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Mixing Natives with Non-Natives?

3 replies to this topic

#1 Kehy

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:10 AM

I have a pair of 20 tall tanks, and while one of them will be for the standard tropical fish, one tank I'm planning on leaving as a cool water/native tank. The reason is that I've acquired a Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis) and they do best in cooler/cold tanks. While I could likely put it in with the tropicals, I was curious if anyone had thoughts as to mixing it with native species. This particular fish I do know is community friendly, but are there usual guidelines or advice when it comes to mixing fish? I've had Least Killies pop up in most of my tanks, and had no issues with them at all, other than overpopulating and being a pain to remove. 

Any stocking thoughts for a 20 tall in general as a community setup?

Any concerns with adding a foreigner to the mix?

#2 Doug_Dame

  • NANFA Member

Posted 22 July 2017 - 12:03 PM

All fish are local to somewhere.


Conversely. all fish are non-local to everywhere else. 


Unless they want to have an aquarium representing some specific biotype, most fish-keepers wouldn't give a thought to mixing east Asia fish with South American fish with African fish with Australian fish. Compatible requirements for temperature, water parameters, light, space, structure. flow, etc .. and temperment of the various species ... are the main factors on what to mix in community tanks or not. Any native-to-the-USofA fish would be exactly the same.


My default recommendation of "what native fish to start with" would be: "Something you can go out and collect yourself", so something that's close by, colorful and/or has character would pop to the top of the list. You have to check the regs that apply to your state (and/or nearby states), but in most states a regular fishing license will let you can catch small (non-game) fish with a net, and keep them for personal use.(Caveat, read the regulations for allowable species and methods of capture.) A license, a net, a bucket, and some shoes that can get wet are all you need to get started. A cooler to bring 'em home in is also useful. Now that we're in the summertime, you do have to be careful about temperatures, fish in buckets etc can get hot or oxygen-deprived quite quickly.


Peterson's Field Guide to Freshwater Species (2nd) edition is available at most big bookstores in the nature section, and sometimes at the library. I bought recently bought 2 used copies (1st edition) at a Friends of Library operation for $2 each. Not only is this an excellent field guide, but with the maps you can use it to figure out what's near you. And some states or fish-fiends have web-sites that highlight small fish that could have aquarium potential. For example, our own Josh Blaylock has an excellent site Kentucky Creeks.


The reason I recommend local-to-you fish is that we tend to have a special interest and affinity in the fish when we catch them in some creek ourselves, as opposed to hunting them down in an expedition to the Local Fish Store.


Connecting with any local NANFAns is a good way to get hints and pointers on where to go, how to find any species you're interested in, etc. Going with other people on a field trip is good fun and a great way to get started.





Doug Dame

Floridian now back in Florida

#3 Aquarist Fist

Aquarist Fist
  • NANFA Guest
  • Oregon

Posted 22 July 2017 - 01:38 PM

I have been keeping an ancient pearl gourami, a few diamond tetras as well as a few otocinclus in a tank with a male Missouri longear and two smaller sunfish (blanking out on the species right now), and they get along beautifully. The tropicals are from an older setup, and I decided to allow them to expire naturally rather than taking them to a store (with all the stress that comes with it). I even added two bristlenose plecos and may restock the otos. Otos are fantastic - they just get along with everyone. As long as the Missouri longear gets to eat his weight in worms and flakes every day, there is no aggression whatsoever. ;) I should mention that the tank doesn't go below around 68, so it's not that cool. 

Edited by Aquarist Fist, 22 July 2017 - 01:38 PM.

#4 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 23 July 2017 - 07:58 PM

If you are not making a dedicated native tank and their care requirements overlap, I see no reason not to mix them. As far as
compatibility goes, that may be yours to report.

The member formerly known as Skipjack

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