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Adrenaline-junkie Swampies?


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#1 mattknepley

mattknepley
  • NANFA Member
  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 03 January 2018 - 06:18 AM

I have a Swamp Darter or two that seem to have developed a daredevil side. They are in a 20 tall, and will "scale" the sponge filter vertically, belly tight to the sponge, pop up over the top and rest on the sponge for just a second. Then they repeat the procedure with the uplift tube, even getting almost completely upside down on the outflow. (The uplift tube is an upside down "L".) Kinda reminds me of the Grinch snaking around and over stuff as he stole Christmas. They will usually rest again for just a second with their heads, chests, and pelvic fins on the uplift's opening and then launch into the bubbles and go for a ride. The airflow is pretty ambitious for a sponge filter.

They are fat and happy and social,no signs of parasites or disease. WQ appears to be good. So I don't think they're goofy sick or trying to escape to better water. No other darters I have had have done this, including a Swampie. Any idea what's up?

Have tried to video and/or record this, but with no results worth posting...
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#2 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 03 January 2018 - 11:52 AM

Sounds like they're just exploring and playing, as most darters do.  Possibly checking out potential spawning sites with flow, or watching for tiny worms, cyclops, etc that get blown out of the sponge.


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


#3 lilyea

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

Posted 03 January 2018 - 12:23 PM

Matt - I thoroughly enjoy watching my swamp darters play, but I havent seen your described activity. I would really like to see a video if and when you are able to capture the behavior.

#4 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 03 January 2018 - 12:43 PM

I think you have a reincarnated cichlid stuck inside a darter's body...interacting with tank furniture.  An unusual behavior, but seems like harmless fun.  Very neat.  

(I can also picture it being upsidedown and 'Homer' singing "Spider-darter" to the same tune he did "Spider Pig" in the Simpson's Movie).


Nick L.

#5 Michael Wolfe

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

Posted 03 January 2018 - 07:59 PM

I've got some darters in a shiner tank, and I swear they are climbing plants and driftwood to perch higher in the tank so that they can compete for food.  These are not swamps, but a mix of redlines, rainbows, blackbanded (which sometimes swim like darters anyway) and a bronze.


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

#6 keepnatives

keepnatives
  • Regional Rep

Posted 03 January 2018 - 08:04 PM

I had a similar experience many years ago in a 55 gallon community natives tank.  I had a pile of fist sized rocks stacked in one back corner with a power filter inside and an oversized hob filter flowing in the same direction which created a very strong flow along the back of the tank.  Many of the fish including rainbow darters, dace, shiners and three or four 2.5 inch diameter painted turtles would actually line up along the front and side and take turns dropping into the flow and riding it towards the other end.  Then they would quickly swim back and get in line for another ride. If I hadn't seen it myself I'd never have believed it.  


Mike Lucas
Mohawk-Hudson Watershed
Schenectady NY

#7 Doug_Dame

Doug_Dame
  • NANFA Member

Posted 04 January 2018 - 10:18 PM

I've seen some of these behaviors too,

 

Some years ago I caught a tiny skinny darter in mid-Bama that I tentatively ID'd as a coal darter (Percina brevicauda.) It was in my "darter tank," which had a 48" x 24" footprint, and a fairly strong circular flow. The little guy would swim up to about 4" from the surface, and "surf", in a heads-up 45-degree position (think ski-jumper, without skis) and without any fin movement .. around the tank for two or three or four loops, before sinking back to the substrate. Just rode the current, seemingly for fun. Did it all the time. I was working at home at the time, and this tank was directly in front of my desk. I saw this fish do this 1000s of times. 

 

The same tank later on had fairly dense vegetation growing out of a central underwater mountain ridge. A female fantail spent a good 60% of her time perching in the vegetation 1-2" from the surface, hunting baby Heterandria formosa. After a while there were never any baby Heters in the tank. None of the other darters in the tank did that. (Male fantails, redlines, rainbows, etc.) 

 

Very interesting critters, these darters. Some clearly have the ability to innovate and teach themselves new behaviors.


Doug Dame

Floridian now in Cincinnati
 


#8 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 05 January 2018 - 10:36 AM

Erica had rainbow darters that spent most of their time hopping around in the floating hornwort (55 gal, 18" deep) hunting for swordtail babies.


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


#9 mattknepley

mattknepley
  • NANFA Member
  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 06 January 2018 - 09:46 AM

Hah! Fun stuff, all! Maybe we need to have some Darter X-Games installed for the GA convention! :P

I have no doubt these swampies are fairly well adapted to a slightly more "elevated" life than many other darters. These were literally by-catch darters I picked up while swiping topminnows from a weedy millpond in central SC. Was out in a canoe and couldn't reach the bottom of said pond. I figured they were climbing the weeds looking for food. Their current tank actually has live plants in it that seem not to know they are suppose to die when I buy them. It is not uncommon to see the darters scaling the "trees" and looking for food or whatever it is a darter would search for. Like the one Doug mentioned, two of the three swampies were tiny and thin. I thought I only had two, but after a few days of holding them in a tank outside, I realized I had three! Couldn't begin to tell you what piece of weedy flotsam that third one snuck in on!
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."




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