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Planning a Western New York tank


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#1 tabbycat

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  • WNY

Posted 01 April 2019 - 06:48 PM

Greetings!

 

I've grown up along the Erie Canal my whole life and I decided to work on setting up my own personal canal inside my house.  :biggrin:

https://en.wikipedia...wiki/Erie_Canal

 

I bought a 20 gallon tank where I intend on using local soil in addition to using pebbles and crushed rock that I gathered out of a tributary of the canal (yes, the water's super cold)

 

In a few weeks, I'm going to attempt catching my resident fish. According to New York's fish atlas, I can find Emerald Shiners, Common Shiners, Golden Shiners, River Chub, Hornyhead Chub, among others. Going by fish sizes, I'm not going to try and have more than 4 unless I can find some really tiny fish (no idea what species)

 

I have a few questions and would greatly appreciate feedback:

 

 

1) What kind of non-fish aquatic creatures should I look into to share my tank? I was originally thinking of having crayfish, but then I found out crayfish don't get along with minnows.I then thought about snails, but i don't want them to be overwhelming my tank. I'm seriously considering ghost shrimp, but are those found as far north as New York? I haven't been able to find anything online, so I'm pretty open to anything.

 

2) Is brick a safe aquarium decoration? I found a ton of brick in the water from an old lumbermill from the turn of the century and I wanted to use some of it to create a hide and use as gravel.

 

3) I found a database for local aquatic plantlife and a lot of it appears to be easily bought online. I'm thinking of coontail, white water buttercup, and duckweed to give it this shaded green tint, but I'm having difficulty finding some good smaller groundcover. Any suggestions?

 

Later!



#2 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
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  • Ohio

Posted 01 April 2019 - 07:15 PM

Welcome aboard!

 

In regards to your questions, think of critters that don't eat fish. I have a 29 gallon native tank with shiners, 4 species of darters, a sunfish, a madtom cat, a chub, a dace and some bluntnose minnows. However, I also have 4 rusty crayfish in my tank as well. So far I have had no issues with them bothering the fish. The minnows and such are mid water / top water fish that sleep off the bottom while the darters are at the most risk being benthic fish that stay on the bottom. I keep them relatively well fed and the crays eat well as well. So I think that is why they leave the fish alone. However, they are some incredible tank rearranging bulldozers.

 

Snails are fine and can be culled as needed. I put 20 river snails in my tank and I might have 3 left. Some darter species destroy snails. Once the weather breaks and the snails re-emerge in the river I'll go back for more. They help with algae.

 

Other things you might consider would be clams. You can sometimes by Asian clams( Corbicula fluminea)at aquarium stores or online. However, DO NOT attempt to take wild invasive or native clams and mussels. In Ohio, ALL are protected species and even collecting the dead shells is illegal. More than likely, in most of the 50 states I'd suspect that all bivalves are protected as well.

 

I use gravel in my tank plus natural river stones from the river where I got my fish. However, I am leery of using large rocks for fear of breaking the bottom glass from the weight. Perhaps if the bricks were placed on top of the gravel so the weight was more distributed, it might be safer. There's thousands of bricks in the river here and I thought about it, but decided against it and to use smaller river stones. JMHO.

 

At this time I just use artificial plants. Easier that way while  I have craws. They devour plants.

 

Anyhow, maybe some others have some other tips for you. This is what I have for now and it's a nice setup.

Good luck!

 

Chris M.



#3 tabbycat

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 08:20 PM

Yeah, the destructive nature of crayfish is another reason I'm going to pass on them. I guess I should look more into snails. What's a good way of catching them?

 

The brick is pretty much small shards; mostly the size of a credit card or smaller. I was thinking of using them on top of the dirt to top the soil alongside some smaller pebbles. One of the pieces of brick I grabbed out of the water was a broken pot with a drainage hole which I could use as a hide for shrimp (if they turn out to be native).



#4 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 08:47 PM

I caught my snails by hand and with my sneakers. In the river here in warmer weather, there must be a million of them in a 1,000 square foot area. Just all over the place and most are about 5/8" long and a bit smaller in diameter than a pencil. You'll likely find them on and under rocks. They were plastered all over the rocks. When I got home and pulled my shoes off, there were about 4 snails in each. The snails which I have always known to be a problem were the pond snails that you commonly see in the pet store tanks. They're tiny and reproduce *quickly*. I remember as a kid my father had a tank that was slathered with these things. We'd crush them and the fish would eat them, but it was useless as they reproduce so fast. The river snails I have do not reproduce like that. I've seen 3 babies since early October and my rainbow darters munched them. I think that I have about 3 left in my tank.

 

I see. I thought you were using whole bricks. Shards I'd think would be OK, after all, they're just fired clay. Some are glazed though, mostly pavers, but bricks should be OK. I used river rock and created hidey holes for the craws, darters and madtom. However, only the craws and madtom hide, the darters are out and in full view. Actually, they congregate at the front of the tank wanting me to feed them.

