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Newbie to aquaria seeking help


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#1 Creekwalker

Creekwalker
  • NANFA Guest
  • Asheville, NC

Posted 10 July 2017 - 05:25 PM

Hi all, 

 

I have been away from this forum for a while, but my brother passed away this spring leaving me a 55 gallon tank with African jeweled cychlids.  I am finding a home for the cychlids and want to create a native fish aquarium with fish from the streams around me in the mountains outside of Asheville.

 

I noticed that the stream where I gathered gravel yesterday was at 60 degrees and in my house the tank is at 75.  What is the best way to cool water?  Also, will tap water be okay if allowed to sit and off gas the chlorine?

 

Will get into species after I settle the habitat issues.  Would love to try darters or at the least minnows species, but would be happy with crayfish for starters.  :)

 

Thanks so much in advance!

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#2 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 10 July 2017 - 09:15 PM

There are several species of minnows and darters in your area that will do OK at room temperature as long as you keep your water well oxygenated.  You have some good options up that way.

 

I use PRIME to knock out the chlorine, its quicker and easier in my experience.


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

#3 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 10 July 2017 - 09:44 PM

+1 for Prime.  Chloramine will not off-gas like plain chlorine does.  Also, I would mix in some sand to fill in the spaces between those large gravel particles, or else the food will fall in there where the fish cant get it.  I'd start off with minnows and sunfish, which are easier to care for than darters.  ... and stick with the warm-tolerant species for now; tank chillers are expensive and troublesome.


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


#4 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
  • NANFA Member
  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:29 AM

Tank looks great. Agree with adding sand to fill in the gaps in the substrate. This will make it much easier to clean. My tank stays between 70 and 74 in the summer. I don't have any problems keeping sunfish, minnows and darters at this temperature.
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#5 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 11 July 2017 - 08:41 AM

Another free method to cooling a tank is moving it down to the basement--if possible.  Sorry to hear about your loss.


Nick L.

#6 Creekwalker

Creekwalker
  • NANFA Guest
  • Asheville, NC

Posted 11 July 2017 - 08:50 AM

Thanks all.  You guys are great and I will use all of your tips.

 

Michael and Todd, any specific recommendations on species that would work in that temperature range?

 

And thanks Nick, I appreciate that.  I'm sure he's in a good place full of wonder and probably more than a few fish.  :)



#7 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:20 AM

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

#8 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:16 PM

You're in a good location and state to get a wide range of fish, from distinctly different habitats.  If you still want to do a stream habitat there are some fish that will do better at the mid 70 range than others.  Most of the shiners do better in the warmer temps with good aeration.  I'll admit that I've had some darters fare just fine at that temp, too.


Nick L.

#9 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
  • NANFA Member
  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 11 July 2017 - 02:56 PM

Gotta second Michael on the Bluehead Chub. Had one for a long time and it has been extremely hardy. Rainbow darters do well for me also. Blacknose dace, spot fin shiners, blunt nose minnows, and stonerollers have all done well for me at these temps.


Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#10 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:20 PM

Gotta second Michael on the Bluehead Chub. Had one for a long time and it has been extremely hardy. Rainbow darters do well for me also. Blacknose dace, spot fin shiners, blunt nose minnows, and stonerollers have all done well for me at these temps.

These are truly all great starter fishes. I really couldn't think of a better list.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#11 gerald

gerald
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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:25 PM

The French Broad River near Asheville (Tennessee R basin) has River chubs instead of Bluehead chubs, which are in all the Atlantic drainage basins.  Both are great fish, but River chubs get bigger.  Other nice ones in the French Broad are Whitetail shiner, Saffron shiner, Warpaint shiner, Tennesee shiner, Blacknose dace, Gilt darter, Redline darter, Swannanoa darter, etc.  Heading east into the Catawba basin you can get Bluehead chub, Greenhead shiner, Greenfin shiner, Fieryblack shiner, Rosyside dace, Seagreen darter, Tesselated darter, etc.  If you keep darters together with minnows, you need to be diligent about feeding the darters often to make sure they get enough food.  Most darters pick a little food all day long, and won't eat large amounts at each feeding as minnows do.


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


#12 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 11 July 2017 - 05:36 PM

  If you keep darters together with minnows, you need to be diligent about feeding the darters often to make sure they get enough food.  Most darters pick a little food all day long, and won't eat large amounts at each feeding as minnows do.

 With many darter species, a good population of snails in the tank can help accomplish what Gerald is suggesting. Not a substitute entirely for a good feeding regimen, but can certainly smooth out the bumps. The exception may be greenside darters. They so voraciously eat snails that the snails can barely keep up. I am aquarium keeper who likes snails, and am sure I am not alone in this group. Natural like a native tank should be I guess.

 

 If you have easy access to blackworms, they can also help keep darters in good health, as those not immediately eaten will typically survive until eaten. Turkey baster can help get any darter food down to their level. I also saw someone suggest a feeding tube around here. I tried it, and it worked well, and the darters learned to use it. Just fix any type of rigid tube or pipe to the tank. I prefer clear. Let it sit roughly an inch above the water level, and about a half inch or less above the substrate. You can just drop darter feed into it and it goes right to their level. I liked using frozen blood worms, as the frozen chunk will float in the tube, slowly thawing and dropping blood worms.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#13 Creekwalker

Creekwalker
  • NANFA Guest
  • Asheville, NC

Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:13 AM

This is awesome!  Thank you all so much!

 

I know with species like warpaint shiners that they seem to roam constantly, whereas darters seem to hug the bottom and move more deliberately unless disturbed.  Any issues re: tank size, flow, etc. to keep them in their preferred activity range?

 

Again, this is all great info and I'm on a steep learning curve. 

 

Thanks!



#14 gerald

gerald
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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:47 AM

Preferred activity range in captivity may not match what they do in nature.  Gentle flow is fine; even the species often found in fast water really don't need strong flow in an aquarium.


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


#15 littlen

littlen
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  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:50 AM

Tank size is whatever you want.  We can suggest stocking densities based on your final volume but you can have a great school of shiners and darters in even a 20-30 gallon.  But "the bigger the better"--says most fishkeepers.


Nick L.

#16 MadChris48

MadChris48
  • NANFA Guest
  • Asheville, NC

Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:21 PM

Any update on this project? I live in Asheville as well and caught interest in creating a native species river biotope tank. How are things going?






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