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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
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
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 -----
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2001 6:22
Subject: NFC: Fw: transporting wild
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
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.