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Darter feeding time!


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#1 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
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Posted 18 October 2018 - 05:18 PM

My rainbow darter caught this tiny feeder fry as soon as it hit the water. The mature banded darter wasn't nearly as interested in fry as he was the blood worms.  However, the darters in my tank are now trained to come to the front when it's feeding time. I have 13 in my tank with most being juvenile banded darters, but I have 3 rainbows and a very gun-shy faintail darter.

 

What's your favorite darter? My two faves are the adult banded and my adult rainbow. This rainbow seen here is a younger fish.

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#2 littlen

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 06:30 AM

That is awesome.  Glad you were able to capture that moment.  I've never seen anything like that.  Could you provide a whole tank shot?

I find that Fantails are very bold but tend to stay hidden and defend a little territory.  If you don't see it for a while, chances are it is still there :)

I might have slight feelings towards Redline darters.  


Nick L.

#3 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 12:10 PM

Frecklebelly darter and fantail are my favorite captives.


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#4 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 02:29 PM

I'll try attaching more photos. For some reason my PC is locking up when I try to load more up.



#5 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 02:35 PM

Here's my tank. Kind of hard to see the fish as they're spooked. The madtom got trapped under a rock and I had to move things around. I also have 4 crayfish in here and it looks like 2 are mating.

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#6 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 02:37 PM

I have never seen a freckle belly before. I have had plenty of the banded juveniles, some johnnies, some mature banded and rainbows and this fantail, but never a freckle belly.



#7 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 02:44 PM

Here's one of my green sunfish. Love the coloration on this one!

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#8 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 02:55 PM

Frecklebelly darters are not in Ohio. They are a Ky. and Tn. resident. Most Percina darters are much less bottom dwelling than Etheostoma, but it seems even more exaggerated with frecklebelly. Behave more like shiners.


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#9 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 03:03 PM

I took a look at the frecklebelly online. They're a neat darter as well. Are they like the Johnny and stay brown colors or do they get more colorful like the rainbows and banded do?

 

My darters are extremely active fish and do spend a decent amount of time off the bottom. They really like perching(no pun intended) on the larger branch in the tank. Gives them a world-eye view of their surroundings and crayfish.



#10 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 06:04 PM

Kind of a Percina generalization as well. Most are not as colorful as most Etheostoma. There are a couple of exceptions (gilts,tangerines) but frecklebelly darters are not one of them. Lots of personality though.


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#11 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 01:17 PM

The rainbows and the banded darters seem to show a lot of personality and interaction with me. They know when it's feeding time and come to the front of the tank quickly when they see me standing in front of it. The biggest rainbow darter is a brute. I dump in the tiny feeder fry minnows and he hits them *hard*. He seems to prefer live food over the blood worms but will take both.



#12 littlen

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:34 AM

Shy of some Percina species, Rainbows have been the most bold that I've encountered.  As you say--especially the large/dominant males.  I think you'll find that most predatory animals will prefer live prey over any prepared meal.  But just be careful of your feeders possibly bringing a pathogen into your tank.  Blackworms would be a great live food.  Those that aren't eaten will live in the substrate until they are found.

It's hard to determine the size of your madtom and Green sunfish but they too have an affinity for eating fish that will fit in their mouth.  Ever thought about putting some shiner species in there?  It looks like you have some good real estate for them!  Nice tank.  I'm living vicariously through you at this time.


Nick L.

#13 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 07:50 PM

Seems like the fantail and the adult rainbow are the most shy. The fantail almost never comes out and for awhile there tonight I thought that perhaps a sunfish or the madtom ate him, but no, he just keeps himself very well hidden in the rocks. As for the adult rainbow, he's out all of the time but very camera shy. It's nearly impossible for me to get a shot of him. However, this juvenile rainbow I have is very accommodating as are most of the banded darters. This little one just finished a blood worm and the gun-shy adult rainbow below has just the very tip of a fry's tail sticking out of it's mouth. They just destroy blood worms just like the adult does the feeder fry and since they originated from the same river and place in said river, I am not to terribly worried about pathogens since they're native to this river and water(I use filtered river water and river bottom rocks for my tank). I also screen my water and thoroughly cleaned and hand-picked my rocks to remove all parasites I could physically see on them.

 

The sunfish are about 2" and 3" respectively. They tend to leave the darters alone but nip a tail once in awhile. I have to make a decision here in the nearing future. Darters or sunfish. Once they get bigger, they'll inhale them and I don't want that, especially with how personable they've become and how colorful they are. They crowd the front when I feed them and they know when it's feeding time. Impressive for wild fish!

 

Right now I have 3 Western blacknose dace and some other form of black stripe minnow in the tank. The biggest black nose is very aggressive towards shiners. I had 3 emerald shiners in here a few months back and he one by one slaughtered them. It wasn't the sunnies, it was the dace. He gets along with the black stripe and the other 2 dace but hates other species of minnows. Once in awhile he chases a darter, but since he's mid-water, he usually leaves them alone.

 

Anyhow, eventually I hope to get a good photo of the adult rainbow and my fantail. Both are extremely gun-shy.

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Edited by Fleendar the Magnificent, 21 October 2018 - 08:19 PM.


#14 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 04:00 PM

Two more photos of this rainbow catching and eating a minnow. I missed the opportunity to get him finishing his meal.

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#15 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 07:58 PM

That fish named himself Thor. Crazy, I heard you writing it,but didn't see it. Quite a feat.


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#16 JasonL

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Posted 24 October 2018 - 08:07 AM

Just a thought but you could substitute some orangespotted sunfish for the greens and they would coexist with your darters just fine long term. Orangespots are native to Ohio and you could potentially catch some locally. Greens will eventually cull most of your smaller fish once they get a bit larger.

#17 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 24 October 2018 - 08:55 AM

The Maumee drainage has plenty of very nice O-spots.


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#18 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 24 October 2018 - 03:33 PM

I am giving it thought to give away the green sunfish and just go with a darter/minnow/shiner tank only. I have really taken a liking to the darters and they don't get too big where as the sunnies will and I don't have any more room to go to a bigger tank.  For their entire lives since capture, they have been kept in native water, a brand new tank and never exposed to any tropical or non-native fishes. I get all of their water from their native river across town from the day I set up the tank down to every water change. Can I release fishes under such conditions, or do I just give them away? I have no desire to kill these fish whatsoever.

 

What's your opinion?



#19 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 24 October 2018 - 05:42 PM

Really doesn't matter too much. Illegal almost everywhere.


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#20 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 03:40 PM

Thank you for informing me. I'll find someone to take them.






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