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Cavefish Culture Efforts


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#1 centrarchid

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 04:25 PM

Anyone have experience with the NA cavefishes.  I am really interested at looking into these guys and have an exceptional system I think could support as many as four where forage would be provided by well flow and a little detritus I can culture in the actual tank.  Tank volume is about 2,000 gallons, 


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#2 gzeiger

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 06:06 PM

No experience here, but I'm super excited to hear more about this.



#3 mattknepley

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 06:36 PM

+1 what gzeiger said! I was lucky enough to have many adventures in wild caves in WV and PA for a couple years. It is a whole other, fantastic world under there! Some truly fascinating life-forms inhabit that realm. Spent a little time in underground streams, but never dove or got into anything exceptionally quick currented. I had no desire to be someone's extraction practice... Which cavefish species are you thinking of working with? I know the populations are low due to low food sources, but help me visualize. What are the dimensions of your tank that these four fish would be occupying?
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#4 centrarchid

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 08:18 PM

Tank diameter is about 12 feet with a working depth of just over four feet.  Species of least concern in Missouri would be target.  Setup is such that protracted periods of observation possible even across tank.  An inventory of current forages needs to be done and most likely not same as would naturally encountered in cave.  I can further manage light inputs and create detritus patches that would not obstruct vision.  For giggles I may try to run four Perch Perch through it and see how they do.  I think the nutrient requirements of Pirate Perch will be a lot lower than similar sized cave dwelling forms.


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#5 loopsnj64

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 09:19 PM

Anyone have experience with the NA cavefishes.  I am really interested at looking into these guys and have an exceptional system I think could support as many as four where forage would be provided by well flow and a little detritus I can culture in the actual tank.  Tank volume is about 2,000 gallons, 

"As many as four"
"2000 gallons"
as far as I now cavefishes are very small, but I dont know how they would be cared for
I think what your trying to do is a self-sustaining setup but those numbers still just dont seem to match... but i dont know how cavefishes are so please explain if I am wrong here


"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


#6 mattknepley

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 06:39 AM

Hi, Loops. I'll let Centrarchid give you specifics, as I don't know them. But I can give you a feel for the situation based on my experiences.

First, "wild" caves are not like "show" caves. You are your only safety net in a wild cave. Situations that might be inconvenient above ground can be death sentences underground. DO NOT EVER go in a cave without at least three other people who already have substantial experience. I speak from experience.

That said, they are fantastic places. The organisms that live in them are pretty dang interesting, too. One thing you realize quickly down there is that most of the organisms you see down there possessing a sizeable biomass are the organisms that can leave the cave, or hang out very closely to openings to the surface. It is not uncommon at all to find various bat species in large numbers deep within caves. That God-given echolocation (and ability to follow fresh air) of theirs allows them to leave to feed at night. Which is good, because there is simply very little food down there. And a bat's hunting style does not work to capture what food is down there. Insects and spiders might be found in large numbers, together even, but they are often hibernating (so not eating) or concentrated at the openings or in the rare areas of food. (Like bat guano. Yummy stuff for some insects...) But cavefishes tend to be different. True cavefishes have "no way out". And edibles are rare, and their odds of finding it very slim. By design, they are small and low in population because they are have to be. In many cases, a cavefish species that maxes out at a couple inches long is the apex predator in their habitat. Think about that. Above ground, a fish a couple inches long is way down at the bottom of the food chain. Deep in a cave, they are the equivalent of a polar bear or great white. Think about how massive those two species get. Now think about all the food needed to support their biomass. OK, now back into the caves - when your apex preds are a couple inches long, you know prey and territory are at a premium!

So that's the gestalt, I'll let smarter folks than I give specifics.

For folks further interested in caves, here's a legit source of info: http://caves.org/
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#7 loopsnj64

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 02:10 PM

Thank you, it just didnt make sense at first


"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


#8 centrarchid

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 09:01 PM

Thank you, it just didnt make sense at first

Approach I would take is to have a the existing system operated so well below carrying capacity even within respect to food already self-sustaining in the very large tank.  The food change as it exists could possible keep a very small group of fish in good nutrition even without additional inputs.


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