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Started Native Aquariums: Assistance Request...


Moose-Hunter

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Howdy All....

As the title says, I have started one of two native species tanks. The first, a 30 gallon, is a "test bed" for the larger 150 gallon tank. If I can get smaller native fish (various minnows and maybe 2 of 3 very small crappies) to thrive in the 30, I'll use what I've learned to get the 150 operational and stock it with the "larger" species which may consist of larger panfish and possibly a walleye or two. All of these fish will be coming through a licensed dealer. Not from local lakes.

If anyone out there has attempted this, please either post here or you can email me directly. (email addy is in my profile) Any and all info, both good and bad, will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks......M-H (aka: Dan)

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Hiya Moosehunter -
Post your e-mail addy - they are not permitted in the public profile. One benefit of this is that you don't get unwanted solicitation.

Anyway, I have a 55 gallon that is in it's 6th month. I use the pump and filters that came with it (not undergravel) I use washed large-grain play-sand as my substrate with washed river rocks arranged for hang-out areas and piled into a small hiding cave. I have two large pieces of washed & scrubbed waterlogged driftwood and gave up on live plants.

I have two small children who make it legal for me to transport and keep certain species of fish - those which do not have a closed season - which we catch via angling. These fish count towards your MN possession limit.

I currently have three rock bass and two tiny channel cats. They never interact. The rock bass herd had to be thinned when two became overly aggressive. They were donated to a licensed pet store. I had a black crappie who also had to be donated. He was really finicky and easily spooked, and wasn't as aggressive a feeder as the rock bass. The rock bass ate all of everything I put in there; worms, crawlers, crickets, ants, waxworms, minnows and even cutbait. Very non-finicky. They will eat from my fingertips - it's startling. I like to put a piece of crawler on the tip of a bamboo skewer and wiggle it just on the surface. They explode on it.

Anyway, the crappie would only feed in a quiet room, on stalked suspended minnows. he wouldn't ram-feed, topwater feed, or slurp off the bottom. He was a pain, so he got donated too.

The channel cats stay very still all during light-time and won't feed when they are being watched. I've never seen one take it's food. I drop in a piece of cut-bait or crawler, let it settle to the bottom, and it's gone the next morning. They hang out in the only current/cover combination they can find.

The sand substrate is easy to clean - I vacuum it with a siphon and the heavy stuff stays and the fish poop goes up the hose.

I've been told to never mix members of the sunfish family - they get real hostile. My current mix is good and I'll keep it that way until the channels get too big (if they get too big).

Oh yeah, there is a crawdad, too. He eats scraps, I guess. Had him for 4 months. I never see him until I clean the tank and start moving rocks.

Good luck! 150 sounds like fun.

------------------
Aquaman
<')}}}}}><{
"The bow is set to distant shore,
then loss is gained and gains once more.
When beach is reached and sails are torn,
the journey is it's own reward."

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I never had native fish but I had them African cichlids.Get a canister filter - they are more $$ but well worth the non hassle and nothing wrong with crystal clear water that smells nice. Live plants are nice for the fish but are a mess for the keeper. If you do go live plants get ones with big leaves. Easy to pick up. If you get grass type stuff it dies and clogs the filter.

Just my .02 good luck and they can be so much fun yet a headache if the water clouds up and fish die.

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My room mate in College had a piranha that committed suicide (we found it on the floor). We would wait to feed him for 2-3 weeks, then drop 3 dozen goldfish in. He could eat about 1/2 immediately and pick off the remainers two or 3 per day.

After the funeral, we caught 2 small sunfish and a tiny large mouth bass. We tossed those in there and fed them earthworms when it rained. The sunnies kept attacking the bass so that he wouldnt leave the corner, even though he was bigger. They eventually killed it. Then they turned on each other, both were pretty beat up by the time the other died.

I here musky are neat to watch in a fish tank.

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anyone know of a place that you could buy like a 6 inch northern pike?

