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Re: NFC: brackish

I subscribe to 2 email lists:  NFC and a Brackish list.  I'd like to combine 
the two if i could.  I would appreciate any info you could give me on 
brackish natives, eithre for the community tank or large-cichlid style tank.



>From: robert a rice <robertrice at juno_com>
>Reply-To: nfc at actwin_com
>To: nfc at actwin_com
>Subject: NFC: Madtoms
>Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2001 00:23:05 -0400
>Those Maddening Madtoms!
>Robert Rice
>Of all the North American Fishes perhaps none has so frustrated efforts
>to be fully understood like the madtom family. Madtoms are very colorful
>catfishes of the Noturus genus with a little twist. They are absolutely
>tiny, a 5 inch madtom is a giant. As diminutive creatures they are very
>well suited for the home aquarium. If you could imagine the temperament
>of a bullhead in a tiny body you'd understand the madtoms. They are
>durable, colorful, fascinating, piggish little nocturnal beasts. I am
>unashamedly in love with them. To see those full-bellied madtoms greedily
>eating shrimp, crayfish or worms is a joy. These stout little guys push
>aside the sunfishes, killies and everyone else to get their ample
>portion. They belong among the fish most people commonly talk about.
>Instead they are anonymous to the world. A few of the stone cold serious
>catfish hobbyist like Lee Finley keep, discuss and defend the Madtoms but
>for the most part the are a phantom of the North American fauna.
>With their anonymity has come apathy. With apathy has come neglect. With
>this neglect extinction looms over many members of this genus. So various
>federal and state agencies have been called together in a last ditch
>effort to domestically rear and perhaps save madtoms like the Neosho,
>Smoky and others who are on ecological life support of sorts. These
>professionals are scrambling to get life histories and to discover
>verifiable, repeatable spawning data of any madtom species, not just the
>endangered ones. All in hopes that they can apply that knowledge to
>endangered species propagation. Unfourtunately complete life histories
>and breeding data just are not there.
>I know I have gotten a bit ahead of myself explaining the dire straights
>of the madtoms before telling you a bit more about them. It is just the
>survival of many of these unique and beautiful fish is truly in question
>and I am passionate about their conservation. How many species of madtoms
>will survive into the next century? Five, ten, twenty? Who knows? But our
>efforts today may very well tip the scales. We as aquarists can help in
>several ways. One is we can join a nonprofit conservation organization
>like the Nature Conservancy, Audobon Society, the Native Fish Conservancy
>or any other similar organization. Just by joining you are helping the
>cause. Your membership dues help in research, public education and land
>purchases. So join a conservation organization today.
>Now let me fill you in a little more about madtoms. Madtoms are an
>American original. They come in a surprising variety of colors for
>catfish from the absolutely beautiful brindled madtoms to the more subtle
>tadpole madtoms. They occur over most of the eastern United States in
>small streams and mid-sized rivers every where. As I have already stated
>there are many unique local species that are in peril due to habitat
>degradation and their mysterious reproduction habits. However there are
>also many common species that the local aquarist should look into.
>Wonderful species like the tadpole and brindled madtoms as mentioned
>above. They are excellent for the home aquarium. Aquarists should right
>NOW be working with these common madtoms to discover the triggers to
>spawning. These triggers could then make spawning of the more difficult
>species a reality.
>I have a simple plan that will allow you the serious aquarist to get
>involved in Madtom Mania. First off take a quick course in Madtom 101.
>Purchase, checkout or borrow a copy of Peterson's Field Guide to
>Freshwater Fishes by Larry Page & Brooks M. Burr. It is available on the
>web at the NFC Website (http://nativefish.interspeed.net ). The NFC gets
>a small percentage of the purchase price of every book, movie or CD
>purchased via their website, so I strongly recommend you support this
>nonprofit organization via your purchases. With this book you can
>identify common and uncommon local species to get you started. Then on
>the NFC website (see above) check into the Endangered threatened species
>list in the article section of the website. Second pick a common local
>species, check your state regulations then go collecting. In most eastern
>states a simple fishing license will allow you to collect common Madtom
>Species. I've found that a dip net and kicknettting , a process where you
>kick over rocks, small logs etc. in shallow creeks and streams while
>keeping a dipnet an arms length or so downstream is the best technique.
>The exposed fish naturally race downstream into the waiting net. It is a
>low impact way to collect darters, madtoms and the like. A word of
>caution madtoms like many catfish can deliver a painful sting with their
>fins so handel them accordingly or you will be screaming like a mad
>After dropping them into a bucket a quick field ID is in order. With the
>Peterson's Field Guide and a small aquarium net you can quickly identify
>the common species and throw the rest back. Now once collected Madtoms
>take very quickly to tank life. They will eat a variety of frozen and
>fresh foods. They love little nooks and crannies so I put small clay pots
>and rocks in all my Madtom tanks. The challenge for me and everyone else
>out there is can they be consistently spawned ? There are two schools of
>thought on the breeding of Madtoms and for that matter most temperate
>fish. One is that temperature is the predominate trigger to spawning.
>That means that a species must have a cool down period of 30 days or so
>where the tank temp drops below 50 degrees F then when the temperature
>rises to say 72 F. spawning occurs. The other theory is environmental
>triggers control spawning. For instance many Sunfish will readily spawn
>when they are fed heavily and are exposed to an 18 hour a day photo
>period. What triggers Madtom's , no one can say for sure. They seem an
>oxymoron , impossible to breed by the most qualified of the
>professional's. Yet here's the kicker . There are several legitimate
>reports out there of amateur individuals successfully spawning and
>raising a batch of tadpole madtoms once and never again. There results
>are poorly documented and thus they just cant seem be repeated. So the
>life histories remain unfulfilled.
>Finally at any time during your Madtom Adventure share your results. I
>have no preference as to how you share your results I just care that you
>share. Write up your info , put it in a publication or put it on the web
>any way you can. For example the Native Fish Conservancy has a huge
>article data base. Write up what you find out good and bad and they will
>put it on their website. Contactthe NFC president at
>president at nativefish_org  with your articles about the temperate fishes.
>Every bit helps. Perhaps you'd like to get real serious about this Madtom
>thing. Then join the NFC  http://www.nativefish.org  as a NFC Breeders
>club member you can acquire fish , share data and work in a team approach
>to solve the Madtom mystery. The Breeders Club contact is Bill Duzen
>email  theduuz at aol_com  The key to unlocking this mystery is gonna take a
>cordinated team effort. Organizations, individuals and Universities are
>going to have to share information , partner when possible and not keep
>secrets. It seems that the more difficult a fish is to breed the more
>unwilling people are to share their hard earned information with the
>outside world. It in effect becomes a race for credit instead of a race
>for conservation. That nonsence will have to stop. The Job is to
>important, the need is to dire by working together we can solve the
>riddle that is the Maddening Madtoms. Until next time good luck and good

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