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Natives in California?

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#1 Guest_John4ds_*

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:18 PM

Hi, I am an undergrad living in southern California, studying environmental science. I am seeking fish that could be kept with sunfish or minnows I do not see a wide variety of freshwater native fish here besides trout here. I am not too familiar with native fish of California or where exactly to find them, so I'll appreciate the help .

#2 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:49 PM

I hate to do this to you and I hope some of our other members from out west chime in with specific advice... but I need to advise you to check you local laws very carefully and make sure that whatever you do you are working within the confines of those laws. I seem to remember that California has some pretty restrictive regulations about what you can and can't do with fish. Be legal.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#3 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:19 PM

Sort of to echo Michael, your local Department of Natural Resources is your best friend. They're very helpful. For example I used to live in Ohio, where the DNR has a list of all the species found in the state, with pictures: http://www.dnr.state...13/Default.aspx

University of California has one of those going on: http://calfish.ucdavis.edu/species/

Here is a link to your Department of Fish and Wildlife's fishing page: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/Fishing/
Regulations: http://www.dfg.ca.go...shFish-Mar2013/

#4 Guest_EBParks_*

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:20 PM

Since I manage a public aquarium program here in California, I have all of my proper paperwork to collect and display native fish from CA. So I can’t say specifically what you need in order to collect native fish for hobby aquariums. However I can give you a list of native fish that I keep that might be good tank mates...

California roach: These are likely the best candidate for an aquarium with other minnows and even sunfish. I was surprised to find that a roach I had in a tank with 3 small warmouth dominated the tank to the point that I had to remove him. I think they are ideal with smaller fish, as they don’t have a very large maximum size.

Sacramento pikeminnow: These are great aquarium fish as well. However they will eventually get too big for small to medium aquariums. Again, with access to public aquarium facilities, I usually have a broader size range of fish I can keep.

Sacramento blackfish: These are the non-predator version of a pikeminnow as far as tank life goes. Another great fish when they’re small, but they can reach a large size.

Prickly and Riffle sculpins: These are excellent tank mates as well, as long as the sunfish aren’t too big to eat the sculpin and the minnows aren’t so small that they might be a meal for the sculpin.

Sacramento perch: These are quite literally California’s native sunfish. I have several from a fish farm, and they have thrived in my aquariums alongside all other introduced sunfish found in California.

Tule perch: These relatives of the surf perches are a very interesting aquarium fish. However I have only just recently started keeping any significant numbers of them. So I can’t yet say how well they do.

I should also note that a lot people sometimes keep sunfish in water with a heater, but a lot of the CA natives prefer a cooler temperature. In my experience I have catered more to the temperature requirements of the natives, and those temperatures have fallen into lower end of an acceptable range for sunfish. I mean introduced fish are found throughout CA waters. So it goes without saying that they thrive in cooler waters found in my area. Again though I want to echo the previous comments about making sure you are going about everything in a legal manner. The fish and wildlife laws can definitely be strict here.

A great source for ranges of CA native fish (and all other freshwater fish found here for that matter) is the book, “Inland Fishes of California” by Dr. Peter Moyle. He’s basically the guru of California freshwater fish. The department of fish and wildlife also has a list of aquaculture facilities that sell fish and some produce natives, but again you want to make sure you’re doing something you are in fact allowed to do.

I have also included a great website that lists the freshwater fish found throughout California:


Edited by EBParks, 27 February 2013 - 07:22 PM.

#5 Guest_EBParks_*

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:24 PM

Sorry Erica, didn't notice you had already posted the calfish website! :P

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