------------------
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

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I kept some largemouth & a few bullheads in a 30 gallon for a couple years. The bass were small enough that they would take regular flake food. Brine shrimp would work too. The bullheads would eat anything off the bottom. Like the channel cats, they would hide most of the day & come out to feed after the lights were out. Both where easy to keep while they were small. Bluegills & crappies were harder to keep. They are aggressive & they'd dirty up the tank pretty quick. I had an undergravel filter & plastics plants. I might set-up a new tank sometime again. I'd like to try something different like a small flathead or sturgeon. More of a river species tank. Vern

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I had 2 small walleyes and three little crappies in a 45 gallon tank last winter for my neice to enjoy. wink.gifwink.gif

They lasted a month before some disease took out all of them within a day. It was probably introduced to the tank from the left over crappie minnows that I would dump in after ice fishing. Not much feeding would occur until the lights went out, then all heck would break loose in there from the after dark feeding frenzy. Good luck with your venture.

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WOW!! Thanks for all the responses!!

Didn't know about the email thing. Anyway, trying to avoid the addy grabbin' "bots" I'll type it out.

moosehunter at earthlink dot net.....

The spammers probably have bots to detect this as well but at least I tried grin.gif

Thanks......M-H (aka: Dan)

[This message has been edited by Moose-Hunter (edited 09-16-2003).]

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I've got a 55 gal. tank set up with what seems to be a good mix. There is 1 largemouth bass, 1 bluegill, 1 crappie, 7 bullheads, 2 catfish, 1 crayfish, 2 plecostimus? (algae eaters).
I feed them crappie minnows and broken up worms. The bass and crappie eat the minnows, and the bluegill eats worms and sometimes a minnow. The bullheads/catfish eat everything they can find. The crayfish eats everything it can find, but leaves behind fish skeletons.
These fish have been doing well for over a year. I use a canister filter and change about 1/3 of the water every month. I siphon the gravel out while changing the water.
These fish are a lot of fun to watch!

Good Luck,
Mike

------------------
Hooked on Fishing Bait & Tackle
The Place For Info
5510 HWY. 63 North
Rochester, MN 55901
Phone: (507) 282-4982
HookedOnFishingTackle.com

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I was once told that keeping game fish in an aquarium was illegal.??

As a kid I would trap minnows out of a little creek by our house. One spring I ended up with about 10 litte Pike about 5"-8" long. I kept a two in a 20 gal. for a year or so. Fun fish to watch!

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I have had some experience in this area. I have found native fish to be alot "dirty" then the regular tropical fish, so use as much filtration as possible. I would go with the undergravel and an external filter. Keep water cool, don't leave light on constantly. Get a PH and ammonia test kit to monitor water condition. Any other specific questions, let me know.

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Granny & anyone else concerned -
Keeping gamefish in a home aquarium is legal under these conditions -
1) Any child under 16 may legally harvest, transport & keep any legal species IN SEASON for use in a home aquarium.

2) Anyone may purchase and transport legal species from a LICENSED dealer (there are about 6 in the state) regardless of season - KEEP THE RECIEPT!

3) In both of the above cases, the fish count towards your possession limit.

4) No fish (or plants) from a home aquarium may be legally released back into ANY body of water - even the one it was taken from. If you have a 'problem' fish you either have to legally dispose if it per standard game laws, or legally transfer it to another aquarium (back to a dealer or another kid).

I keep fish with a year-round season (cats & panfish) for the above reasons - to keep it simple & legit. I've caught some cool river freaks, like those black catfish that look like eels, but never when I had a kid with me, so they couldn't come home.

TIP- If you are going to use bait-shop or wild minnows, you have to quarantine & de-parasite them first. Same for cut-bait - I buy a couple of suckers, let them sit in medicine overnight, and then hack 'em up.

Rob

[This message has been edited by Aquaman01 (edited 09-17-2003).]

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To go with Aquamans post: "It's my nices fish" in case anyone ever asks wink.gif

Just remeber that in either case, they do count towards your possession limit.

Right now I have a crappie, Bullhead, and Walleye in mine, but they really should be in a bigger tank.

I've been keeping NA freshwater fish in a 30 gal for years, but my suggestion is to have atleast a 55 gal for them. 75-90 is preffered; and is what I would have if I had the space and the money. Undergravel filters are enough for a 30-55 if you keep cleaner fish and snails in it. I have a bullhead in mine and have not had to clean it for over 2 years. Another tip on keeping the water clean and the fish health is keep the water as cool as possible. If possible, keep the tank in the basement away from windows, and use florecent rather than incadesent lighting for the tank (granted most covers in 30 gal plus setups are flor.) NEVER use a heater for NA freshwater fish! Thats a sure way to make your water dirty and the fish un-happy! These aren't cichlids afterall wink.gif

Bluegills are also another fish to avoid unless you have a larger tank, or only have ONE. They are VERY terotorrial and agressive, and will litterally beat each other to death. Having a mixed set of species seems to keep everything happy.. the Walleye and Crappie in my setup for example seem to leave each other alone; but putting together Crappies and Bluegills, espically smaller ones, is a bad idea.

