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NFC: Tadpole Madtoms (was Re: hello? is anyone there/here?)

Broken Tiger wrote:
> Nice to see you two here.
> I am fresh water, exclusively. Three catfish tanks: five gal to 100 gal;
> two indoor ponds: goldfish fry, koi and channel catfish; and, hum, today
> --eight GF tanks, including quarantine tanks and more fry. Oh, and one
> broodery or what ever you call a shoebox with water and fish eggs.
> troi

Hi troi and all,

I'm more than willing to discuss other topics, though I was under the
possibly-mistaken impression that this list was a sort of catch-all for bay
area fish topics (like detritus). Most real fish stuff, itself, gets handled
pretty much by the specialty groups, leaving SFAS as the easist remaining
general bay-area target. ;-)

Your interest in catfish brings up a serious question. Do you know how to
breed any of our native catfishes? There is considerable interest in the
breeder's club of the Native Fishes Conservancy (NFC) to determine all the
breeding habits of the Madtoms. They are dwarf catfish that look a bit like
a tiny bullhead, and make just excellent aquarium inhabitants. Mine are
roughly 3" full grown -- about the size of a bullfrog tadpole or a bit
smaller, hence the subject name. They are really cute, too.

I've bred a variety of Amazonian armored cats, but don't have much idea
where to start on these guys. They need cooler conditions than I can
provide, I'm pretty sure. Someone who does Koi and Goldfish would probably
know what I mean.

I currently have a few Tadpole Madtoms of indeterminant sex that I would be
happy to pass on to anyone who would like to study these guys, determine how
they can be bred in captivity, and report the results (if any). If anyone
was interested in serious work on them, I'm sure I can get more starting
stock, too, perhaps from somewhat warmer water than these (Idaho). Tadpole
Madtoms (*Noturus gyrinus*) range from well up into Canada (Hudson's Bay)
clear to the Gulf of Mexico and down into Florida.

NFC's motives aren't complicated. 18 species of *Noturus* have been placed
under special state protection, already. Habitat destruction is ever

These fish are plentiful in the wild, right now, but habitats have a way of
getting destroyed. Understanding the behaviour of the fish, and being able
to readily reproduce them in aquaria means wild collections can be reduced
or halted, as needed, and we can still have the strain around if a
particular habitat is rendered useless by a spill or another government
damn. The opportunity to study them up close and personal is gratifying to
many folks, and we wish to do it responsibly (legally, too). 

One big condition! They must never be released into the wild except under
F&WL guidance. Keeping in a pond is risky, if it could ever flood. I don't
dare keep them in a pond outside, here in Fremont, for example. They would
be a potential threat to our native 3-spine Sticklebacks if they washed into
a storm drain.

All I can add is that they spawn in caves (PVC pipe?) and need really good
water. See Goldstein's book _American Aquarium Fishes_ for most of what we
know about them. They have rarely been bred in captivity, so anyone doing it
can potentially learn quite a lot that's new.

How about it Troi? You (or anyone else interested) can respond here or off
list. This looks to be a fun challenge, and an opportunity to pay back
something to a hobby that tends to hand us such information pretty freely.


PS. While on the subject, would there be enough of us in the Bay Area to
form a "Catfish Study Group?" Does one already exist? My primary interest
has been in the pygmy Cory species, like *C. hastatus*, *habrosus*, and
*pygmaeus*, though I used to breed *paleatus* some years ago.

Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

"As government regulations grow slowly, we become used to the harness.
Habit is a powerful force, and we no longer feel as intensely as we
once would have [the] constriction of our liberties that would have
been utterly intolerable a mere half century ago." --Judge Robert Bork

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