some Gambusia, around 6 Crayfish, Ghost shrimp, and a handful of snails. Almost forgot about the Juvi Bluegill in the first tank.







55 Gallon Planted dirt bottom,Reproducing colony of Heterandria Formosa(Least Killifish), 2 1 inch Bass, 5 or so Gambusia, 5 Swamp darters???, 2 Floridae Jordanella,
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 03:23 PM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

Nice photos above.

One of the guidelines for serious keepers of local fish is to never return a fish to nature, even if it outgrows the tank. Releasing fish in to the wild is a bad idea. In the tank, they can be exposed to pathogens, parasites and diseases different from the ones in the local environment, and you don't ever want to release a new problem into our already stressed ecosystems.

Once I catch a fish, I consider it dead to nature. It isn't going back. That's why I think that keeping fish that will outgrow the set up is wrong.

There are tons of wild fish of an appropriate size, and a big part of the fun is that they can be there without us even knowing it. I used to do a lot of sport fishing, and even with that, when I started looking for small stuff, i was shocked at what was around here.

dirtydutch is in an amazing place for wild aquarium fish - those little Florida killies are very neat fish, and not too big either.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

The bass that I had had outgrown my tank, he reached around 16 inches and Bass pro took him because I did not want to release him back, my sunfish and bluegill were eaten by the bass.

55 Gallon Planted dirt bottom,Reproducing colony of Heterandria Formosa(Least Killifish), 2 1 inch Bass, 5 or so Gambusia, 5 Swamp darters???, 2 Floridae Jordanella,
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 04:48 PM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

I had a friend with a bass who fed it four inch minnows. Those guys can eat. He had it in a huge tank in a freezing basement. Who needs a pirhana when you have a delicious bass?
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 05:14 AM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

Collecting your own fish puts you into their environment, and there is a lot to be learned. If I collect half an hour south of my house, the fish on that side of the river are different from the species on the northern bank and up. That got me looking at local geology, and then at the history of the ancient Champlain Sea - you can take it as far as you want to.
Too many aquarists act as if our fish come from shops, literally. It never occurs to them to look at different environments, water flow, types of water, evolutionary history, specialized adaptations, etc. Native 'fishing' can make you see that very clearly - why is there a population of rainbow darters here, hundreds of km away from any others of their species - why does Fish A favor blackwater beaver dam ponds and what does that mean when you keep it, etc.

You think of that, then read of where the fish you want from the tropics naturally occur and start connecting the dots, and all of a sudden this hobby gets a lot more intriguing.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

In the native tanks I have kept I ran them at around 74 degrees and have tried to mimic their true homes substrate. 1 of my tanks right now(20 gallon long) has a dirt/sand substrate mix, with some gravel mixed in, the other is a dirt bottom capped with sand and rocks with exposed sand where most of the plants are growing. I have not had any deaths in either of these in over 8 months and I have had my least killi's, gambusia, and top minnows breed like crazy. Working on the flag-fish and darters now, darters have been showing signs of breeding over the last 2 weeks, I'm hoping for the best!

55 Gallon Planted dirt bottom,Reproducing colony of Heterandria Formosa(Least Killifish), 2 1 inch Bass, 5 or so Gambusia, 5 Swamp darters???, 2 Floridae Jordanella,
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 10:02 AM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

I agree, I started with Cichlids and got bored. When I decided first to do a native I was not sure how I would feel, but have learned a lot about the fish we have here and found the beauty in so many of them. Truth is that some of our natives have, in my opinion more personality than a lot of store bought tropicals. Its funny when I reach into my larger tank my wild caught least killi's and darters will swim through my fingers and rub on the back of my hand, my darters(well 2 of them anyway) have gotten so used to me at the tank that when im cleaning or rearranging things they will swim up and rest on my hand and fingers. Its awsome to watch them and the way the different species interact together, my bluegill schools with my flag-fish all the time.

55 Gallon Planted dirt bottom,Reproducing colony of Heterandria Formosa(Least Killifish), 2 1 inch Bass, 5 or so Gambusia, 5 Swamp darters???, 2 Floridae Jordanella,
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 03:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

Thats what i was thinking of doing first is grabbing a net and seeing what i can catch right at the bank first since most of the smaller fish will be there. I was thinking of putting the tank in my basement (finished) and maybe that would be a good temp area for them. I know in the winter the downstairs is around mid to low 60s and in the summer usually abouta bit warmer..may almost 70. SO the water may be a little cooler than those tmps. But i see more and more vids of the native fish and cant wait to get the tank setup
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 07:01 AM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

The location seems good. I'd study a field guide before I fished - small species will hang around the banks, but so will the young of eventually huge ones.

You get the luxury of studying the natural home of the fish. I had two species of local darters once. I was able to see that one of them, olmstedi, liked slow moving water really close to the bank, and really shallow. The other nigrans, seemed to always be a bit deeper in water a bit faster. So they got the big filter and olmstedi got the slower flow, and they acted much like they did in the wild. I could walk down to the river and watch to see how things compared and if I was getting it right.

I caught stunning red bellied dace behind beaver dams, in peaty clean brown water, and when I set them up like that, they glowed. They didn't look great in clear water. You look around, you learn, and that adds to your satisfaction at making it all work out.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 11:56 AM
 
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Re: how do i start. first native

I have a pumpkin seed sunfish in a 90 gallon tank with some fast moving minnow type fish. His tank is unheated but he copes with the high summer temps better than my tropicals, in fact it really brings out his colors. He has a huge personality, more like a pet than most fish. Very hardy and beautiful but messy, territorial and can grow fairly large. I Personally would not put several sunfish in a tank unless it was a very large tank.
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