I have some questions about keeping a community of dace and maybe some pumpkin seeds for my pond in the Midwest.
I have two ponds that I constructed almost two year ago. They have a continuous flow of water that keeps the water clean and well oxygenated. They are connected through a series of short streams and waterfalls, but are impassable to fish (at least to fish trying to travel upstream anyway). The lower and bigger pond has goldfish and a few bluegills, but the upper pond remains void of fish. The upper pond sits between an upper and lower waterfall and was really designed as a gentle “plunge pool” with a gradual gravel tailout as part of a greater stream segment. At its deepest the upper pond is probably 24-30” deep, ~5’ wide, and 12-15’ long and has steady current (certainly not swift though).
I never had any interest in adding goldfish to this pond as they would be happier in the much larger pond below. I also find native species more interesting. I have kept native fish (bluegill, perch, largemouth bass) in the past, but they either outgrew the space or died over the winter. The ponds I have now are much bigger and are generally much healthier ecosystems and I’m now looking to add a sustainable community of smaller natives to the upper pond. The stream-like habit I have guided my research and led me to various minnow species, as well as this forum. Southern red bellied dace and red-sided dace piqued my interest in particular for their appearance and affinity for jumping out of the water to eat bugs. I’ve had midge hatches almost daily for the last two months and to have a schooling fish that eats this way would be fantastic. I’d certainly be willing to supplement their diet but I think the natural ecosystem of my pond is capable of supplying the majority of their diet. My bluegills overwintered with no supplement food from me for what it’s worth.
This brings me to my questions:
1.What temperature range do red-sided dace and SRBD require?
Seems like the upper limit is around 70-75 for red-sided dace and maybe a little higher for SRBD? I haven’t found much on the lower limits because most people keep them in aquariums. Would they be hardy enough to over winter? The pond surface will most definitely freeze even if the waterfall is left running year round. I have a tank I can put them in the winter but would prefer not to.
2. Are these two species compatible with one another? Are they compatible with other natives? I’d like to have a few pumpkin seeds as well
3. Do dace travel over waterfalls? I would prefer if they stayed in the upper pond.
Upper pond looking upstream
Upper pond looking downstream
Waterfall that upper pond flow into
Lilly pad are coming in now and more submerged plants coming soon.
Thanks for any advice you can offer.