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Floridian Biotope Aquaria
I live in Colorful-Native-Fish-Challenged Delaware. Actually there are some interesting species; for example, Black Banded Sunfish and Sheild Darters. Our ichtyology class found them on a collecting trip in the coastal plain area in the southern part of the state. The Sheild Darters were in agricutural drainage ditches with sandy substrates and good waterflow. They had a lot of metallic green on them. It was a nice find as their occurance had not been verified in DE for a long time. The Black Bandeds are locally common in acid, blackwater ponds along with Blue Spotted and Mud Sunfish, and Swamp Darters.
I signed on to this list just now after finding NFC and NANFA pages to be very informative and fun to read. I keep and breed tropicals- mostly killes and rainbows and have kept darters and native killies on and off for the past three years or so. On a trip to the Potomomic drainge in Western Maryland with two other NANFA members I saw Rainbow Darters for the first time - very much a rush after all these years in CNFCD. Hard to believe that such a brilliantly colored fish could be found in a little creek five feet wide, one foot deep right alongside the road.
Since them I've attempted three other expiditions - two trips to central West Virginia and one to South West VA to really get the full experience and...torrential downpours for the three days prior to my/our arrival on each occasion...!*@#+*$$$!! Lesson number one: check the weather for the previous three days in the area you imagine you're going to find "netfuls of colorfully glowing jewels." Either that or just be prepared to console yourself with the beauty of the landscape, etc. you know "replace that attitude with grattitude!" OK, so my luck can only improve when it comes to finding that paradisical creek choc full of "colorfully glowing jewels" sparkling in the sunlight, and yes, the landscape is beautyful too...
I have been consoled, however, with recent aquistions of two very nice native species: Everglades Pygmy Sunfish and Bluefin Killies. The latter I purchased for $1 each at a local aqarium store with a selection of aquatic plants they get from Florida. Apparently they arrived with killie eggs attached, they hatched and were raised by one of the employees who knew what they were. The pygmy sunfish I purchased from Peter Rollo who has been breeding and offering them for years now. I placed a pair of adults in a 2 1/2 gal Metaframe Tank with lots of Java Moss and some peat on the bottom and soft, acid (6.0) water at room temp. Fed them blackworms and babybrine shrimp and spwaning occurred within 10 days. The male got a little rough on the female so I removed her. Fry appeared about a week later unharmed by the male. I later removed the male and now have 10 or so fry about .25" long. I fed the fry on APR powder, microworms and now newly hatched brine shrimp. This has definitely been one of my peak aquarium adventures, this is one species I'm going to stay with for a while.
And now for the request part of this post. I've decided to put together an aquarium with fishes native to Florida, ala Geographic Aquaria since I already have two Florida species that really appeal to me. Along with the Pygmy Sunfish and Bluefin Killies I woud like to work with Brown Darters (E.edwini) and Flagfin Shiners. As for the latter species, I just read Robert Rices article on them and I'm sold. As for the Brown Darters, I've never heard anyone mention them or recommend them as aquarium fish, must be they're hard to get, delicate or just very brown! But looking at the color plates in my copy of Petersons Fieldguide, they just strike me very neat little darters. Of all the darters out there to study, obtain and breed, for some strange reason, I've decided I want to work with the humble little edwini.
So, if anyone out there can assist me with:
a) info on breeding bluefin killies
b) additional info on Flagfin Shiners AND aquisition of live ones
c) any info whatsoever on Brown Darters; habitat, status, aquarium husbandry AND live ones
I would be, well yes, grateful, very grateful.
In exchange for the provision of information and possible live breeding stock, I would gladly buy or trade AND offer a series of posts describing the creation and development of a Floridian biotope aquarium. I just got a video camcorder, if I set it on macro, take footage of some "living glowing jewels sparkling in the sunlight" shining on thier own 50 gal aquarium, then hook it to my VCR, freeze frames and send along with E-mail posts...umm, this just might be more fun than a 10 hour drive along jammed interstates and into mountainous hairpin turns a 45degree angles in search of paradisical creeks...but I haven't completely given up on that idea either.