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What would be the perfect North American tank?


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I saw some rainbow shiners for sale online recently and wow are they beautiful! It got me thinking about what to put in a North American tank, if I could find space for it.

Since I live in New England, aren't too many aquarium-size species out here to collect. I'd probably have to take a trip down south, or just pay someone who lives there or breeds them. And while I'd love to start a pond instead for native species, I probably couldn't do it year round.

But what would you put in your perfect North American tank? How big would it be? What plants would you include? Any inverts?

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I’ve got a 29 gal. North American natives tank. For filtration, an Emperor 280 HOB and sponge filter. Eco complete for substrate. Plants are Bronze crypt, Valisneria Americana, and a few melon swords (it’s not trying to be a “biotope” per say). Hardscape is half a dozen large Mexican beach pebbles, 12 or so smooth landscaping pebbles, and an aged piece of mopani wood. Fish stocking is (1) a pair of rainbow darters for the bottom (2) ca. 30x rainbow shiners (3) a single pair of Florida Flagfish as “centerpiece” fish. It is by far my favorite of our... 20 tanks.

 

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I think I would want a stream tank set up with trout and crayfish. I know that is incredibly impractical. It would need to be huge, and refrigerated. But those are the freshwater fish I would want. 

The only way I would do a salt tank ever would be if I could do a PNW tidal tank. we have INCREDIBLY beautiful invertebrates here, and the rock fish are also pretty spectacular. Again, needing to keep it cold enough would be the issue.

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For livestock (Just the US)
Gambusia holbrooki (eastern mosquitofish) - I saw some of these on aquabid that are b&w spotted (possibly het melanistic)
Elassoma okefenokee - Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish
Palaemonetes paludosus - American Ghost/Glass Shrimp
Scuds

Including Mexico as well, any of the Goodeids:
Ameca splendens
or
Limia perugia
 

 

For plants the sky is the limit:
Ceratophyllum echinatum
Ludwigia
Bacopa caroliniana
Cabomba caroliniana
Echinodorus barteri,
Echinodorus cordifolius
Echinodorus tenellus
Sagittaria kurziana
Vallisneria americana
Nymphoides aquatica

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My Reddit account is just fish pictures and I keep many different natives. If you want to see a couple generic setups, I’ve linked the account  

https://www.reddit.com/user/1uninterested/submitted/

Shiners/dace are usually pretty easy and there are tons of colorful species. They usually keep well with the smaller native killifish, Enneacanthus sunfish, and the two small Lepomis sunfish species (dollar / orangespotted).
 

Darters are also awesome but are sometimes challenging to feed in a community tank.  
 

If you wanted to do a New England themed tank, I believe banded sunfish, a couple native killifish (banded and blackline) and swamp darters are local to the area.  There’s no doubt a New England local out there somewhere who could tell you a lot more than I could.

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26 minutes ago, Nordlys Fish Room said:

If you wanted to do a New England themed tank, I believe banded sunfish, a couple native killifish (banded and blackline) and swamp darters are local to the area.  There’s no doubt a New England local out there somewhere who could tell you a lot more than I could.

Whoaaa cool, I gotta look those up! Thanks for the tip!

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so many choices with a n american tank, limited only by size and imagination.  for smaller aquariums there are tons of minnows, shiners, creek chubs, darters, dwarf sunfish etc. large aquariums have vast options, all the smaller ones plus all the game fish, panfish, perch, bass, walleye, trout. for those with swimming pools, the biggies, gar, sturgeon, muskie, northern pike etc.

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I went to undergraduate at a small university in SW Texas down by Big Bend National Park. I worked in the labs of a couple of different professors. One of which was a vertebrate biologist. I had the privilege of field work on several of the mosquitofishes (G. gagei and G. alvarezi, and G. nobilis). Those fishes and the herps (colubrids and crotalids) are pretty special to me. The mosquitofish are (and were then) endangered and not available to the trade, but G. affinis and G. holbrooki are still good choices.

 

The het melanistic G. holbrooki look like this (image from seller on Aquabid):

fwusnative1617894611 - 2 trios wild Gambusia holbrooki with spotted males

 

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I personally think darters are a really awesome fish, and there are some incredible colors on some of the species. I love @Fish Folk's shiner tank! If I had room for one more tank... Darters and shiners all the way. I'm not personally sold on the flag fish though. Well, two more tanks, first would come the 20 long pea puffer colony tank...

In my 10gal native tank with pygmy sunfish, least killies, lemon killies, blue fin killies, and a single swamp darter, the darter eats crushed flake and microworm like everyone else, and he doesn't seem to have any trouble darting around and getting food. I tend to feed heavy though and have a ton of plants.

Edited by ererer
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Candy cane darters or orangethoated darter they're are so many beautiful species of darter that would look great in a biotope aquarium

Screenshot_20210408-034152~2.png

Screenshot_20210408-034720~2.png

Edited by Colu
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4 minutes ago, Colu said:

Candy cane darters or orangethoated darter they're are so many beautiful species look great in a biotope aquarium

Screenshot_20210408-034152~2.png

Screenshot_20210408-034720~2.png

Can you buy captive bred candy darters? They're listed as endangered and I don't know if any are being bred by hobbyists or whether it's allowed to sell them. They are a great looking fish.

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I have seen rainbow darter and orangethoated darter and a couple of other species for sale resently but not candy cane darters I was using them as an example to show have colourful they are  @ererer

Edited by Colu
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7 hours ago, Colu said:

I have seen rainbow darter and orangethoated darter and a couple of other species for sale resently but not candy cane darters I was using them as an example to show have colourful they are  @ererer

Check out Jonah’s Aquarium for natives.   Mark really does a great job there. We buy most of our natives from him. 

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19 minutes ago, Fish Folk said:

Check out Jonah’s Aquarium for natives.   Mark really does a great job there. We buy most of our natives from him. 

Yup, I'm familiar! Was browsing their stock list before bed last night after reading this thread....

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(Doing a water change on shiner / darter / Flagfish tank) One random note: I add dried oak leaves beneath large Mexican beach pebbles. Their breakdown helps micro life, and mimics natural water contexts...

48E84360-9197-4703-B8AB-39803E93C951.jpeg

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17 hours ago, Colu said:

Candy cane darters or orangethoated darter they're are so many beautiful species of darter that would look great in a biotope aquarium

Screenshot_20210408-034152~2.png

Screenshot_20210408-034720~2.png

I can't get over the insanely bright and beautiful colors here. What a wealth of striking and exciting fish we have here in North America.

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I ran out of responses, otherwise, I would have ❤️ all of the responses. Thanks, @Fish Folk for sharing your rainbow tank. I LOVE it!

I add dried oak leaves to my tank, too. I shop my yard for nano-tank sized leaves. 😄 My snails are devouring them, though.

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