Also: fish like bass and northerns grow VERY quickly, I would not put even small bass/pike in anything less than a 90 gal personally. 30 is borderline for panfish. I remeber one of my middleschool teachers who had a 150 gal set up that I caught some 3" fingerling bass for. In about a year and a half these fish were each about 15" long! Granted he overfed them, but still!

Hope this helps.. and have fun with it. I need that 90 myself when I get some funds... arg...

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Also another good rule of thumb I've found is: 1 fish under 5" in each 10 gal of water. I wouldn't keep anything over 5" in anything smaller than a 75 gal.

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Moose-

Sounds like you have done a good amount of research. Is the place you got your tank(sK from helping you on this as well? I'm looking for a GOOD shop who is both knowledgeable & helpfull.

------------------
-FNC

"get on the natch"

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Finally….a thread I can partake in without getting heated!

I have a couple of stories to relate and will try to keep them short.
#1. Year’s back, I kept 3 eyes in a 100 gal tank for two years. They were great to sit and watch and believe it or not, were a good source for learning. When fed, they rarely went right after the food, but would watch the minnows until they calmed down. Then without warning would suck one in. Almost all the time, they just held them protruding from their mouth for a short period of time before ingesting. Very interesting! Anyway, the wife and I had a slight disagreement and she ended up on the couch for the night. She couldn’t get to sleep with “ALL THE NOISE” from the pumps/filters/ballast so she unplugged everything. Waking in the am to dead fish…no pets…as they had become, was not fun. frown.gif
#2. It was almost New Years, and to celebrate I went to a grocery store that advertised lobsters. Getting there I found them in a huge wooden crate packed with ice, and so picked the two largest. At home, I placed them in the kitchen sink and began running water. I answered the call…and returned to the sink to find MOVEMENT and lots of it. I was very surprised and took off frantically for the local pet store where I purchased enough sea-salt for a 100 gal. Tank. The two of them lived together for about 5 months and after one passed on, the other continued on for 3 years. LOUIE BABY! He would get excited when I came down the stairs to the bsmt (I had moved the tank down there for safety reasons). He would take shiners out of my hand. (Nothing but the best for Louie), and NO…. I couldn’t bring myself to eat him!
#3. Next, had a northern, two eyes and several snails, the golden kind. During the night something went on and I found the pike on the floor, the light tubes were broken and the glass, etc. had fallen into the tank and all occupants were deceased. The tank sits empty.

I agree with many of the posts…filtration is the key to success. I ran undergravel and two remote filters and changed half the water every month. Good luck and keep posted.

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Eh... like I said I have never had a problem keeping mine clean (except the one time my "friend" threw some crap in the fish tank.. ugh). Bullheads and snails; AKA natures filters. I've tended to notice from my experince that keeping the tank clean is the OPPOSITE-- keeping the water cool seems to keep the water cleaner and less full of bacteria and alge. But then I guess not everyone has an underground basement either... The tempature in my tank stays from 65 to 72 degrees. Any warmer than 78-80 and you will start having problems. If I get a bigger tank I will get a powerhead for it of course.. but I think the comonation of powerhead(s) and undergravel is more than sufficent if cleaner fish and snails are kept in the tank. Snails are pretty cheap, just make sure you get the BIG ones or the Bullheads will eat them. Crawdads would be another interesting prospect for cleaners too...

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Summer- that reminds me so much of that Simpsons eps that Homer had the pet lobster. You didn't have a leash for him, did ya? wink.gif

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Crawler,

No leash, but when I got home I looked in the misc. drawer in the kitchen and found the bib I bought the same time I did the lobsters. oooooohhh! You know, to this day I haven't consumed a lobster. Now shrimp....that's a different story!

TALKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO1

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Go with bluegill, cats and bullheads easy to take care of and they will survive. I'd get a canister filter too. Musky, pike and bass will outgrow even the big tank in short order... Have fun!

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A ton of great info here!!! Thank you very much!!!

Initial tank set up......

