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NFC: Fw: transporting wild fishes
Hi J.R. -- I'm trying to compile some
recommendations for reducing stress during collecting & transport, and
preventing disease outbreaks a few days later, in wild-caught fish.
I'm leading a native fish collecting trip for the annual Raleigh Aquarium
Society weekend conference (this Friday Feb 23), and want to give the attendees
good advice for long-term survival. Eventually I'd like to put this
on the NANFA and NFC websites. Have you seen any similar articles
From my own observations and trial & error, my usual
approach is as follows:
IN THE FIELD:
Use short seine hauls so fish aren't dragged in the net more
than 30 sec or so
Keep bucket or cooler close by and transfer fish
Hold small fish in hand not more than 10 sec to avoid
overheating & skin abrasion
Or better yet, use small aquarium net to transfer from
seine to bucket.
Use dark colored (green or black) buckets - generally keeps
Fill bucket 1/3 to 1/2 full; too shallow frightens them,
and if too deep they'll jump
Add about 1 teaspoon/gal kosher salt in the collecting
bucket, & add more when changing water
Place bucket in shade whenever possible
Get new water & add salt just before leaving the site
Transport fish in containers with large surface area, especially in warm
Don't collect cool water species in hot weather; they're already close
to their thermal limit and may not tolerate handling stress even with the
best of care.
Use an air-driven box filter taken from an established, preferably
crowded tank, for bacterial nitrification. Don't use a filter with a
water-cooled pump, which will add heat.
If collected in winter, acclimate slowly to room temperature.
I leave them outside one day (with filtration) in cool weather, then
warm up slowly the next day.
Use a cooler rather than aquarium, they'll adjust to visible walls
better than invisible glass walls.
Or, cover aquarium walls tightly with black trash bags, cardboard,
Get them eating ASAP; food seems to distract them from their
fear, and replace lost energy.
Many minnows will take flake foods right away; most other wild fishes need
live/frozen foods to start.
Also, they'll quickly learn you're a friend, not a predator.
If they're not eating, add a couple similar fish from an established tank
to "train" them.
I'd like your ideas on my strategies above, and also
Commercial salt-based bait savers
Prophylactic treatments - formalin, dyes, antibiotics,
Special procedures for collecting in soft acidic
Strategies for different seasons?
Tail/peduncle rot (probably Flexibacter/columnaris ??) and ich
seem to be the most common disease outbreaks I get, usually a couple days to a
week after collecting. Lythrurus and other mid-channel shiners seem to be
the worst. With darters, I rarely get disease, but sometimes they just
"freeze" and die in the collecting bucket with mouth agape and pectorals bent
forward. Any idea why & how to prevent this.
Thanks! Gerald Pottern