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Banded Sunfish Spawning


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#1 jeffreyconte

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 08:36 PM

Several years ago, I collected three juvenile Enneacanthus obesus in South Carolina and drove them back to my home in Illinois. At the time, I did not know whether they were Banded or Bluespotted, let alone the sex of them. As it turns out, I had two female and one male E. obesus. I have kept them in their own tank, because of their preference for soft, acidic water. They have thrived and this summer I noticed that both females were rather plump, and I assumed that they were full of eggs. Despite the fact that I made no attempt to breed these fish, nature has taken its course. Several days ago, I notice a large number of eggs spread around the tank. As there was no apparent nest, I was not sure if they had been fertilized. They were, and now I have more than 50 fry, not yet free swimming but clearly growing without any intervention on my part. I moved the three adults to new quarters so that the young-uns don't become an easy meal. I would like raise them, keep a few and give away the rest to a good home(s).

 

At this time, I am seeking advice on what to feed the fry. Brine shrimp nauplii would seem to be too big, but perhaps I am wrong. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

 

Also, if you would like a few free juvenile E. obesus (should they survive), please let me know.



#2 gerald

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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:22 PM

Congratulations!  Once the yolk-sac is gone and they start swimming upright, they may be able to handle fresh-hatched BS, but you could also add some waterlogged tree leaves and fine-leaved plants (from another tank, tub, rain barrel, etc) that will hopefully have some rotifers, paramecium, and other suitable-size food bugs.  Good luck and YES i'm sure you'll find eager customers on here who'll want your home-grown juveniles.  Good luck with them. Watch out for Hydra! especially if collecting wild foods.


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


#3 sbtgrfan

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  • Charleston, SC

Posted 16 July 2017 - 06:38 AM

Congrats. I have some E. gloriosus in a tank at work that decided they wanted to spawn despite not having that acidic water. I believe I have 2 males and 4 females. Both males take residence inside of some false habitat (split rope) and use that as a "nest" however eggs are always just scattered about. Very surprised when I first saw this as I expected them to be nest builders - I know E. chaetadon are because I've had them spawn as well. I decided to siphon out a bunch of the freeswimming fry on the initial spawn (siphoned maybe 50ish) and have had one fry survive to a larger state now to where he's eating brine shrimp adults. I have since attempted at raising several other batches (they spawn almost weekly for the past couple of months) but have had zero success. I have a brood going now in a container with some live local hornwort and I've also left a ton in the main tank to see what happens (I've had 50 blackbanded darters survive a month of ammonium chloride somehow just by eating algae or whatever they could find in the gravel.) They stayed alive about a week of me being gone with no feedings, so I'm guessing they are eating something off the hornwort. I drop some brine shrimp nauplii in with them occasionally, but as you mentioned they are way too small to eat these and seems I just siphon them out when I change their water. They aren't that much bigger than the BSN. I don't have anything else I could feed them that's smaller, we don't culture rotifers or green water, etc. My plan is to just leave them and see what happens and if I see some grow to the point they can eat BSN, I'll go from there. The next step down from brine shrimp nauplii would probably be rotifers. Easily cultured, I just don't have the time or space at work to do it. 

 

Long story short - try rotifers. Or definitely try Gerald's suggestion as well. The live hornwort has seemed to keep several alive for me. 


Stephen Beaman
Freshwater Aquarist
South Carolina Aquarium
Charleston, SC

#4 jeffreyconte

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:16 AM

Gerald & Stephen-

 

Thanks for the advice. I do have access to lots of hornwort as well as some waterlogged oak leaves from from my other tanks. I may purchase some cultured rotifers as well to supplement these. 

 

This is exciting, as up until now I have only had to raise Least Killifish and Sailfin molly fry, which seem to adapt to crushed flakes almost instantly. 



#5 centrarchid

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 02:34 PM

Are you certain they are scattering the eggs about?  No constructed nest or depression evident?


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#6 jeffreyconte

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:40 PM

I am not certain about the lack of a nest. To be fair, the substrate - a mix of sand and gravel - wasn't ideal for nest building for these little guys and they may have done their best to construct a depression.



#7 centrarchid

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:03 PM

2" banded male should be able to tail-sweep sand just fine.  So many not reporting / observing well defined nest makes me thing nest under something like Ozark Baas frequently does.


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#8 centrarchid

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:15 PM

Did you see courtship or color changes exhibited by male during interval you suspect spawning occurred?


