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Fish Folk

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  1. It’s been one of the greatest honors in my hobby to help set up tanks for others. This is especially the case with our local Hospital Cancer Center. They’ve got a 120 gallon aquarium in their waiting room. I was able to donate all plants from our home tanks, and partner with an LFS to donate fish. Today, I’m catching 12x young Electric Blue Acaras to add. It’s hilarious how hard they are to catch. There’s 200+ in this Growout tank, but they’re very evasive… Eventually I caught 12x, and set them in a net breeder until bagging + delivery time… I’ll be updating this post over the next three hours with more details. My Mom was a cancer survivor, though she passed away a few weeks back. I know the battle with cancer is very hard, and want to express my heartfelt care for anyone in the fight.
  2. Your photos look beautiful! I’d enjoy a 2-min video of your tank, just to observe your fish in action. If you’re wanting to breed them, you’ll need to confirm that you’ve got a pair. Of course the ones with a clearly pink belly are females. But sometimes they can be tricky to sex, if you’re female is a bit darker — rendering the belly more purple. I’ve found that for breeding, temperature 80°-F or a bit warmer are preferable. They seem to respond well to 25% water changes and live foods. If you set a flat stone — the sort best for skipping on water — in the tank with a bit of sheltering privacy, a breeding pair will tend to gravitate towards that. For just keeping long term (not breeding) they’ll appreciate that 80°-F temperature point, however, they’ll die sooner with warmer water since it speeds up their metabolism. They can be comfortable at 76°-F and up. In the wild, of course, temps vary widely. Ill mention that there’s a young aquarist in New Zealand that my son’s gotten to know through the hobby who is finding success with Rams. It might be worth checking out his approach too, and seeing if he’s got any tips. His recent video on Rams is here…
  3. Awesome! My favorite fish in the hobby. Hands down. There are some interesting Electric Blue and Golden variations, but this standard color form is just the best. Best wishes! PM if you need any particular feedback.
  4. It’s wisteria, a hygro that varies its leaf shape depending on light and nutrients.
  5. Guppies keep dropping fry. Quite a haul now. Started with less than a dozen. Now… hard to count!
  6. Still chugging away at bits of research. Here's a nice thread on NANFA Forum, ca. 2012 - Q&A about "breeding darters." This is spectacular info to weigh and consider. Especially the seasonal cool-down & photo-period change . . . very interesting. Also the recommended 1:3 ratio is worth pondering. Removing parents to allow fry successful growth sets up some interesting puzzles for me to consider.
  7. Yeah, I’ve definitely seen the differences between outdoor mini ponds vs inside aquariums.
  8. The most important lesson of all is not “don’t be afraid of the dark,” but rather, “Don’t be afraid of the Light.”
  9. Can you show your set up for this? Sounds very interesting.
  10. I used to be opposed to any sunlight on my tanks. But I’m learning to embrace it in moderation. This 29 gal. U. S. Native tank gets a couple hours of filtered sunlight each morning. Rainbow Shiners, Redtail Goodeids, and Rainbow Darters all do well in the light and high flow + aeration. Here’s one minute of sunlight on the tank…
  11. Water change on Ram fry Growout tank. Some “Ram”bling…
  12. I’m unable to get the Darters until about October 7th or so due to travels. So this is what I do while waiting! This tank is really looking forward to hosting Banded Darters…
  13. Check out this video, starting at 11:33 - Blueside Darters (Etheostoma jessiae) -- very rare find! Wild Rainbow Darter males at 20:03
  14. Start this video at 4:20 for an introductory Ichthyology lecture on Kentucky Darters.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TINMR5b5Jg Note: "Etheostoma" is pronounced by the teacher on this video: "ee-thee-AH-stoh-mah" Totally different from how I've been saying it in my mind . . . 😅
  15. My 5-yr old darter-catching son just brought me this… Like the bird field guides, this is the U. S. Native fish field guide with photos. Here’s the Banded darter photograph. Nice specimen! This is the species description in the back half. Excellent info! I’ll mention… this book is totally destroyed… because my boy decided it would be great to read while in the bath 🤦‍♂️ 💦
  16. Another JSTOR find: "Systematics of the Banded Darter, Etheostoma zonale (Pisces: Percidae)" - 1974. This is a right proper 24-page article. The authors attest to having looked at a total of 3,658 specimens!!!
  17. There's a handful of photographs of Etheostoma zonale (Banded darter) specimens photographed back in the 1980s. Here are a few shots, just to illustrate several colorations. Some of this may depend on maturity, genetics, diet, breeding / non-breeding season, substrate, flora, etc. Another possibility is that these photos may be of both males and females. The 2nd one down almost looks more like a Greenside Darter in spawning coloration.
  18. Another interesting article on JSTOR titled "Substrate Choice by Three Species of Darters (Teleostei: Percidae) in an Artificial Stream: Effects of a Nonnative Species." This is interesting, because I know that for Rainbow Darters, in the wild the substrate of streams and rivers is a majorly important factoring their spawning methods. I love the secondary info that can be obtained with these studies. One quote on feeding stood out, "We fed fish a combination of live California Blackworms and ground trout pellets three times daily at 0800, 1200, and 1600 through ties that emptied at the stream bottom ..." I've been planning on feeding live blackworms, but had not found anyone who stated that as the basis for their darter diet until here. I am planning to buy some live blackworms from up in PA, and follow the seller's instructions for keeping them alive and well in our fridge.
  19. If you go to the NANFA homepage, there's a "Search" bar in the lower left of the page. I've discovered that entering any native U. S. fish yields a TON of articles . . . I may have shared this in some other form, but this explains how to set up various kinds of Darter aquariums to best meet their unique species needs.
  20. I’m primarily an auditory learner, so it’s with great pleasure that I found and have begun enjoying this podcast featuring guests Henny Kruckenberg and Konrad Schmidt (Minnesota Aquarium Society / NANFA).
  21. Signed up for a free JSTOR research account in order to read Ichthyology Journal articles. Easiest to search using Latin binomial names. Here was one I read today, “Spawning Behavior of Etheostoma Zonale” (1994).
  22. The Tennessee Aquarium does really great work with native U. S. fish. I like to examine the tank designs for their Tennessee Darter display here. Just a brief glimpse, but interesting…
  23. Continuing research on Banded Darters. A good way to really "stir up" articles, books, etc. using Google is to go to the "Advanced Book Search" page. At the top, I enter my Latin binomial: Etheostoma zonale. This leads me to an interesting 1-page professional summary here.
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