 

Shrimp would be neat and we probably have them here in Ohio, I've just never seen them. Freshwater jellyfish would be cool, but I am sure that they'd be eaten with gusto or destroyed by the filter.

 

What kinds of fish are you thinking about?



#5 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 08:59 PM

I believe grass shrimp are in lake Erie.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#6 tabbycat

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  • WNY

Posted 02 April 2019 - 10:04 PM

I believe grass shrimp are in lake Erie.

Excellent! Ever since I watched this youtube video of a no filter nano-tank with ghost shrimp I really wanted to have some in my tank.

 

As for the types of fish, It's pretty much going to be whatever I can catch. I gave my minnow trap a test drive with some old bread, but no luck after a few hours. Is it too early if the weather is in the 30s-40s?



#7 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 03 April 2019 - 08:03 AM

A seine or dip works great in cold weather, but it seems that minnow traps don't fare so well when the fish are cold and less active. Try deep sluggish holes.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#8 tabbycat

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Posted 03 April 2019 - 08:51 PM

A seine or dip works great in cold weather, but it seems that minnow traps don't fare so well when the fish are cold and less active. Try deep sluggish holes.

Yeah, I thought it would be too early. I guess it would be better to get everything else set up before focusing on catching fish.

 

As for aquatic plants, what is a good site to find native plants? All I can find are sites selling tropical plants.

 

I've decided on 4 plants:

 

 

Ceratophyllum demersum - Coontail   ---   center back     

Elodea canadensis - Canadian Waterweed   ---   sides of the back                                                                   

Lemna minor - Common duckweed, lesser duckweed   ---   top

Potamogeton pusillus - Small pondweed   ---   sides                                                                                             

 

I found duckweed and coontail on amazon, but not the other two...



#9 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 03 April 2019 - 09:32 PM

Plenty of other people around here that would be more help with plants and sources. Gerald comes to mind. Hopefully some will chime in.

 I have had decent luck finding plants on Aquabid and Ebay. Aquabid also has a native fish section in case you are unaware. I know you intend to catch your fish, but purchasing is sometimes the easiest way to get a hard to get species. http://aquabid.com/

 

 Vendors for live fish

http://www.zimmermansfish.com/

http://www.jonahsaquarium.com/

http://www.aquaculturestore.com/

Jonah's has the Perfect Dipnet which is an all around great net, and the owner Mark is a NANFA member and all around good guy.

Zimmerman's are also members. Brian and Julie. They captive breed almost all of their stock. Great people.

Sach's has a lot of specialty feeds and live food cultures. Good reviews.

 

Members occasionally post up offerings of plants that they need to thin out, and there is a fair amount of gifting and trading of plants and fish.

 

If you really want to get a feel for everything http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/17756-nanfa-con-2019-in-jackson-mississippi/ You can't beat a convention.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#10 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
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Posted 04 April 2019 - 02:44 PM

Winter months are harder on fish. They become very sluggish and minnow traps don't work very well. I have had great luck using dip nets while the river's high and a seine during the warm months when I can wade the river. I caught 6 darters today plus 2 spotfin shiners. I caught 4 rainbows, 1 Johnny and a fantail. Since the water was high and fast they were up close to the edge hugging the base of some small sapling branches sticking up out of the water. The shiners, darters and minnows in this river hug the shoreline when the water is high and fast. Best time to dip net. However, not every day is a success. One  day, nada or a couple tiny fry, the next like today, 6 darters and the 2 spotfins within 4 minutes and in one spot. Check your river at high water along the shore and see if the fish hug the shoreline like they do here. Just be careful and have a friend with you. High, fast water is dangerous. If you feel uncomfortable near fast water, don't do it. There's plenty of places online that sell fish as well if you're not comfortable in and around the water.



#11 sschluet

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 11:57 AM

FTM-
Just a heads up, transporting and possessing native fish for aquarium purposes is not legal in NY. I want to make sure this is noted on a public forum...end of the public disclaimer.
-Scott
Scott Schlueter
Central NY

#12 sschluet

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 12:00 PM

Sorry FTM, thought you were OP.

Tabbycat- the message was intended for you.
Scott Schlueter
Central NY

#13 lilyea

lilyea
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  • Peace River Watershed, Central Florida, USA

Posted 05 April 2019 - 12:14 PM

FTM-
Just a heads up, transporting and possessing native fish for aquarium purposes is not legal in NY. I want to make sure this is noted on a public forum...end of the public disclaimer.
-Scott


Does this also apply to catching, transporting, and keeping crayfish (or other inverts) in NY?

#14 Matt DeLaVega

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  • Ohio

Posted 05 April 2019 - 12:51 PM

Thanks Scott. That is why I suggested the vendor's as I figured this was coming, but had recently heard conflicting interpretations and was thinking optimistically.

