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#21 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
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Posted 04 September 2015 - 06:16 PM

Looked at the thread at MFK. Boy have not been there in years. It is interesting to see the growth difference in similar aged fish. I believe I have seen something similar in the wild, while fishing up waterfalls in NC. Talking 100 foot high waterfalls broken up every 15-30 feet by deep plunge pools. Plenty of eager natives, all small in the 3-5 inch range, then BAM! A strike from a big fish, 8 inches on up to the largest wild brook trout I have ever caught, 14 inches. A good 60 feet or so up a waterfall. These dominant males apparently rule the roost, and may become fairly piscivorous, keeping the rest fairly small. Maybe they just take the lions share of the incoming nymphs? Not sure if that is what is going on, but in these rarely fished and frankly dangerous to access pools, there appeared to be only a single large fish. Often a kype jawed male that actually looked stunted. Oversized head, smaller body. Possibly in his last year or so of life. I know a stream is more dynamic than a tank, but trout or char in streams often live in a single spot most of their lives. The dominant fish in said area occupies the best feeding site while others hope to move up in line someday.

 

Very nice looking tank. The fish do not seem to retain their wild colors well, or is that just from the photographs? Maybe a bit of both? If they do not maintain color, it must be diet or photo period related since you are using a chiller. Also if they come from the James watershed, they would be the northern strain, which are somewhat less colorful anyway, but still very impressive looking. They certainly look well fed and well taken care of.

 

What sort of diet do you keep them on?


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#22 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 04 September 2015 - 08:46 PM

 

Thanks for the information, Michael. I did a little snooping with the search function and found where others had asked about the member status "upgrade," so I knew it would take a few days. Although I have made several posts in the last 24 hours, believe it or not I do have more important things in life to worry about! So no rush. I will look into the gallery setup when I get the chance.

 

Got you updated to member status... and activated your Gallery Archive account.  Welcome aboard.  Other than the Gallery Archive account and the free photo upload space, you also now have access to a few areas of the forum that you didnt have before... maybe most importantly access to current issues of American Currents (look at the bottom of the front page of the forum).


Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#23 BrookKeeper

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 10:28 AM

 

Got you updated to member status... and activated your Gallery Archive account.  Welcome aboard.  Other than the Gallery Archive account and the free photo upload space, you also now have access to a few areas of the forum that you didnt have before... maybe most importantly access to current issues of American Currents (look at the bottom of the front page of the forum).

Thanks, Michael! Somehow I had missed the stickers in the 'store' before I asked about them, but I knew they existed because I have seen the one on the back of Dave Neely's car. I don't think he ever mentioned that he had illustrated it (although I don't specifically recall which species he displays, I assume it would be his illustration but maybe not), even more reason for me to buy a set! I think I will go order them now... I will also be sure to check out American Currents.



#24 BrookKeeper

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 11:06 AM

Looked at the thread at MFK. Boy have not been there in years. It is interesting to see the growth difference in similar aged fish. I believe I have seen something similar in the wild, while fishing up waterfalls in NC. Talking 100 foot high waterfalls broken up every 15-30 feet by deep plunge pools. Plenty of eager natives, all small in the 3-5 inch range, then BAM! A strike from a big fish, 8 inches on up to the largest wild brook trout I have ever caught, 14 inches. A good 60 feet or so up a waterfall. These dominant males apparently rule the roost, and may become fairly piscivorous, keeping the rest fairly small. Maybe they just take the lions share of the incoming nymphs? Not sure if that is what is going on, but in these rarely fished and frankly dangerous to access pools, there appeared to be only a single large fish. Often a kype jawed male that actually looked stunted. Oversized head, smaller body. Possibly in his last year or so of life. I know a stream is more dynamic than a tank, but trout or char in streams often live in a single spot most of their lives. The dominant fish in said area occupies the best feeding site while others hope to move up in line someday.

 

Very nice looking tank. The fish do not seem to retain their wild colors well, or is that just from the photographs? Maybe a bit of both? If they do not maintain color, it must be diet or photo period related since you are using a chiller. Also if they come from the James watershed, they would be the northern strain, which are somewhat less colorful anyway, but still very impressive looking. They certainly look well fed and well taken care of.

 

What sort of diet do you keep them on?

Matt -

 

I think that the color issue is, as you suggested, a combination of less brilliant coloration in captivity as well as poor lighting in the photos. I have intentionally kept them on a long days in an attempt to avoid mimicking a fall photoperiod in order to avoid potential aggression associated with spawning behavior. They definitely lack the bright orange ventral coloration. The red and yellow spots are more visible than what comes through in the pictures, which is a lighting issue. I have one light bar with many strips of LEDs running the length of the tank in the middle of the tank front to back, and eventually I would like to spread the strips more evenly front to back to better distribute the light. The population that they were collected from does not seem to express the blue halo even in the wild, at least from what I have seen. Either way, they are still a beautiful fish in my eye.

