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  1. #1
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    Native fish, need help!

    I want to stock my 25-30 gallon tank (can't remember how big it is) with small (younger) fish native to PA. I want a Trout of some sort, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Catfish of some sort, and a punkinseed sunfish. Right now I have a regular old crayfish and a snail from a petstore in the tank. I'm having a hard time finding info on keeping native fish, except for catfish. Any info at all relating to native fish would be greatly appreciated. Specifically I would like to know: diet, cover/habitat, compatibily, and water and filter requirements. Also my uncle told me a while ago that I should add some rock salt to the tank for native fish, he said it helps them out if they have a little bit of salt, I forget how much he told me to use though.

    Thanks in advance for any info.

    Brian





  2. #2
    Swan Crane Svc. swany's Avatar
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    As you know, these fish can get quite large and will outgrow your tank very quickly. But if your just doing it for a short time, I would recommend either getting a bag (it will be quite large) of food used for fish farming (trout pellets) or goldfish flake/pellet food. Since you could only keep them for a short time, I don't think it will make much of a difference which fish food you feed.



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    You're going to need the advice of folks at NANFA: North American Native Fishes Association, for this project. They're at www.nanfa.org (where else?)



  4. #4
    lots of small fish carpguy's Avatar
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    Coldwater fish need a lot more space than tropicals and produce a lot more waste. You would need extremely heavy filtration to keep even one of those fish in such a small tank. When you start talking about bags of fish food, start thinking about bags of fish poo.

    If you want to keep even some of those fish for any amount of time your going to need a much bigger tank.



  5. #5
    Roleplayer pinballqueen's Avatar
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    I don't think salt is really all that necessary.... however, a MUCH larger tank is. I was considering a largemouth bass for my 55 gallon, but decided against it because of space requirements. After all, that would be just about all I could comfortably keep, and I don't really want a single-fish tank.... If I could make a suggestion, you might check into very small stream fishes that are in your area, such as suckers, chubs, and the like. They're more suited to the size of tank you have, so you'll be able to keep them for more than a couple of months.

    Coldwater fish DO put off much more waste because they have to eat more than warmer-water species. Be sure to take that into consideration when choosing filtration. Pick something that would be suitable for goldfish (one of the messier common aquarium fish...).

    Also, any predatory fish like trout and bass will eat your snails, crayfish, and any smaller tankmates, so be careful what you pick.

    Native tanks are really great, and the link posted above is a good starting point. Other places to check might include your local fish and game website, so you can check for legalities, such as what you can and can't have in a home aquarium, licensing, etc.

    Good luck!



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    yes i can attest, a 25-30 gallon tank will only house one of these fish for prolly not more than a few years. i have a largemouth bass that i've had since it was 2.5" long and 2 years later my fish is 13-14" (had to upgrade tanks because of it). and when they get big the get even more aggressive, eat more, but are a lot more fun to have.

    btw i wouldn't suggest keeping any sort of trout at all. trout are much more of swimmers than bass or cats and need a ton of room if you even want to think about keeping them. i don't think anything but the largest of tanks (> 100 gal) would work but i don't have any hard evidence of it. i just know from their behavior that they would need a lot.
    "A Person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals."
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  7. #7
    There's always a bigger fish... Stephen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by quick061
    btw i wouldn't suggest keeping any sort of trout at all. trout are much more of swimmers than bass or cats and need a ton of room if you even want to think about keeping them. i don't think anything but the largest of tanks (> 100 gal) would work but i don't have any hard evidence of it. i just know from their behavior that they would need a lot.
    I don't think I'd keep a trout in anything that mother nature didn't make. Trout in general live in cold streams and lakes with very good water conditions and water movement. They grow rainbows in Va in raceways and ponds but keeping one in a glass aquarium could turn out very bad for the fish. A few reason being they like to be kept in schools, like to move around a lot, are VERY skidish, and need very good water and good current.

