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New to natives


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#1 midwest

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 10:34 AM

I have been in the aquarium hobby on and off for many years, have had salt tanks, freshwater, and most recently I had a 125 gallon planted tank with angels, rams, neons, etc.  It was a low level planted tank with some easier to grow plants, java's, hornwort, etc.  I tore the tank down after a move in 2012 and it has been in storage since.  I am thinking about setting it back up with some native fish.  I don't want to overload it but my thoughts were a bluegill or two, possibly a long ear or pumpkin seed sunfish, also considering a perch or possibly a yellow belly bullhead.  I would also like a couple of crappie but have heard mixed opinion on them.  Some say they do better in schools of 6 or more, I've seen some videos with just two or three.  I am familiar with the basics of the hobby, nitorgen cycle etc. but have a few questions concerning natives.

 

In my planted angel tank I used RO water.  Usually during changes I would add 75% RO water and 25% straight from my well.  I have read that RO water is not necessary for natives. I have a new API kit being sent to me so I can test my current well water.  I am thinking about using some similar live plants in this tank since I have the lighting to support them, I am reading  that natives can wreak havoc on live plants.....I have also seen plenty of youtube videos with natives and live plants. I felt like in my last tank the live plants helped keep things with the water in check.  I used plants that didn't require extra C02 or ferts.

 

Ideally I would like to have natives that I can keep on some type of pellet/frozen food.  I have had tanks in the past that relied on live food and eventually after a year or so the trips to the store, and keeping extra tanks for live food got me down.

 

I know panfish and catfish can typically be transitioned to pellet food.  I feel like crappie would be tougher but never really researched that.  

Any ideas/thoughts/input you guys have reading my plans I am all ears.  I don't even have the tank set up yet and want to avoid the mistakes by researching first.



#2 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:20 PM

Crappie are slow cautious feeders compared to sunfish, but better at grabbing a minnow. If you mix them, the crappie will learn to take some pellets, but they won't compete. To keep them in good shape, you'll need to plan on feeding minnows. I have kept them in a mixed tank with bluegill, longear, spotted gar, sauger, yellow perch, and probably a few more species. I didn't feel that the crappie needed a school, but in hindsight, It probably wouldn't hurt. The gar, sauger and perch were better tank mates than Lepomis.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#3 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:49 PM

My Northern longear no longer has any interest in fry fish anymore. As a smaller fish, he'd ravage them, now he won't touch them. Wonder why? He still eats bloodworms and Mysis shrimp though. He also likes crickets, but I cannot catch too many of those. Any ideas why he might not like eating tiny fish anymore?

 

Tx

Chris



#4 JasonL

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 08:19 PM

I am a big fan of live plants in aquaria but I guess I'd be a little leery of an adult bullhead or larger Lepomis species in such a setting. I wonder if they would uproot everything?

#5 midwest

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 08:58 PM

I got my API test kit today and  tested the water straight out of the well.  The normal ph was closest to 7.6 and when I tested with the high range kit it was 7.4 so I am assuming in that range.  The nitrites and nitrates were zero.  I did an amonia test and the first time it looked like .5 so I tested it again and the  second time it appeared to be between 0 and .25.  I don't have a hardness test kit yet.



#6 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 08:36 AM

I am a big fan of live plants in aquaria but I guess I'd be a little leery of an adult bullhead or larger Lepomis species in such a setting. I wonder if they would uproot everything?


No, not alway. Sandwich does not tear stuff up too much. In fact he likes his sword plant to rest under.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#7 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 12:48 PM

@Michael,

 

How did you come up with the name Sandwich for your fish?



#8 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 03:24 PM

My Northern longear no longer has any interest in fry fish anymore. As a smaller fish, he'd ravage them, now he won't touch them. Wonder why? He still eats bloodworms and Mysis shrimp though. He also likes crickets, but I cannot catch too many of those. Any ideas why he might not like eating tiny fish anymore?

 

Tx

Chris

Chris, Some possibilities for the diet change. -After growth starts to slow, less food is required, and well fed fish don't need to risk chasing bait fish. No sense chasing food when it falls from above. Chasing a minnow can be a net loss of calories, not happening with frozen foods. Maybe the frozen foods are offering nutrients lacking in the feeders. Not hungry enough. Skip feedings for a week and see if bait fish interest him.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#9 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 04:10 PM

Chris, Some possibilities for the diet change. -After growth starts to slow, less food is required, and well fed fish don't need to risk chasing bait fish. No sense chasing food when it falls from above. Chasing a minnow can be a net loss of calories, not happening with frozen foods. Maybe the frozen foods are offering nutrients lacking in the feeders. Not hungry enough. Skip feedings for a week and see if bait fish interest him.


Excellent point about calorie cost vs reward. Also I think bigger fish want that dense calorie intake. Big fish big bite. Sandwich switched over to massivore pellets and enjoys having something he can smash in his mouth-throat-pharyngeal teeth.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#10 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 04:12 PM

@Michael,
 
How did you come up with the name Sandwich for your fish?


Got him when he was only about the size of a 50 cent piece... didnt name him until I realized he was so big and so thick that he would make a decent Sandwich... now he would be a double decker.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#11 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 03:36 PM

Thank you for the input on the diet. Very plausible. Since he's decently fed a mix of bloodworms and Mysis shrimp along with any tiny red worms I catch in the yard, it might not be worth it to him. Makes sense. Thanks again.

 

Sandwich... I like the name. I'll have to think of one for my N longear....

 

Chris M.



