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NFC: Re: Fw: transporting wild fishes

(For those who didn't catch it I went collecting with Gerald on the 10th of February)
My darters continue to thrive.  They are doing well on frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms.
The two crescent shiners were the fastest to adjust.  They took to flake food fairly readily but they have been switched to frozen.
The MRBD have darkened up now that I have gravel, rocks, and some java moss in the tank.  Not the color I'm used to seeing but they are clearly displaying their line.  They do indeed have a broken line but not as clearly broken as the others that I collected from the Eno river last year.  About half of them are showing an abrasion on top of the head.  One of them looked like he was a goner from this but I put some slime coat inducer in there and within a couple of days he was right as rain.  Still no losses since the ones from the first day.
The green sunfish is quite a terror.  He's going to have to move to a tank of his own soon.  Probably a ten gallon.  He's so small, and it's only been a week, but he is very territorial and quite brutish about it.  If I grow him out some he would do okay in the big tank with the other "meany" fish.
Based on this trip and some of the trips I made last year it is easy to see that some species have different acclimatization requirements than others.  The pinewoods shiners, for example, seem to suffer from post collection stress very easily (this is the second time I tried bringing some home and the second time they all died within hours of capture).  The roanoke darters and the sunfishes always seem to be very hardy, provided they get food that they will eat within a day or two of capture (watch those pesky darters... they'll seem to eat and then spit it out if they don't like it... they may repeat several times with the same morsel).
Any ideas what is going on with those MRBD?  They seem to be healing up but it concerns me that several of them show this head abrasion.
The crescent shiners are oh so easy to acclimate. Perfect candidate for AAT.  They are only territorial with conspecifics, and not terribly so.  They do well in a community tank, eat almost anything. They seem easy enough to catch.  My only gripe is that they aren't too pretty.
The one big male roanoke darter that I took home prettied up really nice.  I wish I had the photographic gear to capture this guy for the NFC web site.  He's not as pretty as some of the ones there but I happen to like him a lot.
----- Original Message -----
From: robert a rice
To: nfc at actwin_com
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2001 6:22 PM
Subject: 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 anywhere?
From my own observations and trial & error, my usual approach is as follows:
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 quickly
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 fish calmer
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 weather
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, etc
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 on:
Commercial salt-based bait savers
Stress Coat
Prophylactic treatments - formalin, dyes, antibiotics, etc
Special procedures for collecting in soft acidic waters?
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

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