    My nephews and I spent half the summer in many trout streams in Va watching brooks (we call them natives here and gosh they are beautiful), browns, and rainbows. One place we visited at least twice a week and spent hours (sometimes all day) there floating above thier heads. They never got used to us being there. The chub, smallmouth bass, bluegill, madtoms, and perch didn't mind after a few times. But the trout would always leave the deep hole when we entered for water we weren't able to float in. We were able to get close to the trout at times but it required us cornering them and being perfectly still. Any slight movement and they would rush to a different area.

    Beautiful fish though. I myself would like to keep them at home but know they don't belong there. Personally I wouldn't keep them in anything except at least a 10,000 gallon tank that was exactly like thier natural habitat. But I'd still probably feel bad about it. But that's just me.

    You've got a rather small tank there for native fish but if you want to keep something how about some small minnows or daces? Red-sided dace are really pretty little fish with thier red sides and yellow-green fins. Black banded sunfish are also small and could maybe be kept in a tank that size. A bass or larger gamefish however is going to need something very big. I you want to keep something native and are limited on tank size try the smaller fishes. Someone posted a very good site with great info earlier in this string. Another site to check out for native fish info is Virginia Techs Virtual Aquarium. Click on the minnows section and you'll see the fish I'm talking about.

    Another thing to keep in mind is this. In some states game fish are illegal to keep as pets. And the game wardens I know wouldn't have a problem writing someone a ticket for that.

    A great fish in my opinion for a 75 or larger tank is a sculpin. They are native here and wonderful lil fish. They need live fish and insects however. I recieved 6 from a friend that were very small and kept a mated pair in my 90 gallon. The rest were returned to him and he placed them in an outside pond that has an awesome lil creek that runs into it.

    THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER ABOUT NATIVE FISH IS THIS. NEVER release them back into the place you found them. Follow the "Once caught, Once bought, Never returned" rule. If you want to keep natives have a place to keep them if they outgrow your limits of providing for them. An outside pond is an idea place for most of them.

    Sorry for rambling. I just get heartbroken when I see someone keeping a bass or some sort of large gamefish in something barely big enough for most tropical fish.
    "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything..."



  8. #8
    Roleplayer pinballqueen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Firefighter





    You've got a rather small tank there for native fish but if you want to keep something how about some small minnows or daces? Red-sided dace are really pretty little fish with thier red sides and yellow-green fins. Black banded sunfish are also small and could maybe be kept in a tank that size. A bass or larger gamefish however is going to need something very big. I you want to keep something native and are limited on tank size try the smaller fishes. Someone posted a very good site with great info earlier in this string. Another site to check out for native fish info is Virginia Techs Virtual Aquarium. Click on the minnows section and you'll see the fish I'm talking about.

    Another thing to keep in mind is this. In some states game fish are illegal to keep as pets. And the game wardens I know wouldn't have a problem writing someone a ticket for that.


    THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER ABOUT NATIVE FISH IS THIS. NEVER release them back into the place you found them. Follow the "Once caught, Once bought, Never returned" rule. If you want to keep natives have a place to keep them if they outgrow your limits of providing for them. An outside pond is an idea place for most of them.
    Oh, I totally forgot about dace! Gorgeous little fish!
    Also, completely true about the legal aspects. Chances of getting caught might be slim, but it only takes one time to have some really hefty fines (as well as a game warden that watches you like a hawk from then on...).

    If you ever catch a fish in your local waterway, planning on keeping it for its entire life is the only responsible thing to do. Putting it back when it gets too big means possibly exposing the entire lake to diseases it might never have seen otherwise, such as ich or exotic fungi that are not native to your area (but might be a common thing in aquariums). Not to mention the impact of adding a large fish to a delicate ecosystem where territories are already established....

    You might consider, if you really love natives and want them in your home, having your tanks inside, and an outdoor pond to move them to when they outgrow their indoor environment. That way it's win-win: you get to keep the fish to a ripe old age, and you don't have to resort to contaminating your local lakes, plus the fish get spoiled for the entirety of their lives, not just the first part! (And spoiling our fish rotten is what we do best, right?)



  9. #9
    There's always a bigger fish... Stephen's Avatar
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    A correction to my first post. They are called redbelly dace, not red sided.
    "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything..."



  10. #10
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    Well, now we know where your true heart lies, Firefighter.



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