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Anyone Keeping Native Darters?


Fish Folk
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Anyone on the forum keeping U.S. Native Darters? 

Very excited to be getting a male & female pair of Rainbow Darters this week. Got a tank set up for them. 68-degrees F, Lots of filtration, lots of flow. Snails to feed (in other aquariums), along with frozen blood worms (which the seller tells us is what they're fed currently). The occasional chopped up earthworm is also on the menu. Got their dedicated 29 gal set up. Planning to also add some lovely Rainbow Shiners. Lots of Greens going in the back left corner -- probably Valisneria Americana -- to wobble in the current flow. Added a small HYDOR water-fan / powerhead to push the water through the tank.  

 

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Got them— these are so cool!

found tons of info on keeping and breeding native fish on NANFA. Archived breeding reports are amazing study sources:

http://www.nanfa.org/ac2.shtml
 

Conferred more with the seller. Ours are wild caught. Ohio river drainage. The males color up as temperature is cooler. Spawning is triggered by increasing light to 16+ hrs duration. Many lay eggs in substrate; however, spawning reports indicate that some aquarists found success using spawning mops. Eggs hatch in tank water, 10-12 days. Fry require green water, micro worms, or rotifers... vinegar eels might do too. After a week, they can take bbs. 

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22 minutes ago, OceanTruth said:

I don't think I can keep their tank cool enough during the summer months. Not many people seem to be all that into native species in the U.S.

It is a concern. Long term, I think I’ll be getting a chiller. Native US fish are so amazing. 
 

watch these clips from “Hidden Rivers”

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Steph’s Fish and Plants said:

I hope to be able to work with natives someday

There are so many small, easy-to-keep natives. The key is being able to keep the tank cool. For may species, it's important that the water _not_ get much above 70 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods of time. We're working towards getting a chiller -- you just pump the water out, it goes through a box about the size of a canister filter where you can set the temperature to the desired temp for water, and then attach the return back up to your tank. 

Here's an epic list of just about every species in North America: http://www.nanfa.org/checklist.shtml

Here's a few that have caught our eye from among the more colorful native US fish to look into for aquarium keeping: 

Okefenokee pygmy sunfish

Rainbow shiners

Darters -- there's lots, and lots to choose from

Southern Red-belly Dace

American Flagfish

 

 

Pygmy Sunfish (Male).jpg

Rainbow Shiner (Male).png

Watercress Darter (Male).jpg

Redbelly Dace.jpg

American Flagfish.jpg

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Here is a short video showing the tank with the darters. They are not terribly photogenic (yet). But adorably cute! Since they're from Ohio, the Buckeye State, the fella is named "Bucky" and the gal is "Doe." I think he's trying to fight his reflection in this video. They're a bit like a cross between . . . a goby . . . and a tiny walleye. The male may color up brilliantly if I can get this tank temperature down into the lower 60s-F, or upper 50s-F. In time, I'll have to invest in a chiller. From some nanfa.com archived breeding reports, they'll sometimes take to a spawning mop for laying eggs, like killifish. 

 

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10 hours ago, Fish Folk said:

The key is being able to keep the tank cool. For may species, it's important that the water _not_ get much above 70 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods of time.

The nice thing about pymgy sunfish is in my experience they are perfect happy in temperature ranges from 40°F to 90°F. Pygmy sunfish are the most temperature tolerate fish I have ever kept.

I have had them over winter in iced over outdoor ponds, and I have found them in ditches with the water temperature over 90°F.

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A fish room in a house with an unheated/unfinished cellar would be ideal for cool loving fish. My cellar almost never is much above 60-65 degrees. Our old forced air heater (1950's-60's era?)  that was in the basement had a feature to take advantage of that. The back hatch that you would remove to change the air filter was the same size as the air filter. The air filter slid into a channel at the cool air return inlet. In the summer you'd take the cover off and put that in the slot blocking the cool air return line and slide the air filter into the slot that housed the back cover in the cooler months. The fan had a manual switch that you could then turn on. Instead of pulling air from the air return ducts it would then pull in the air from the basement which was cooler. The air filter kept airborne junk out and you got the nice cool air from your cellar coming out the heater vents cooling the house. It was a very clever design and a good way to avoid needing air conditioning. Hassock fans would then circulate the cool air through the rooms. It was a very energy efficient way to cool a home. I assumed every heater had that feature and was surprised to find none did in the 1980s when I had to replace the heater. Everyone had moved to air conditioning by then. You don't have to go too far down into the ground to find 50 and 60 degree temps pretty much year round.

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Anectdote time: I worked for the Ohio EPA for some time. In our office space, everyone had fish tanks, the manage of surface water was huge into the fish hobby.

 

However, we have a voucher permit from the state that allowed us to take samples for data, study, and to put in preservatives for ID. We mainly got these when we were electro shocking. 

We had SO many native Ohio fish! Our tank in the office was an invasive tank at first! I kept 3 round gobys and 3-4 western banded killifish which can be found in the Ashtabula river. Very Invasive. 

Eventually, we added a log perch to the tank. All did great! I miss them so much.

Other tanks had all the native dsrters, shiners, minnows, and Dace we could get!

My coworker next door had a tank with a gold fish and a bowfin!! The bowfin was raised all the way up from a small 1-2 inch juvenile. It basically a water puppy now. 

Native fish are amazing, nothing gets more colorful than some breeding pattern Darters or Rainbow Shiners.

 

 

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1 minute ago, gardenman said:

I wonder if American native fish are popular overseas?

I think you hit the nail on the head. That is where they are popular. I have heard of giant display tanks in Germany using our native pumpkinseed sunfish that look awesome. Same with pygmy sunfish, very popular in Europe.

Makes you wonder what kind of aquarium fish do you keep if you live in Brazil or Peru?

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2 hours ago, stowcenter93 said:

Native fish are amazing, nothing gets more colorful than some breeding pattern Darters or Rainbow Shiners

Can’t wait to get some Rainbow Shiners to complete our first native tank! Hope to soon. Unfortunately... USPS has rendered a recent mailing “sushi.” It will  be multiple weeks DOA once it arrives. Maybe interesting biology lesson on decomposition... 🤪

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1 hour ago, Daniel said:

what kind of aquarium fish do you keep if you live in Brazil or Peru?

I think there may be more of a financial motivation there for keeping in Amazon region than mere hobbyist enjoyment. Michael Barber, member of our fish club, tells about getting a bunch of Apistos from a guy who kept them in his house in a little tank. Motivation seemed “for profit.”

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10 minutes ago, Colu said:

I was reading about darter  alot are endangered and under threat though hybridisation 

In ohio, darters are threatened by erosion and poor water quality. They are found in riffles with gravel or cobble, put ideally they just need low silt levels and high oxygen from higher flow.

Johnny's, Rainbows, Banded, fantails, and greensides are all pretty common ones to see here if you go looking. I have never seen a hybrid when I was electro fishing. 

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11 minutes ago, Colu said:

 

I was reading about darter  alot are endangered and under threat though hybridisation 

 

Some darters are endangered. Others are quite prolific. Some studies may indicate hybridization. nanfa.org has some fascinating archived articles free for anyone to read.  

This short video is fascinating. “Urban”darters in Turkey Creek. Endangered, but surviving. The fish is the town mascot / emblem:


 

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4 hours ago, Daniel said:

The nice thing about pymgy sunfish is in my experience they are perfect happy in temperature ranges from 40°F to 90°F. Pygmy sunfish are the most temperature tolerate fish I have ever kept.

They look like a lot of fun! Wish they were longer-lived, but I’m so ADD in the hobby, I’d probably get a lifetime of enjoyment after a couple generations. 

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