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Feeding Grass and Redfin Pickerel

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#1 Guest_schambers_*

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 09:25 PM

I have a 10" grass pickerel that I got last year, and I like it so much I decided to get some more. I acquired two grass and two redfin pickerel this spring. They are around 3 inches long. Three are identical in size with one of the redfins being smaller. I would like to try to control their growth rates to get them all the same size, so the smaller redfin doesn't eventually become dinner. I have the pickerel in a 29 gallon tank for now, they'll go into a 65 when they outgrow the 29. I've been feeding them endler's livebearers. When they are a little bigger, I'll switch them to worms.

One of my tanks of Endler's started to run low, with the remaining fish too wily to easily catch. I think there are about three weeks worth of endler's for one pickerel in the tank. I noticed that the smaller redfin wasn't feeding as aggressively as the others, so I netted it out and put it in the Endler tank. It plumped up nicely in a short while. I know it will burn through them in less than three weeks and that's fine, but will it eat itself to death? Or is this good strategy? Can I keep them growing at the same rate? Will they ever be able to be in the same tank as the 10" pickerel? I'd like to hear about other folks' experiences raising multiple grass pickerel.

#2 Guest_gzeiger_*

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 04:53 AM

Some people have reported pickerel eating themselves to death, but if such reports are true I think it probably has more to do with a very hungry fish being given too much food at once. I have always kept my grass pickerel in a tank with a large number of feeders and he has never had any trouble. I'm not optimistic about them sharing a tank though, at any size. Maybe someone else has experience with that.

#3 Guest_Uland_*

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:42 AM

I think you have the most important thing already figured out. That is, don't mix sizes of pickerel where one can fit in anthers mouth (or even close).

I have killed more fish than I care to mention due to gluttony but pickerel seem to have a peculiar ability to eat far more than one would expect and thrive. I won't say I believe it's impossible to kill pickerel by overfeeding but I will say that I seriously doubt you would kill one if your maintain a regular and robust feeding schedule.

I believe you can introduce all pickerel but I would only consider it safe until all are adult and similar sized. Even then, lapses in feeding schedule could result in pickerel cannibalism or attempted cannibalism which often results in death due to injuries.

#4 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 09:44 AM

I don't have any experience with raising multiple pickerels together, but I will comment on teh part about eating themselves to death and agree with Uland... I think pickerel normally don't eat themselves to death with a lot of small fish... the problem would be a hungry pickerel trying to take a fish that is too big... they will do this and that can cause a death.

I bet those endlers weren't too wiley for mr. red fin.

Edited by Michael Wolfe, 14 July 2010 - 09:45 AM.

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#5 Guest_schambers_*

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 04:43 PM

I bet those endlers weren't too wiley for mr. red fin.

Nope! It isn't having any trouble catching them.

Thanks for the advice everyone! I plan to continue to let the smaller one gorge itself while feeding the others normally. I'll see if the smaller one catches up. I noticed with last year's grass pickerel that their eyes are bigger than their mouths, they'll choke down quite large (for them) fish. They obviously have NO gag reflex. It makes me a little gaggy watching them sometimes.

#6 Guest_Wolf_*

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 10:40 PM

I have three Chain Pickerel about four and haft inch long and they are housed with ten large Red Fin Shiners, three Sunfish and a Rock Bass, and a couple of small Black Bullhead Cats. The Sunfish and Rock Bass are large enough that the Pickerel canít eat them or even try. They are in a 75 gallon tank. I feed them a net full of Mosquitofish every couple of days. The only one that misses out sometimes is the Rock Bass, it is so slow.

#7 Guest_scottefontay_*

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:24 AM

Since you have already seperated the smaller one I would not try to control the others growth, they should all eventually get the same size with the little one playing a bit of catch-up.

#8 Guest_schambers_*

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 04:18 PM

I've decided to just keep them separated, forever if I have to. The small one (hereafter known as the runt) doesn't seem to have a normal pickerel appetite. I don't know if it's sick or what its issue is, but it's in a 10 gallon tank with plenty of small livebearers to eat and I never see its stomach bulging. When I first put it in there, the tank was pretty bare. I put some vegetation in so it would have some cover. It seems comfortable and I don't see any abnormalities, it just doesn't eat enough. I'm going to try worming it but other than that I don't know of anything to do. The three normal pickerel are eating and growing well, I'm not going to starve them to keep them small. If the runt had their appetite, it would be a lot larger than it is now.

#9 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 09:59 AM

It seems comfortable and I don't see any abnormalities, it just doesn't eat enough.

It's going to die.

#10 Guest_schambers_*

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 08:03 PM

It's going to die.

I am 100% certain you are correct. :lol: It is not a good one.

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