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RE: "Art Trevethan", NA Native Sunfish/Bluegills

At 03:40 PM 5/24/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Where are you located?  I am just North of Columbus, Galena, North side of
>Hoover dam in Westerville.  

Great!  So you're not far away!  Give me a call sometime.  I can get you
started with some of the fish I have and can help you find other species you
may want.  I'm in Worthington.  See address below.

>What filtration would you suggest for 2-3 bluegills in a 55gal with plants
>and cover?

Anything reasonable should work.  I use undergravel plates with powerhead(s)
in most of my tanks.  This, of course, requires periodic cleaning of the
gravel.  I use a hose to drain to the floor drain in the basement.  Three
bluegills in a 55 should be fine.  Klaus Schoening sent a reply to your
message to the NFC list suggesting you try some more colorful sunnies.  You
probably didn't get it because you're not subscribed to the list.  I can
forward it to you.  He has a point about there being more colorful fish than
bluegills and fatheads.  Call me if you want to discuss this further.

>What plants would you suggest? (I think plants make a tank "home" for the
>fish and look 10 times better than plastic or little treasure chests)

I only use the plants that I am able to grow without special lights:  Java
moss, Java fern, Bolbitis fern and water sprite.  Sunfish are not too hard
on plants, since they don't dig with their mouths and do not eat plants.

>I intend for this tank to be in my basement which is about 72 deg year
>round,  do the fish like or need the cold winter period? or conversely the
>warm summer period?

Sunfish do not require that kind of cycling unless you want to breed them.
Again, you may have problems with aggression even at 72 F.  For a peaceful
tank of sunnies, keep them cool.  Treat them like the more aggressive
cichlids - start with a group of small ones and rear them together.
Crowding will help disperse aggression as will dither fish.  Be prepared for
losses, though.

>What would you suggest feeding?  I have used tetra-ruby on most of my
>tropicals for years,  I also feed frozen beefheart/frozen bloodworms/etc to
>my discus.

Bluegills will eat just about anything.  A good, high protein staple would
be fine.  I use Doromin and tetramin or cichlid flake.

>Is there someplace local to obtain good, healthy stock other than ponds and

Maybe fish farms.  I catch my own and trade with other NA fish keepers

>Are there any Ohio laws regarding the capture and raising of "gamefish"?  if
>so are bluegills considered "gamefish"?

Good question.  My policy is to take fish according to the fishing
regulations.  To be safe, take sunfish (bluegills) by hook and line.  Not
sure if all lepomids are considered game fish in Ohio or not.  I don't know
of any law against keeping fish that are legally taken.  Breeding and
selling game fish requires a permit.  Not sure if there would be an
exception for aquarium use only.

>What species have you kept and what were your experiences?

Many.  Varied.  Give me a call sometime.  I show you my tanks.

>Sorry to take so much time but I really want to do this in an informed way.
>Before I set up my first tropical tank I must have read a dozen books,  I
>see no need to have any animal die in my care by my stupidity.  I have had a
>hard time finding books in the library of fish store (byerlys and jacks)
>that relate to natives.

Yeah.  There are not a lot of them.  I have mostly books on fish ID and life
histories.  I learn by trial and error and talking to others via e-mail,
primarily.  I suggest joining the NANFA and NFC e-mail lists and joining the
clubs (NANFA and NFC).  NANFA puts out a journal with lots of good articles
on native fish keeping, etc.  There are many other articles archived on
NANFA and NFC's web sites.  See:  http://www.nanfa.org/  and

Mark Binkley			Hm:  614-844-6042
21 Orchard Drive		Wk:  614-292-1284
Worthington OH 43085		mbinkley at earthling_net