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Looking to start native habitat for Florida fish (in SW Virginia)

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#1 ki4got

  • NANFA Guest
  • sw Virginia

Posted 23 July 2017 - 04:46 PM

When I lived in Florida, I had a number of tanks stocked from local canals, but that was 30+ years ago.


What I am asking for are suggestions to help balance an indoor pond with fish, invertebrates and plants, based on the description of what I have posted below...

What I have now is an indoor, above-ground pond that has been up and running for over 15 years. it holds approximately 100 gallons. I had assorted livebearers in it for a while, goldfish another time, but most recently it's just been sitting empty with my live plants taking it over.


I had the plans in shallow litter pans, but when I cleaned it out recently I took the pans/gravel out and only planted a large enough pan to hold all the plants I saved. Anubias sp & java moss primarily. I also have a variety of driftwood pieces that have been taken out to dry for now, until I decide if they're needed again.


What I'm wanting to do is replant it (in pans, again, if you think that might be an ok idea?) and stock it with native fishes that will get along just fine and reproduce on their own without much interference. Filtration is minimal but enough circulation to keep the surface clear. I have just a small pump/filter on it that does maybe 25 gph. I could enlarge the filter if needed. During the summer live foods are also plentiful since my door stays open a large part of the time (mosquito larva especially).


We have a well but the water is a bit hard. not extremely so, but nowhere near what you'd have with a water filter/softener.


One species in particular I'm interested in is Heterandria formosa. that was one of my favorites for years, the second would be the Bluefin killi. beyond those two, I'd like to add maybe 2 or 3 other species that would get along and balance out the pond for me.


So basically I'm looking for suggestions of what species I could put with the two mentioned, possible live foods that will also live in the pond, and any plants/invertebrates that might help balance it out.  I'm in SW Virginia, so anyone with the species suggested, would you also be willing to share them to get me going? or point out a reasonably priced source.

Edited by ki4got, 23 July 2017 - 04:48 PM.

#2 don212

  • NANFA Member

Posted 23 July 2017 - 05:56 PM

how about flagfish, you can get those at  petstore, and mollies,

#3 Michael Wolfe

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

Posted 23 July 2017 - 06:01 PM

You could easily do the two species you want.  I might also like pygmy killis and maybe even a couple of full sized topminnows (F. linealatus or F. chysotus) they would be large enough to easily see and would be fun.

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

#4 lilyea

  • NANFA Member
  • Peace River Watershed, Central Florida, USA

Posted 23 July 2017 - 07:40 PM

While I am a fan of chrysotus, from my experience they don't mix well with heterandria.  I also think that the heterandria would be at risk with J. floridae (flagfish).  I would recommend bluefin killies and wild mollies.  The blue in the tail of a dominant male wild molly is enjoyable to watch from the surface.  Additionally, melanistic gambusia may be compatible these other species (I haven't personally kept them with heterandria) and are also enjoyable to watch from the surface.

#5 NotCousteau

  • NANFA Guest
  • Minnesota

Posted 28 July 2017 - 12:49 PM

Would love to see pictures.

#6 ki4got

  • NANFA Guest
  • sw Virginia

Posted 28 July 2017 - 01:59 PM

Thanks for the suggestions... 

Lilyea, those species were all collected together years ago in the canals around Boca Raton (where I lived at the time), so thank you.


I have had the Flag fish before and while they were interesting, they did not do well with livebearers as they were hunting the fry constantly.


When the pond is cleaned up, replanted and ready to stock I'll post pictures and hopefully find someone that has these or can get them easily who is willing to ship them to me.


but what about invertebrates?  was thinking of getting some to fill out the biotope and as a possible food supply (gammarus sp, freshwater shrimp, small crayfish, etc?)

#7 gerald

  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 29 July 2017 - 10:24 AM

Amphipods yes - collect from local headwater creeks or floodplain pools in leaf litter with an aquarium net.  Crayfish, probably not: the small ones (Cambarellus) are deep-south species, not likely to survive SW VA winters.  The VA native ones are all larger species, far as I know, and since crayfish can take a long hike in rainy weather, do NOT stock non-native ones in an outdoor pond where they could escape.


oops INDOOR pond ... sorry i missed that.

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

#8 littlen

  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 29 July 2017 - 11:01 AM

Ki,  you could develop a nice ecosystem in a 100g indoor pond with live foods, plants, and both species of fish you listed.  Given enough dense vegetation, you'd get recruitment of both species.  Adding much of anything larger and you have predation issues.  Enneacanthus sp. would probably work with the hets and Bluefins.  Dense vegetation would again be necessary as a refuge for smaller hets and fry of both species of killifish .  Elassoma as mentioned before would be another great addition.  However, viewed from above you're not likely to see them as they hug the bottom of the water column.  Do you also have side viewing?

You reside in my favorite place on earth for U.S. [SW VA] natives, so you have a lot of choices should you decide against the killis.  Crayfish always come with their risks.  Always doable, just depends on your risk/reward outlook and what your tolerance is for the potential losses.

Nick L.

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