 

As for diet, I primarily feed them "super worms" as they are readily available to me by the thousands, and free of cost. I either break them in half on the edge of a hole in the plexiglass lid as I drop them in, or I submerge them in the tank, fold them in half, and give them a snap between my thumb and forefinger to break them open. The second technique does a good job of distributing lots of small pieces for the smaller fish, but if I break them all up that way I figure I will have a lot more uneaten food to dirty up the tank, so I feed the bigger chunks to make sure the brookies are fat and happy, which is the key to maintaining the diverse stock of smaller fish. I supplement with bloodworms and brine shrimp, mostly to ensure that the darters get enough to eat. I never have been able to get any of the trout to take pellets, but I haven't tried for a well over a year, and probably won't.



#25 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 11:19 AM

What size chiller are you using on a tank that size? I have a home built tank in my garage that is roughly that size plus a large sump. It would only need to be chilled part of the year, as the garage gets down to the high 30's in the winter.

 

Your set up and my recent trip has inspired me.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#26 gerald

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 11:32 AM

Wow ... lots of great info to peruse in your MFK thread.  Is brookie dominance usually size-based regardless of sex?

Ever tried torrent suckers?  They're common in many of those upper James tribs with trout, dace, stonerollers and sculpins.


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#27 BrookKeeper

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 11:42 AM

What size chiller are you using on a tank that size? I have a home built tank in my garage that is roughly that size plus a large sump. It would only need to be chilled part of the year, as the garage gets down to the high 30's in the winter.
 
Your set up and my recent trip has inspired me.


I am running a 1/3 hp flow through chiller that I picked up on Craigslist for $150. The real question for performance is the ambient temperature and EXCHANGE in the surrounding space. People tend to forget the air exchange factor, and every by of thermal energy that comes out of the water goes into the air. My tank is in my basement, but the basement is nearly at grade, and the ~300 sq foot area that the tank is in, not being tied into the climate controlled portion of the house, got rather warm in the summer. I had to add a small window A/C unit to move the hot air outside, which sounds like a lot of energy on cooling, but overall it increases the efficiency rather than constantly fighting the rewarming the tank.

I am glad that my setup has inspired you, and I hope that the inspiration takes hold! Can't wait to see YOUR pics, or it didn't happen! :)

#28 BrookKeeper

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 12:04 PM

Wow ... lots of great info to peruse in your MFK thread.  Is brookie dominance usually size-based regardless of sex?

Ever tried torrent suckers?  They're common in many of those upper James tribs with trout, dace, stonerollers and sculpins.

Glad that more people are enjoying the MFK thread, sorry to NANFA for sending people there, but I really can't see the use in duplicating the content.

 

From my experience and observations, yes, size trumps gender in dominance structure, at least in juveniles. It is a a positive feedback loop, as the bigger fish establish dominance, have greater access to food, and as a result grow faster, and therefore maintain dominance. That being said, I have no hard data to back that up. At the time of my research, I was unable to definitively determine gender, and therefore did not include it as a factor.

 

As for the torrent suckers, I have not tried them, mainly because I do not feel comfortable with my ability to provide them with enough current to simulate their preferred habitat. There were plenty of longnose dace where I collected the brookies, and I did go out on a limb and gave a few of them a shot in this tank. They were not happy, always seemed to be searching the tank for a better place to hang out, and all 3 eventually died within a couple of months. Couple that with the larger size of a torrent sucker, and I don't see it working out in the long run.

 

As of now, the only fish I want to add to the tank are more redbellies... and maybe a few more roanoke darters.



#29 loopsnj64

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 02:24 PM

Im quite impressed, i know how difficult trout are to keep and that is not only an impressive feat, but a an impressive tank as well, 

Also im unsure you would be able to try with the shiners (due to the trouts mouth size), but i could see darters, madtoms, sculpins and some other bottom dwelling riffle fish working well (i would recommend sculpins because they too, need a chiller, feeding may be tricky though)


"All good things must come to an end, but bad things think thats rather dull, so they stick around long after their natural end has come"

-From an art book I read


#30 BrookKeeper

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 03:06 PM

Im quite impressed, i know how difficult trout are to keep and that is not only an impressive feat, but a an impressive tank as well, 

Also im unsure you would be able to try with the shiners (due to the trouts mouth size), but i could see darters, madtoms, sculpins and some other bottom dwelling riffle fish working well (i would recommend sculpins because they too, need a chiller, feeding may be tricky though)