#12 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 07:25 AM

Thank you for the input on the diet. Very plausible. Since he's decently fed a mix of bloodworms and Mysis shrimp along with any tiny red worms I catch in the yard, it might not be worth it to him. Makes sense. Thanks again.

 

Sandwich... I like the name. I'll have to think of one for my N longear....

 

Chris M.

 

Oh, have a longear that I rescued from a guy (long story), he's a Zimmerman Missouri Longear and very colorful and very active and pugnacious and for some reason I began to call him Cornbread.


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

#13 swampfish

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 07:53 AM

Some big fish tend to tear up plants whether they are native or tropical. Generally, most large fish will leave the plants alone, but just like some cichlids are rough on plants, some sunfish and other centrarchids will dislodge plants. I keep various topminnows (killifish) and minnows (dace, shiners) in planted tanks. Tropical minnows are called barbs and danios and do well in planted tanks. There really is little difference between keeping natives and tropicals. I occasionally mix them in the same tank just like I mix tropicals from Asia with those from Africa and South America. 

 

I keep natives in my living room where the temperature is in the low 70's; I keep some tropicals in my basement where I have to use heaters in the winter to keep the temperature into the low 70's. I used to use similar heating on my Florida natives in the basement, but the last couple of years I've let the temperature drop into the 50's during the winter in unheated tanks. I've done the same with cold water "tropicals" including rosy barbs, variatus platys, and Vietnamese white clouds. I've found that the fish live longer in cooler temperatures, but many natives do well in 70 degree F tanks. I've had good success with sunfish (bluegill, longear, orange spotted, pumkinseed), largemouth bass, and grass pickerel in tanks in rooms in the low 70's.

 

I use well water for all of my tropical and native fish, but my well water is low in oxygen and will kill the fish if it doesn't sit and absorb oxygen for a couple of days. I use a vented 65 gallon tank for this purpose. This also serves to allow the water to warm up before it is put into aquaria. 

 

Phil Nixon

Illinois



#14 midwest

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 06:40 AM

I picked up an API GH and KH test kit and tested the water straight from my well.  The KH took 20 drops and the GH took 24 drops.  I also have an inline RV type sediment filter that I picked up to use when I fill the tank.  I am going to run some through it and test it again to see if that changes anything. 



#15 swampfish

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 08:52 AM

I've tested my well water with GH and KH test strips, and the hardness of both was off the scale. My water is apparently like others on this forum who describe their water as liquid rock. I do not adjust the water hardness, using it "as is." Over the years, I have successfully kept numerous fish species in several fish families in that water including minnows, topminnows, poecilids, catfish, sunfish, and darters.

 

I tend to be very negligent in water changes. I noticed that the water in tanks that had not had any water changes for several months tested as having considerably fewer degrees of hardness. It is likely that plants and biological filters are reducing the water hardness for my fish. I successfully kept fish for a couple of decades before I heard the mantra of frequent water changes, so I didn't see much reason to change my habits or my water.

 

For soft water fish that live in low pH water, I trap rainwater off my house roof, diverting water from a downspout into a rain barrel after about one-quarter inch of rain has fallen to wash off the roof. These include Heterandria formosa, banded topminnow, pygmy killifish, and bluefin killifish.

 

Phil Nixon



#16 midwest

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 03:32 PM

It's been a while and I realized I haven't updated lately.  Just over a week ago I got my tank set up and added quite a few live plants. I also added seeded media from a small tank I have running.  I then was able to get 2 hi-bred blue gill and 2 yellow perch from a local fish farm.  I added them and at that time I also added a large bottle of Tetra Safe Start just to help supplement the bacteria on the seeded material and plants.  My well water has been testing about 0.5 ppm ammonia.  I let it go a week and tested today and have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, and 5-10 nitrates.  I have had experience in the past with TSS causing funky test results if tested within the first two weeks so I am going to let it run one more week then test it again. Assuming  it still tests good I plan to add 4 more small fish.  I am thinking about 4 longear from Zimmermans.  I would also like to eventually find a small bull head catfish to add as well and that will probably be all that I add.

 

Attached is a picture after I started setting it up.  I have added several more amazon swords since this picture as well.

 

 

 

 

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  • IMG_3304.JPG


#17 midwest

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 07:07 PM

Heres a more updated picture since I added more plants.....

 

 

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#18 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 04:45 PM

Love it! Will be totally gorgeous once fish are in it!

 

Chris M.



#19 midwest

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 07:24 PM

The bluegill have grown in just under 2 weeks.  I am working Zimmermans in OH to get 4-6 long ear sunfish as well.  The ones they have right now are pretty small so I am waiting to see exactly what size they are as I am worried the perch will try to eat them if they are two small.  If the long ear are too small I am going to move the 2 perch to another tank for now because I want the long ear first and foremost.  I am still working on catching a small bullhead as well.

 

On  a side note, how long could the 2 perch go without eating???  They were on pellet food at the farm I got them from but I have not seen them actually eat.  They still swim around but they are really timid when I get near the tank so I add pellets and they watch them sink and I leave.  I am not finding any uneaten pellets on the bottom but I am not really over feeding either in case they are not actually eating.  I was hoping to see them eat something before I had to get some type of live food, hoping to keep them on the pellets since that is what they were already on when I got them.  



#20 midwest

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 04:40 PM

So for the first time this morning I saw both perch going after pellets.  At first they spit them out and picked them back up a few times.  I did see them swallow at least one.  So they are either hungry enough or just getting used to me enough.  





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