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Breeding mottled sculpin

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#1 Guest_Leo1234_*

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:53 AM

I was wondering how to breed mottled sculpin. I have a 20 gallon I can use. Would I be able to have a 20 gallon with a powerhead, airstone, and a filter? or does it require a light to breed them? It will be in a place that might get natural light every so often. I never knew sculpin could take high temps. My 20 gallon that is set up( I have two 20 gallons, one is not set up) usually is around 70, but we had a very hot week turning the temp of the tank to 84 degrees and he would still eat and act normal. I do have an airstone so I do not know if that helped a lot. The 20 gallon for breeding the sculpin would most likely not get to 80 degrees.

Edited by Leo1234, 07 June 2014 - 10:21 AM.

#2 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:35 PM

How much experience do you have breeding fish? Which fish species have you bred and raised the eggs to adulthood? Knowing this will change how I answer your question.

#3 Guest_Leo1234_*

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 11:27 PM

the fish I've raised were guppies and fathead minnows, both on accident and none of them to being an adult. I've read that mottled sculpin do not have young that are plankton. I'm not going to go to try to keep 100% of the fry alive, I was just going to have a lot of small caves for hiding so some survive. I just thought it would be cool to have them breed. If I want to keep all fry alive then I will get another tank just for the fry. Even if it is too hard for my experience, I want to at least have some reference for when I am experienced enough. I will be feeding the fish beef heart, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and maybe something else.

Thank you for any replies.

Edited by Leo1234, 07 June 2014 - 11:29 PM.

#4 Guest_Skipjack_*

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 01:11 AM

Leo, you really aren't equipped to keep these fish alive right now, let alone breed them. If you do not keep the tank temps consistently much lower, you will have dead fish. I would think about solving the temperature problem first.

#5 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 07:22 AM

"the fish I've raised were guppies and fathead minnows, both on accident and none of them to being an adult." That is a problem. If you've never raised fry to adulthood before, sculpins are unlikely to be the first species you achieve that goal with. What prevented the guppies from reaching adult hood? Why aren't you practicing fry raising with fry that are cheap, easy to get, and expendable? You've got to learn how to handle fry ammonia production, how to feed the fry, what it's like to house the fry so they don't get eaten by larger fish or each other. Why not pick up some $0.12 feeder livebearers from the pet store and just try your hand at fry raising in a cheap way? Consider it practice for the ultimate goal of scuplin breeding. And I bet once you're successful, the sculpin will enjoy the nice treat you've bred them. I saw a bunch of them just yesterday at the NANFA convention; there's no doubting what they eat after seeing that giant mouth. Sculpin are most definitely carnivorous.

"I just thought it would be cool to have them breed"
It would be. I'm not going to discourage your interest in one of your native fish. I'll do the opposite; here's a breeding report. http://www.nanfa.org...edsculpin.shtml

If you've never raised fry to adulthood, that's likely what's going to happen here, too. You'll watch them breed, the male in his cave. If you've only got one tank he'll likely kill the female when they're done spawning. Once the fry leave their dad's cave they'll be around 5 mm long (0.2 inches), meaning the beef heart, bloodworms, and adult brine shrimp you have will be too large for them to eat. Try things like vinegar eels, microworms, grindal worms once they're bigger. If you don't feed them enough and keep them in one tank, they'll probably try to eat the smallest fry in their desperation and you might get like three big ones that survive by eating their siblings.

The way to do it right:
Read the breeding report. http://www.nanfa.org...edsculpin.shtml
Prepare enough tanks. You want one for the female(s) after she's spawned so the male doesn't kill her, and a few for the fry so the largest don't cannibalize the smallest. Also when you're breeding fish, people want them to be at least an inch or two long when you sell them, so plan tank space for that many fish. Are you going to sell them? Give them away? Returning them to the stream they came from is illegal, unethical, and not an option. Have a plan for what to do if they all live. If selling them requires a permit, know about that now.
Start raising fry foods. Vinegar eels are easy but take a month or two to become harvestable. You buy a $3 starter online, put it in a lidded container filled with half vinegar, half water, and cut an apple in two and chuck it in there. Find a long neck bottle, a turkey baster, and a piece of sponge on a string for harvesting them. Grindal worms also can take some time to breed up to harvestable numbers. Baby brine shrimp can be pseudo-instant, taking 1-2 days to hatch. You'll need some sort of hatcher.