Loop, I don't quite follow your comment about being "...unsure if you would be able to try with the shiners...". I am not sure if you caught the stock list (opening post of this thread), but that is not a suggested, rather it represents my current stock. I have several water column fish that are well within the size range of trout snacks. I set this tank up in Oct/Nov 2014, so getting on towards a year ago now. I credit my success to the habitat complexity and the fact that I keep the trout well fed. To the best of my knowledge, the trout have not turned piscivorous yet. I do have many darters, some madtoms, and only one sculpin (about 1.5") and I hesitate to add any more sculpin, as they are fairly territorial and aggressive towards the other bottom dwellers. I have not had any trouble with feeding the sculpin, either. He spends most of his time in the stream of current the circulation pump, peeking upstream out of an opening of a rock hide. Crushing food in front of the pump sends plenty directly to him. He also scurries around outside the rock and cleans up bits that settle on the bottom in about a 1-2 square foot area around that rock. When the darters come around to scavenge in that same area, they better watch out for little sculpy, he hits pretty hard... The madtoms are the most cryptic, they spent most of their time hiding in the cave network that I carved out of the root wad. I saw one roaming the tank this morning, but I didn't have my phone handy.



#31 Sean Phillips

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 07:17 PM

What size chiller are you using on a tank that size? I have a home built tank in my garage that is roughly that size plus a large sump. It would only need to be chilled part of the year, as the garage gets down to the high 30's in the winter.
 
Your set up and my recent trip has inspired me.

Yeah, I'm starting to want a trout tank again myself :). Dream fish honestly would be a big 'ole Lake Trout (or a school of 10...) but I'd need a much bigger tank and much more powerful chiller than I can afford at the moment and at that point there'd probably be a few Steelhead, Pacific Salmon, and Burbot in the mix as well so that's an even bigger tank! So, maybe a nice hatchery raised 'Bow or Brownie that can take higher temps in the summer if there's enough aeration. Or even a Brookie (2nd place dream fish) if I can ever find a cheap chiller (don't see that happening soon though :) ), lucky you found a good one on Craigslist!!!
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#32 Betta132

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:51 AM

What temperature do people usually keep trout at? I have a window unit air conditioner so I don't die of heat-stroke in the summer, and I know from temperature measuring that it's capable of lowering a 60-ish gallon tub of water to around 62 degrees, with the container four feet away from it. And that's not even at full blast. If it was turned all the way up and/or right up next to the tub, it could probably keep a large amount of water at 60 degrees or so.

This isn't me thinking of trying a trout tank (need more experience), this is me wondering if a window unit could possibly function as a chiller.


Edited by Betta132, 11 September 2015 - 01:51 AM.


#33 BrookKeeper

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 02:49 AM

What temperature do people usually keep trout at? I have a window unit air conditioner so I don't die of heat-stroke in the summer, and I know from temperature measuring that it's capable of lowering a 60-ish gallon tub of water to around 62 degrees, with the container four feet away from it. And that's not even at full blast. If it was turned all the way up and/or right up next to the tub, it could probably keep a large amount of water at 60 degrees or so.

This isn't me thinking of trying a trout tank (need more experience), this is me wondering if a window unit could possibly function as a chiller.

The warmest I let my brook trout get is 15*C (59*F). As for the question of the air conditioner, that depends... In order for a window unit to cool the tank to 60 degrees, it would have to cool the air surrounding the tank to 60 degrees. Rather than worrying about heat stroke, you would have to be concerned about hypothermia. A chiller is basically the same thing as an air conditioner, a compressor and refrigerant loop. There are lots of suggestions online for DIY chillers made of modified air conditioners, which is probably a better idea than the DIY mini-fridge chillers. Honestly, I have never tried either of these DIY methods, because I fear that neither method would provide the temperature drop I require, nor would I trust either method to last in the long run. This is why chillers exist.



#34 Mrfipp

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 08:10 AM

One of the things about chillers is the amount you need to lower the water temperature is dependent on local weather. I grew up on the central coast of CA, where average temperatures are "65 deg year round." DIY chillers seem to work just fine there. Now that I'm in Texas and have to combat summers at over 100 degrees, the ambient temperatures in my home can get into the high seventies easily. To keep an aquarium at say 55 deg F I'd need a much better chiller here than I did in CA. Not to mention a whole lot more expendable money for the electric bill...

Diy chillers work just fine, given the right environment. Professional chillers are certainly recommended though.

There's something fishy about this place...


#35 littlen

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 09:43 AM

Cool tank, Kyle.  My fascination comes from your success at keeping highly predatory trout with their natural prey in a 125g.  You'll find many native keepers on here (myself included) hesitant to put predator and prey together.  Although in order for a lot of us to be able to see our darters on a more regular basis, we offer less hides--which would then expose them to predators.  You did a nice job with the rocks and wood to make it very difficult for the Brooks, Chubs, and Sculpin to polish off your darters and shiners.  