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#9 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:42 PM

Water from a local lake or even better, a fertile pond, might provide you with an easy food source.

The member formerly known as Skipjack


#10 jeffreyconte

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 10:07 PM

The male is much more shy than the females and spends his time hiding under a particular low-growing plant in my aquarium. I can tease him out with bloodworms, but not for long. He has been sporting brighter colors and gold spots for a couple of months now. My aquariums are in my basement, so the water temperature has remained low although daylight has increased to about 15 hours. I have the lighting linked to a digital timer that turns the lights on at sunrise and off at sunset. The water temperature just recently passed the 70F mark, which may have prompted the spawning. Of course, I am just speculating about that.

 

I did not observe any courtship behavior, although I did see the male out from under his usual spot, side-by-side with a female in the area where the spawning occurred. But that was after the spawning, or perhaps they were taking a break.



#11 Dustin

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 08:35 AM

My question is unrelated to the spawning.  

 

Where did you catch the obesus in SC?  I have made literally thousands of collections in SC, admittedly not often in areas appropriate for obesus, and have yet to get one here.  I have caught them in NC, GA and FL but not here.  I have seen so many blackbandeds and bluespotteds over the years that I can't get over the lack of bandeds.  Heck, I have caught more than 100 mud sunfish but no obesus.  I am apparently afflicted with the Matt Knepley obesus curse. Any guidance would be appreciated.   


Dustin Smith
At the convergence of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree
Lexington, SC


#12 gerald

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 12:35 PM

The problem may be your ID skills are too good, Dustin.  Plenty of other people have found "banded sunfish" all over the coastal plain in NC and SC! :-s  Fritz's book (pg 318) says that at least some of the Savannah basin records are valid.


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


#13 Dustin

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 01:01 PM

I have seen photos of them from the Francis Marion Forest NW of Charleston and from several swamps near Walterboro so I know they are here.  I definitely think bluespots, specifically female and juvenile fish, get called banded a lot.  I just need to go spend a day in the right areas and see what I can come up with.  I tried the Francis Marion and caught a ton of fish that should be with bandeds like banded pygmies, pirate perch, mud sunfish, swampfish, etc., but no bandeds.  I will not give up.


Dustin Smith
At the convergence of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree
Lexington, SC


#14 jeffreyconte

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 08:02 AM

Gerald & Dustin -

 

Well, I certainly don't claim to be an expert at identification of Enneacanthus. I identified them as E. obesus based on the number of bands and how visible they are. I thought that the banding in adult male E. gloriosus was not readily visible. If I have led you astray, I apologize.

 

To answer your question, Dustin, I collected them in North Myrtle beach in a ditch south of the Waccamaw River. I may be able to give you the exact location, but I have to look it up.



#15 gerald

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:31 PM

All three Enneacanthus occur in the Waccamaw basin, so it's certainly possible.  Some gloriosus are pretty strongly banded (usually females and young, but occasionally adult males too).  One of the better indicators i've found for live specimens is the iridescent markings under and behind the eye:  in gloriosus they are round dots or very short dashes, whereas in obesus they are long dashes often connecting in a continuous crescent.  Also a blunter head shape and less orange in the anal fin are obesus features.  Post a pic of your fish and we'll hopefully confirm your ID.


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


#16 jeffreyconte

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 05:02 PM

This is about the best picture that I can get. 

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#17 jeffreyconte

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 05:03 PM

Not only are my photography skills lacking, but so are my computer skills! I couldn't figure out how to rotate the photo.



#18 gerald

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 06:39 PM

The one on the right is a bluespotted. I can't see enough of the other ones to tell.  Look at the photos in the NANFA gallery (or Fritz's SC Fishes book) and you'll see the difference in the dots (bluespotted) vs dash-crescent (banded) under the eye.  Both are great little aquarium fish of course.


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


#19 jeffreyconte

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 07:02 PM

Gerald-

 

Thank you! I have read in several books that E. obesus & E. gloriosus are not found in the same bodies of water. Is that true? These three we collected within 20 ft of each other. 



#20 gerald

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 10:06 AM

Not true.  They can and do occur together in the same habitat in some places, including Waccamaw River tribs in the Green Swamp area and Lake Horicon in NJ.  However, obesus does seem to have the advantage in the more extreme acidic habitats.  I suspect this is due to ecological competition, not a physiological need.  In captivity they do fine at neutral pH and low-moderate hardness.


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





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