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Bringing Bantam Sunfish Back From Starvation


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#1 centrarchid

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:15 PM

About two weeks ago while servicing a tank that had been down since last spring, I found five Bantam Sunfish from last year that were emaciated.  That had not been fed for better than 6 months and also did not have water exchange, supplemental aeration nor light beyond what came in under door to fish room.  They were so thin they had trouble swimming and could only weakly peck at flake food.  A couple could eat some frozen blood worms but not enough to put on a belly.  I started feeding them freshly hatched BS which they could consume while breathing.  After a couple of days all, but one fish, began targeting BS aggressively when BS were concentrated under light or not.  The remaining fish did not start eating until I greatly increased the BS density and even then feeds only under light where density is extremely high.  After only two weeks a couple of the females look ready to breed.  Males seem to have a harder time coming back into good weight.


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#2 juhason

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 10:05 PM

Wow! To survive 6 months without anything is incredible, such resilient fish. Poor guys though, must of been an awful time. Glad they are doing better! I would love to see before and after pics if you have them. 



#3 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 07:58 AM

Interesting that they would only eat BS at high density. Assume that instinct told them that chasing them at low density would be a caloric net loss. This probably has many implications on angling. Periods of heavy feeding (fish are biting) vs.low activity, energy conservation (fish aren't biting). Of course this is an extreme scenario.


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#4 centrarchid

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:55 AM

Weight coming back on all, even the skinny dude.  Females may be able to spawn now.  Males, including the skinny dude are fighting a lot.  Even skinny dude now consuming frozen bloodworms.

 

I think consuming even single BS pays for energy investment associated with actual effort to ingest.  The bigger problem is likely firing up the GIT that is darn near nothing.  To power up the GIT, the fish must mobilize reserves from other parts of the body such as muscle which is also greatly reduced.  Reluctance to feed may be a mechanism preventing the expensive gamble of investing in operating the GIT without sufficient return coming from feeding.  Too little feed, then it is better not to eat when in starvation mode is my hypothesis.

 

Either way, I am betting on spawns by end of the month.


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#5 JasonL

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 12:51 PM

I've always made arrangements for someone to feed my aquarium bantams and orangespots when I'm out of town more than a week or two.

Going to rethink that procedure now after reading this thread.

#6 centrarchid

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 02:04 PM

I've always made arrangements for someone to feed my aquarium bantams and orangespots when I'm out of town more than a week or two.

Going to rethink that procedure now after reading this thread.

Are your Bantam's tank bred and reared?


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#7 JasonL

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 06:56 PM

Are your Bantam's tank bred and reared?


Not sure since I got them from a vendor last year before I realized I could catch them wild a half hour from my house. Very passive for a sunfish. Even my juvenile flier push them around.

#8 centrarchid

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 07:55 PM

Mine are getting sassy fast.  Fatter male (still thin) is taking on all comers and getting dark.  Ovary region of females showing color.  If he can settle onto a nest we may not even make it to Friday before brood produced.  


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#9 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:03 PM

So Fast. I bet green sunfish might be even more resilient. Any experience with that?


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#10 centrarchid

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:17 PM

" I cannot get Bantams to cross with any Lepomis on their own, even when controlling for size.  I bet they will cross with Enneacanthus, just fine. "

 

Ya gonna try it?


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#11 gerald

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:04 PM

What the hell?  I tried to respond to centrarchid's post and somehow replaced his post with mine .... ???? 

Dunno what i did, but I'm sorry James!


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#12 centrarchid

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:01 AM

I saw the edit and figured someone with special powers did it.

 

 

If practical, then I may try to cross the Bantams with Banded Sunfish.  It is those two I think are sister species.


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#13 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:31 AM

Were you on a mobile device Gerald? On my phone the quote and edit buttons are side by side. Maybe just a slip of the finger?
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#14 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:35 AM

If practical, then I may try to cross the Bantams with Banded Sunfish.  It is those two I think are sister species.

This could be very interesting. If you managed to cross them, it would be hard to ignore.


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#15 gerald

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:59 PM

No i screwed it up just fine on a desktop machine - can't use that convenient excuse. 

But yeah somehow i must have used moderator's "edit" instead of "reply"

Will try not to do that again!

 

Were you on a mobile device Gerald? On my phone the quote and edit buttons are side by side. Maybe just a slip of the finger?


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"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#16 centrarchid

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 09:51 AM

All three females are really feeling hot.  Eyes dark and they are fight a lot even presenting to me.  I am not interested.  Better of two males has been transferred to a 40-gallon breeder where he is being blasted with light and warmed up a bit.  After 14 hours I briefly introduced a female.  She was showing clear signs of being ready to breed and would have done so if he courted.  He did not so she was removed.  Will increase temperature to about 74 F.  Male used actually smaller than females he will be bred with.  I will attempt to rear the young in mass like with the Pirate Perch.  Mass with these guys is > 1,000.  Then I might be able setup a real breeding colony in a much larger tank come spring.  I salvaged a 200-gallon cylindrical fiberglass tank to be setup come April next to where Fliers are being conditioned.  2018 should be real fun at multiple levels.


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#17 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 01:58 PM

Someone ship Centrarchid some banded sunfish males. O:)  I am intrigued.


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