 

I also have a 1/3hp chiller on a 150 (no sump) and keep my tank at 67F during the summer.  My tank is upstairs and the air temp is regularly 78-80 with the AC running.  Living just outside of DC in Centreville, the 90-100 degree days aren't doing my chiller/AC any favors.  Fortunately the chiller has enough *gogetum* to easily maintain 67.  I intend to chill it down closer to 60 during the winter.  Kudos for keeping a species that very few others do, AND being very knowledgeable about them.  I'm glad you mentioned (maybe in your MFK post) that you never let them get above 59F---a big factor to consider for any future trout-keeper.


Nick L.

#36 BrookKeeper

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 11:18 AM

One of the things about chillers is the amount you need to lower the water temperature is dependent on local weather. I grew up on the central coast of CA, where average temperatures are "65 deg year round." DIY chillers seem to work just fine there. Now that I'm in Texas and have to combat summers at over 100 degrees, the ambient temperatures in my home can get into the high seventies easily. To keep an aquarium at say 55 deg F I'd need a much better chiller here than I did in CA. Not to mention a whole lot more expendable money for the electric bill...

Diy chillers work just fine, given the right environment. Professional chillers are certainly recommended though.

I agree with you, MrFipp. Certianly a DIY chiller can be a useful option if you are not expecting a large change in temperature. Another thing to consider, as I stated before, is the air exchange in the surrounding area. If the space has no ventilation, you can count on the ambient temperature steadily rising. The main reason I would not recommend a DIY chilling in a situation similar to mine is that I am keeping a species that is very dependent on (what I consider to be) very cold water.



#37 BrookKeeper

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 11:27 AM

Cool tank, Kyle.  My fascination comes from your success at keeping highly predatory trout with their natural prey in a 125g.  You'll find many native keepers on here (myself included) hesitant to put predator and prey together.  Although in order for a lot of us to be able to see our darters on a more regular basis, we offer less hides--which would then expose them to predators.  You did a nice job with the rocks and wood to make it very difficult for the Brooks, Chubs, and Sculpin to polish off your darters and shiners.  

 

I also have a 1/3hp chiller on a 150 (no sump) and keep my tank at 67F during the summer.  My tank is upstairs and the air temp is regularly 78-80 with the AC running.  Living just outside of DC in Centreville, the 90-100 degree days aren't doing my chiller/AC any favors.  Fortunately the chiller has enough *gogetum* to easily maintain 67.  I intend to chill it down closer to 60 during the winter.  Kudos for keeping a species that very few others do, AND being very knowledgeable about them.  I'm glad you mentioned (maybe in your MFK post) that you never let them get above 59F---a big factor to consider for any future trout-keeper.

Thank you for the compliments, Nick! It is nice to find a group of people who actually appreciate the difficulty (on multiple levels) of the setup that I maintain. Even friends and family that see my tank in person and are very complementary are not actually aware of the feat, so hearing compliments from those who can fully appreciate it is nice.

 

I was completely unsure if the additional stock would last when decided to go with the mixed stock, but I wanted to try, and I figured that the worst case was a natural diet for the predators, and a natural demise for the prey. One thing that I did do in order to maximize my chances for success (in addition to the habitat considerations) was to introduce everything except the trout to the tank and allow them a week or so to get settled. In the end, it was really the trout alone that I set the tank up for, so if others were eaten, I would not have been too upset, but I must say that I am really happy that it has worked out so far! Again, heavy feeding has been a useful tool in preventing predation at all levels.

 

Thanks again for your comments, and if you have a thread on here with an account of your tank I would appreciate the link. If you don't have a thread on here yet, start one for me! I haven't spent enough time searching this forum...



#38 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 11:53 AM

As long as they get a steady supply of superworms, why bother with something that they have to expend more calories to obtain. I think trout and char have perfected this lifestyle.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#39 littlen

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:24 PM

I'm my ~2 years of laziness since I first started talking about my 150, I have failed to start a link.  I blame the fish for distracting me.  Perhaps I should now.  You'll certainly see it if/when I do.

You'll find a lot of truly, expert-level, husbandry and scientific information on stream inhabitants such as shiners, darters, chubs, suckers, sunfish, catfish, and some oddballs on the forum.  To my knowledge, you're the first one in a while to discuss keeping any trout.  


Nick L.

#40 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 01:52 PM

People casually mention a desire to keep them, but I think this is the first truly committed and successful venture on the forum.


The member formerly known as Skipjack





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