Small, almost pea sized, natural appearing gravel. Various rocks found around the yard. A few pieces of driftwood for appearence and pH buffering. Everything scrubed, boiled, tested and rinsed. I used treated, outside tap water for the initial fill.... BIG MISTAKE!!! This water was WAY too hard and ULTRA high pH. Within just a couple days, I had calcium clouding over EVERYTHING and a pH reading off the scales shocked.gif . Tore the tank down about 75%. Scrubbed and cleaned for 2 evenings and refilled with 7.0pH RO water treated with necessary plant minerals. The tank is now crystal clear and pH is back to where it should be!! grin.gif In bulk, the RO water is about .40 per gallon and worth every penney. All the plants are live and doing very well. New growth on almost all!!

My "starter" fish consist of 3 feeder crappie minnows (from a fish store) 2 Rosies and a plain. All are doing well for such a new tank. They take flake food and are a gas to watch!! One thinks it's a salmon and trys to swim up the current of the power head. rolleyes.gif

As far as the tank filtration set up.....

280 gph biowheel power filter
300+ gph hang off canister filter
500 gph power head with strainer/filter

I did not go with an under gravel filter due to the amount of waste produce by natives. I was advised that "it may fill up and produce deadly toxins in short order". I guess there is a fine line between good and bad bacteria in such a small enviroment. Instead I'll be stepping up my manual cleaning schedule on the tank.

Right now there is a heater in the tank. This is present in order to speed up the "new tank" cycle. The added heat with help culture the benificial bacteria faster. Once the bed is stable, and the cycle complete, the heater will be shut down before any fish are introduced. Also the tank is placed on an outside wall, away from any winter heating and direct light sources. This tank will be sort of self regulating temp wise. If all goes well, and the 150 gets set up, it will have a chiller installed.

All the new inhabitants will be as small as I can get them. (From a dealer) Total population will probably consist of 4 crappies and a bullhead. And of course my "starters" if they survive.

I have researched all the legalities and I'm well aware of the possession limits. I have a very well stocked water test kit and have been instructed in it's proper use. With the present readings, stocking the tank is very close. Maybe as early as next week!! grin.gif

I guess that just about wraps up the test tank. I feel I've got a good start here. But if you can add any thing, PLEASE feel free to do so. The knowledge found here and from the daily life of the 30 gallon will eventually be used to set up the 150.

Thanks again and keep the info coming!!!

M-H (aka: Dan)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Howdy All....

Just a quick update on my native aquarium project..... or should I say projects. As in more than one... Aquariums are addictive. Especially if there are native fish involved. My plan started with only one 30 gallon tank. Now an another tank has been added. A 55 gallon unit with all the bells and whistles and then some.

Since neither tank, on it's own, has the size for the "ecosystem" I'd like to see. I've decided to split them up until the 150 (or larger) is installed. In the 30 gallon (my original project) there are two (3") largemouth bass and a single (2") bullhead. Two crappies will be added in here sometime this week. In the latest addition (the 55 gallon) there are two (3") walleye and another bullhead. Additions will be two or three crappies and maybe someone from the esox (?) family.

I have yet to see the bass in action. During the "day light hours", they seem to just hang out with the feeder minnows. But the next day, there always seem to be one or two missing. Hmmmm.... night feeders?

I did have the honor to witness my two walleyes in action. The first was a side shot. The walleye took the minnow, going full bore, sideways in it's mouth and hightailed it for cover to finish it's meal. The other walleye layed it's cross-hairs on a minnow, turned up the gas and ran down a minnow from behind. Every move the minnow made was matched by the much larger walleye until it was just too late. A minnow about 1/3 the length of the walleye just plain vanished. It was very impressive.

And so the research begins...

More to come......M-H (aka: Dan)

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GREEN SUNFISH are a perfect native species. They are small, eat well in captivity, do well in groups (with enough good hiding spots for those lower on the pecking order) and are quite attractive.

They get excited when I come into the room and watch me whenever I am in the room.

(Green sunfish are the small sunnies with big mouths - not warmouth - people often think they are hybrids of bass and sunnies)

Tony

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keep an eye on that bass. I once had a couple of bass with crappie, walleye and northern in 55 gal tank. The bass ate all except bullie. The bigger bass even ate the smaller one. I swear this thing was the pit bull of the tank. We got to a point of going to the pet store and buying snake feeder mice and dropping em in the tank. Man, this bass would just hammer those things.

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Howdy All....