 

FYI Tabbycat. Scott works for NYSDEC (I believe that is the correct acronym). So collecting fish in NY is in fact still not legal. So the vendors are still options I believe.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#15 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
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  • Ohio

Posted 05 April 2019 - 01:24 PM

Even though I'm not in NY, thank you for the heads-up. People need to know this so they don't inadvertently run afoul of the law. That said, check your state laws. Some states have ridiculous laws concerning catching and keeping even the most common of minnows and shiners. I think that Tennessee is one of them.

 

Regarding inverts, check the laws. Bivalves of any kind in Ohio whether native or invasive are illegal to possess dead or alive. Crayfish and snails  are fine if they're not endangered. In NY, inverts, perhaps not, but it seems like certain states have more politics involved with determining how restrictive their laws are than others. However, that's a sticky issue I'd prefer not to get into unless it's backchannel.

Check out the vendors. There's some really nice fish available from Zimmermans and other online sources.



#16 sschluet

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 07:12 PM

I work for the USFWS...the regulations (and any potential tickets) are those of the NYSDEC. I was trying to give a friendly heads up...disclaimer-I am not an authority on the NYSDEC laws and my statements are those of my own. I would recommend talking with the NYSDEC regarding laws. With that said, IMO there is no conflicting interpretations of the NYSDEC law, specifically that no native fish can be collected for aquarium purposes and baitfish collecting is specifically allowed for hook/line fishing only. There are some exceptions to the overland travel rule if within a travel corridor, if you are within a corridor you can move fish and hold them between fishing trips. What if you hold them in a glass box?...you would be exposing yourself to the interpretation of an officer. Here are the regs-
http://www.eregulati...sh-regulations/

The rules are based on the risk of disease and species transfers. On a side note, Quebec took a drastic step this past year and prohibited the use of all live fish for bait, period.

Lilyea- the regs state- No aquatic insect (or any insect that lives in the water during any of its life stages) shall be taken from waters inhabited by trout, or from the banks of those waters at anytime. The key wording here is trout waters. There is a ban on moving rusty crawfish but I dont know of any other crawfish refs.
Scott Schlueter
Central NY

#17 lilyea

lilyea
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  • Peace River Watershed, Central Florida, USA

Posted 05 April 2019 - 08:17 PM

Lilyea- the regs state- No aquatic insect (or any insect that lives in the water during any of its life stages) shall be taken from waters inhabited by trout, or from the banks of those waters at anytime. The key wording here is trout waters. There is a ban on moving rusty crawfish but I dont know of any other crawfish refs.


Thanks Scott! Some of my earliest collecting experiences were flipping rocks and looking for crayfish in upstate NY with my brother (non trout streams) - good memories!

#18 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
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  • Ohio

Posted 05 April 2019 - 08:22 PM

Yes, I believe the corridor was the focus of the interpretations, however Michael Lucas has always stood firmly with his interpretation which is aligned with yours. 

 

 It seems more likely that fishermen are distributing fish beyond their native reaches than the (rare) fish keeper. If that is the case then Quebec has the more sensible policy. I expect we will see more laws like this in the future.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#19 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
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  • Ohio

Posted 06 April 2019 - 12:39 PM

Certain states have already passed laws making it illegal to use live crayfish as bait and/or to have them in an aquarium and it all has to do with extending the reach of non-native invasive species like the rusty crayfish. The said is likely for fish as Matt stated. Non-native species are being transported/sold out of their native range as bait and then being released.

As for the rusty crayfish, they're native to Ohio only, but have permeated many other states because they're the most common species sold as bait. Also the other problem with the Rusty is their aggressiveness. This species is extremely bold and aggressive and when it confronts other species, it kills them. This is why the laws are so strict on rustys and I would suspect that within time, it will be illegal to sell them as bait and take them out of state unless they're dead and frozen. Now the question is, would they be able to enforce such a law? I can only imagine that thousands of pounds of rustys are sold per year just in Ohio.



#20 tabbycat

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  • WNY

Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:54 PM

Of course, New York is the No Fun State after all.  [-X

 

Anyway, I think I found a way to get around this issue. I noticed that PetSmart carries Rosy Red Minnows, which are recent genetic mutation of fathead minnows (pimephales promelas), which are native and abundant in western New York. Now, apparently these mutants don't always have pink offspring (I saw a bunch of silver ones) and revert back to their natural color. I'm thinking I'll just ask the folk at the store to sell me their "ugly" fish once my tank is done cycling.

 

Which then brings on a new dilemma. What kind of food? Shrimp apparently love sinking pellets (and cooked peas) but minnows like flakes. Would I have to buy two different types of food? Or is there a happy medium?


Edited by tabbycat, 12 April 2019 - 08:07 PM.




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