Jump to content


Hello, I'm lazyfortress

7 replies to this topic

#1 lazyfortress

  • NANFA Guest
  • Maryland

Posted 28 February 2017 - 06:21 PM

Hello everyone!  I'm lazyfortress, and I guess I'm new to keeping fish.  I've only kept bettas.  I'm thinking about getting either a swamp darter, greenside darter, Johnny darter, or a savannah darter.  Which of these are the most hardy and easy to keep?  And which ones can live in smaller tanks?  And I've read on this websites that most darters like cover and vegetation.  What kinds of plants that I can buy at petsmart will do for a darter?  And finally, can I keep one darter and one snail in the same tank together?  Just the two of them?


Any help is appreciated!






Edit:  Are darters friendly and active like bettas?  I had my betta trained to take food from my fingers.  He'd always go near the glass and hang near me.  Are darters like that?

Edited by lazyfortress, 28 February 2017 - 06:23 PM.

#2 mattknepley

  • NANFA Member
  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 01 March 2017 - 06:33 AM

Welcome, Lazyfortress!

Many of our darters make for pretty good starter fish. Of the four you list, I have kept swamps and Savannahs. Swampies are very tough, and are quite personable. In a short time they will start coming to the top for food at chow time. Which is rather humorous as they are bottom dwellers. The Savannahs, while definitely prettier than the swampies, are a touch less personable and hardy. Still fine for trying your hand with natives, though. I'll let others chime in with their fave darters, and leave it to say that my own is the Christmas Darter. If you go to the NANFA home page (we are much more than just a forum) and click on the "Fish in Focus" tab you will find a write up on them. Personally, I find them to be the most visible, attractive, and personable darters of the 7 or so darter species I've kept. They also won't care what the tank decor is, as long as there is something to perch on and duck behind.

I'm not sure what you mean by "small tank". If you're thinking five or ten gallon, then that is plenty of room for a darter and snail. If you're thinking one of those 1 gallon betta tanks, then you could do a swampie and a snail. I'm not sure they'd be happy in a betta bowl, and even the 1g is kinda small.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#3 littlen

  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 01 March 2017 - 07:58 AM

Greenside darters are professional snail eaters.  

Nick L.

#4 gerald

  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:08 AM

Also consider the Tesselated darter, which is very common in Maryland and is similar to the Johnny darter.  Swamps and Tesselateds would probably work well together.  I would avoid Greenside darter until you have more experience with darters. Greensides get big, but they often get thin and weak in captivity without proper feeding.  Don't rely on dry pellet and flake foods for ANY darters.  Many darters will not eat dry food, and even those that do eat it rarely do well long-term on a dry-food only diet.  You'll need to feed frozen and/or live foods as their main diet.  Any aquatic plants are OK.  For easy beginner plants I'd suggest Vallisneria, Chain-sword, dwarf Sagittaria, Java moss, Java fern, Hornwort (= Coontail), Najas, Elodea, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Water-wisteria, and Bolbitis.  Be aware that some of the "aquarium plants" sold in shops are really land plants that will survive for a several months underwater, but can't really grow submerged and wont provide the ammonia and nitrate removing benefits that true aquatic plants provide.

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

#5 Josh Blaylock

Josh Blaylock
  • Board of Directors
  • Central Kentucky

Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:52 AM

Greenside darters are professional snail eaters.  


Yes, but Greensides get rather large.  Probably not a good small aquarium choice.

Josh Blaylock - Central KY
NANFA on Facebook - NANFA on YouTube - NANFA on Google+


I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861

#6 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 01 March 2017 - 06:04 PM

Rainbow, johnny, and fantails are common starter darters. Tesselated are close to johnny darters, virtually the same fish, but I have no experience with them, so I cannot endorse them. I have had great luck with greensides, but they do get large and absolutely will not do well without specialized feeding. I have always had plenty of pond snails to fulfill their needs. Rainbow darters will eat flake food, same with johnny's. They may even look like they are getting enough from it for a while,but ultimately they will need frozen or live to sustain them long term. I think rainbow is probably the easiest  darter I have worked with. If I were feeding a single one I would probably use frozen blood worms as the bulk of their diet. Supplement with other frozen, and maybe regularly dip a fine mesh net in a local body of water for live feed. I suggest this assuming you are using a small tank. Live food will survive and feed for a few days. Frozen is eaten pretty quickly. Flake or any other prepared food won't be taken as readily, and will lead to water quality issues. Hatching tiny amounts of brine shrimp might be rewarding. Good food, and entertaining to watch your darter prey upon them. Good luck.

The member formerly known as Skipjack

#7 truecrimson

  • NANFA Guest
  • Leb-A-non, PA

Posted 04 March 2017 - 04:14 PM


#8 MtFallsTodd

  • NANFA Member
  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 04 March 2017 - 06:11 PM

Welcome to the forum. Rainbow darters are great to start with. Easy to get addicted to them, they have lots of personality and adapt to aquarium life very well.
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

Reply to this topic


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users