All I can say is WOW!!! I, not more than 5 min. ago, watched my largest bass (all of 3 1/8" smile.gif) swoop down upon an unsuspecting feeder minnow. Feeding "down".... Hmmmm.... Anyway it was a real site to see. Nothing left but a smile on Mr. Bass.

Tony.... I'm holding off on the sunfish until I get the large tank set up. I've heard they can be very "pesty" to the other fish in a small tank. The only sunfish I can get right now are older/larger than the other gamefish I already have and I may have too much competition at feeding time. I will eventually get them, just not right away.

dtro.... I see what you mean. When he grows a bit, I think this guy's going to be trouble in a native community tank. The crappies I'm going to add to that tank are going to be a bit longer than the bass. (around 4") Maybe they'll be safe then. Who knows....

More to come.... Stay tuned....

M-H (aka: Dan)

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I used to have a pet bass when I was a kid, I called him JAWS cuz he was a real meanie!
He wouldn't let another fish live with him in the tank! I fed him frozen fatheads he would snap right out of my fingers. He liked nite crawlers too, but they made a mess cuz he would chew on em and dirt would come outa his mouth and gills. Once tried "fishing" for him with a plastic worm. Big mistake there! He put up a big fight and splashed half the water on the floor, my mother was not at all pleased! He finally got too big and I released him in lake Calhun.
I didn't know it was illegal, but I doubt the addition of one more bass hurt the lake, I just couldn't eat him, though he was big enough for a good meal! haha

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I have had several native tanks (30 to 120 gal.)in the past 5 years or so.
These are my suggestions:

start with larger tanks, they are easyer to maintain because the water remains "good" longer.

dont over feed,(it hard not to feed them whenever a freind comes over and wants to see them eat.) This is my #1 rule of keeping the ammonia level low. Also remove dead stuff as soon as possible, and keep the feeder fish in a seprate tank.

keep a lid on your tank and, screen off any holes that are open enough for fish to jump through. some fish will open lid by jumping into it.Then is bye bye fishy

Use salt in all tanks (almost),canning salt or fish salt works well: this is for good health and keeping their electrolites up giving them energy. it also helps them fight diesese and helps them breath. :snails dont like salt or do invertabraies: I use 1 tbs per 5 gal and sometimes even more. (Ive never had any fish die of diesese yet)

always keep an eye on the ammonia level and remove the clorine (spelling error?) from the city tap water. let well water sit and desolve any "gasses" in the winter because cold water holds in some harmfull gases.12 to 24 hrs will do. (I never wait but have read this is can be fatal to fish and is important)

If using logs (not bought ones),put a few coats of clear poly urethane on them (Ive never had a prolblem yet) first boil log or bark, then air dry it, then brush on the poly-urathane (spelling error) wash log or let soak submerged in another tank a few days before putting with fish.

never use lead to hold down stuff in tank. (or your fish will be swimming sideways and will be upside down in no time.)

I like using plastic plants because they dont rott or plug up your filters.

lots of air helps the "good bacteria" grow.
I use porer heads with a sponge filter on the bottom of them.

use other "good water" from another tank of lake to help start a new tank (make sure this water has had air in the whole time transporting it) also there are several good bacteria's you can buy to start a new tank. this is important to keep water strong during the first month.

Never change all the water in your tank. less than 1/2 forsure. to maintain a goog bacteria in the tank.(remeber : salt dosent evaporate from water neither does pee or poop) add very little salt after first time.

use salt to scrub bad spots when cleaning the inside of tank. rinse with water.

dont mix natural fish with other types: those cichlides will peck the fins off most native fish until being eaten.


Good luck.
good luck.

------------------

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I once had a freshwater crab. In about a 1/2 years time this thing got huge! I left for a week to fish Lac Seul, when I came back all that was left was an empty shell of the crab. I guess the fish picked him clean. frown.gif I loved that crab, similar to the way others love thier lobsters. About a month later I was feeding my cursed crab eating fish, and to my surprise there was old Sandy Claws! smile.gif(my crabs name). He had grown to big for his shell and molted. I guess he was hideing under something for that whole time until his shell hardened. I now had a new, improved, and bigger crab! I was so mad at first when I found him "dead" thinking the crab eating fish had killed him that I was going to empty the tank. I'm glad I didn't, with the molting process going on, I would've ended up with a "crushed-ation" grin.gif

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http://groups.msn.com/canitbeluck

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