The parents may or may not spawn after being wild caught. As Skipjack mentioned, this is not a heat tolerant species. The most likely way to get your fish to spawn next year if they don't spawn right after you catch them is to condition them on fatty, protein rich foods all summer, cool them down (and we're talking like in the 50's Fahrenheit) over the winter or for a month or so, then try again. You'll need to buy some sort of cave, like a flower pot.

Successfully raising fry is a pretty expensive process in both time and money, so be prepared. They need you and if you're not there for them, they won't live.
vinegar eel (culture $3, pitcher with lid $5-$10, long neck vase ? dollars, sponge $1, dental floss),
grindal worms (sponges $2, culture $15 get the big full culture it's worth it, dog kibbles $10, plastic shoe boxes $7 each, drill to drill holes in the lid, zippered pillow case $5)
brine shrimp egg cysts $4 to $20 depending on how much you buy, brine shrimp hatchery ? dollars depending on DIY, store bought stand alone, store bought in-tank ($17).
flower pot $1
chiller for over the winter ? dollars. Might work to put them in a tank in your garage, depending on the climate where you live.
More aquariums to raise the fry
an earthworm culture and some sort of insect culture to fatten up the parents wouldn't hurt

Yup. Long story short? I think you should buy like five $0.12 feeder livebearers and try your hand at keeping the fry alive. Pretend they're sculpin babies. See if you can get 100 or some arbitrary number to show success. Once you do, no worries, your future sculpin will appreciate all the tasty food swimming around their tanks. Pick a livebearer species that maxes out at less than 2 inches and yeah, it'll be a good day to be a sculpin. :)

#6 Guest_AussiePeter_*

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 07:51 PM

My vague impression is that few people ever keep sculpin, let alone try to breed them. The principal reasons are that few sculpins can deal with higher water temperatures and their associated lower oxygen availability, they likely require a bit different food to minnows and you can't really keep other fish with them easily (they tend to be slow which means they tend to not get much food, plus they have large mouths and tend to like to eat surprisingly large fish). I doubt that anyone on this forum has deliberately bred sculpin. That's not to say it cannot be done, but is largely due to the fact that few have tried and thus it's not clear what strategies might work best to encourage them to spawn.

Regarding the temperature issue, it probably depends a bit on where your sculpins are from and what temperatures you can keep your aquarium below. I don't know about what triggers spawning in sculpins, probably day length, but could be that combined with temperature, you'd have to find some papers on their breeding biology to get some clues to answer those questions. As Erica pointed out there are a few articles online on the nanfa site about sculpins, http://www.nanfa.org/ac.shtml#archive

Anyway, I think it is really cool that you are trying to keep some sculpins, they are awesome fish. It could well be that they won't make it through summer, but hopefully the experience will provide useful experience and give you fodder try new ways of doing things.

Peter Unmack

#7 Guest_Moontanman_*

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 11:56 PM

I've kept mottled sculpins in room temp tanks into the high 70's low 80's they did quite well for several weeks, an eel ate them but it was fun while it lasted....

#8 Leo1234

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 11:28 PM

I'm supprised how old this topic is

so I probably am not going to breed my sculpin, but I have some related questions.

First, do mottled sculpin have interesting breeding colors?

Second, is there a benefit to mimicking seasons in an aquarium? I have a chiller on the aquarium right now and I am in the process of lowering the temperature from 65f to about 55f over a couple of weeks.

Third, I was thinking of aquascaping my sculpin tank and I need some advice. All I have is a crappy looking piece of Driftwood and some flowerpots

I know the next part might be a bit out of place, but I felt like I needed to say it.

I even thought I probably won't breed my sculpin I did take some of that advice giver years ago. I have gotten a 1/10 hp chiller for my 20 gallon, I've breed some rare livebearers for multiple generations and am planning on trying some easy native egg layers soon.
When I first made this thread, I just realized I was actually able to keep native fish. For a long time I thought keeping native fish was illegal because I never really saw anyone keep them. I was asking So many questions that I even kind of annoyed myself a bit. I ultimately decided to take a break from native fish since I ran into some issues with my aquariums and some other things. Recently I started to get back into native fish keeping and think I'm ready to actually try this time.

Long story short I want to thank everyone for helping me by providing information and answering questions I had. If it wasn't for NANFA, I would have never thought to pursue research on native fish as a career.

Thank you

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