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Best beginner darter?

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#1 Guest_Leo1234_*

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 12:53 AM

What darter would work in a:

20 gallon that (the darter) gets 3.5+ inches, can live with a pirate perch, and is very temp tolerant. My temp will range from 68- around 78F but less than 82.

Edited by Leo1234, 20 December 2013 - 12:54 AM.

#2 mattknepley

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 07:35 AM

It's hard to go wrong with swamp darters (Etheostoma fusiforme)as your first darter. Not the prettiest of the group, but not ugly either. And they can adapt to just about anything and thrive. Not that I recommend this, but I rescued one from a ghost shrimp tank at an lfs, and with no other place to keep it, put it in my 78F tropical tank. It showed no signs of stress from the constantly elevated (by his standards) temperature, started eating frozen food one day later and flake within a couple weeks, and peacefully thrived with various tropicals, a couple of which could have made a meal of him. Even though he wasn't the prettiest fish in there, he had more personality and interesting behaviors than the rest of the tank put together. Research said a swampie should live a couple years. This fella just expired after at least six years in my care, and he was full grown when I got him. My point is they are tough, interesting, adaptable, and long-lived.

Native karma appears to have smiled, as I just rescued another swampie from a lfs. This guy is probably yoy, and emaciated. Any other fish I've had that was that hungry or sick died quickly. This little guy, however, is coming back, albeit slowly.

I don't know how they'd do with pirate perch, though. Don't have any experience keeping pirate perch, but would be mistrustful of their great big mouths. My guess would be that any fish that would be a threat to a swamp darter would be a threat to any darter.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#3 Guest_gerald_*

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 10:02 AM

Yeah, Swamp darters might be spaghetti to a big pirate perch. Rainbows and Orangethroats are colorful, easy to feed, readily available from NANFA vendors, fairly heat-tolerant, and suitable in size to live with pirate perch.

#4 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

Guest_Erica Lyons_*
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Posted 20 December 2013 - 11:18 AM

+1 to what Gerald said.

I could never get my etheostoma spectabile to eat flake food, but I had hundreds of physa fontinalis snails and would also mince up cocktail shrimp into small pieces for them. As long as you know they might not eat traditional flakes and pellets, E. spectabile is a great first dater. Ditto rainbows.

They sit on the ground and when you walk up to the tank they turn their whole body to look straight at you. It's the first fish I ever saw that watched me back. Drop in a piece of food like some blackworms or bloodworms. They'll gobble it right up.

#5 Guest_FirstChAoS_*

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 11:35 AM

Tesselates were my first darter and are easy too. Just remember darters need frozen or live food.

#6 PBK

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 01:06 AM

It depends....if you are new to fishkeeping darters might not be the fish to start with. Sunfish or minnows
would be a good choice as they usually accept most fish foods. if u have fishkeeping experience u could
start with rainbow darters IF you can give them a little current flow in the tank AND feed them quality frozen foods like mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, blood worms or live foods like white worms, grindal worms, black worms, daphnia. They WONT EAT dry fish foods. Keep this in mind and you should do ok.

#7 olaf

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 03:02 PM

My rainbow, banded and johnny darters (collected wild in local streams) all eat flake food. I mostly feed frozen bloodworms and mysis, but I also toss in some flake for them and the topminnows and fatheads. I'm sure the darters would be in a sad state if I fed nothing but flake. All the darters will swim half way up the water column to grab flakes, even when it's also raining bloodworms. They'll also hang out on the sponge that covers the filter intake and eat the flakes (and shrimp) that are stuck there by the current.

I only feed the tank every few days, so hunger may have something to do with their initial acceptance of flake. Once they started eating it, though, it became a normal part of their diet.

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