- [20:03 05/03/2004] <@craig> Good evening everyone! Welcome
to the Live! fish chat.
- [20:03 05/03/2004] <@craig> Our guest speaker tonight is one
of Badman's very own, Cindy, she is here to speak on keeping Native
- [20:04 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Hi! My name is cindy. I have been
keeping native fish since the 1970's. I actually began keeping natives
for all the wrong reasons: they were cheaper (free!) and hardier than
the tropical fish I kept killing with ich and fungus and poor water
- [20:08 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I never heard of the nitrogen cycle
or water changes, but was proud that I kept the tank topped off so it
didn't have the ever present crusty hard water lines near the top or
the tank most of my friends on their tanks of more colorful tropical
- [20:09 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I kept a half dozen bluegill and
green sunfish in the tank, one bullhead or channel catfish, depending
on what was available, and one or two crayfish.
- [20:09 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I also kept a small shoal of minnows
and as many benthic invertebrates as possible to scoot around from under
one rock to the next.
- [20:09 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I scraped algae twice weekly, and
it grew mightily in the nitrate-laden tank.
- [20:10 05/03/2004] <+cindy> At least twice a year I had to release
the fish and break down and scrub out the entire tank in the back yard
and start over with smaller fish. They grew too fast to keep any longer,
in spite of my sub-optimal care.
- [20:10 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I couldn't haul my 29 gallon tank
with me back and forth all year long to Mizzou, so I always had, I am
embarrassed to admit now, several one gallon glass pickel jars and a
2 gallon goldfish bowl, all with as many live plants as I could pack
in them and guppies in the jars and bullhead fry in the 2 gallon bowl.
I don't knw how they survived, but they did. I have read on some native
forums that you can't kill them with a hammer.
- [20:11 05/03/2004] <+cindy> That's an exaggeration, but not
- [20:11 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I longed for a largemouth bass for
my tank, but couldn't catch one smaller than 8-10 inches, which was
still too small to legally keep. I longed even more for a tank of rainbow
trout (technically not native fish, at least in Missouri) but didn't
know how to keep the water at 60 degrees and suspected that the only
way would be to buy a fridge and keep the tank inside it.
- [20:13 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Sorry, I have never used a notepad
before, and I juscan't seem to copy less than a paragraph...
- [20:13 05/03/2004] <@craig> That's fine Cindy, you are doing
- [20:13 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Thanks, Craig. My sum total of experience
has taught me these simple tenets:
- [20:14 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Get the biggest tank you can afford,
filter the water at least 10 X per hour, put the fewest fish in it you
can be satisfied with, feed infrequently (3-5 times a week) and change
30-50% of the water weekly.
- [20:14 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Any questions?
- [20:14 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Just kidding.I'll talk a bit about
collecting first, then purchasing native fish.
- [20:14 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I can't begin to tell you what fishing
regulations you have in your state/province/country, so take the time
to find out first.
- [20:15 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Fines can make free fish pretty
- [20:15 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I have a couple minnow traps and
a seine, but my boys and I prefer to use dip nets or kick net to collect.
- [20:16 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I don't need or want hundreds of
fish at a time.
- [20:16 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I bring a couple of new 5 gallon
buckets from the paint dept. at Home Depot and fill them a third full,
and leave them in shallow water in the shade.
- [20:17 05/03/2004] <+cindy> This way the fish stay cool enough
to have decent O2 levels while you collect.
- [20:17 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I take clearish Tupperware bowls
or smaller storage containers up and down the creek with me, to transport
the critters I catch back to the bucket.
- [20:18 05/03/2004] <+cindy> We limit ourselves to what we can
get in about an hour, then look them over carefully and keep maybe 5-10%
of what we caught and release the rest. We can always come back for
more tomorrow, but mortality rates will be high on the way home if there
are more than a few critters in each bucket. Then I change out the water
to fresh, cold water before leaving, add a battery powered air stone
to each bucket,
- [20:18 05/03/2004] <+cindy> ...and most importantly, only collect
in creeks within a half-hour drive of my tanks (home or school.)
- [20:18 05/03/2004] <+cindy> It is much easier to acclimate fish
when starting a tank up from scratch.
- [20:19 05/03/2004] <+cindy> The current residents will pick
relentlessly on the new fish.
- [20:19 05/03/2004] <+cindy> When adding new fish to an existing
tank, they should preferably be bigger than the current residents, or
basically intended for food. If not, then I add them after lights are
out, and give them a chance to rest up until their tank mates wake up
in the morning, giving them a fighting chance.
- [20:20 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I have heard heard oscars compared
to puppies several times on fish forums.
- [20:21 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Our North American sunfish and bass
are cichlids, too, and I have found the personalities of my native fish
- [20:21 05/03/2004] <+cindy> to be engaging and aggressive, maybe
comparable to pit bull puppies!
- [20:21 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I don't think for a minute that
they like me, or are attached to me, but I believe they can differentiate
between people, even in a school setting. They know who the 'food god'
is, and respond vigorously when I approach the tank, and ignore my students,
even though they only get fed a couple times a week.
- [20:22 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I know the 'links' I post in the
next few minutes will appear only as URL's here, and you will have to
copy and paste them into your browser to view the sites, which can be
tedious when done in larger numbers
- [20:22 05/03/2004] <+cindy> If any of you are interested, please
feel free to e-mail me and I will send a copy of the entire document
back to you, I typed it originally in Microsoft Word, and you can just
click away on the links.
- [20:23 05/03/2004] <+cindy> If you don't want to catch the larger
natives on hook and line, or collect your smaller natives yourself at
the local creek (which is a lot of fun, especially if you have kids)
- [20:23 05/03/2004] <+cindy> or you just wouldn't know where
to collect locally, you don't need to worry. There are certainly lots
of places that are willing to sell them to you. The biggest advantage
of purchasing natives, at least the pond raised ones is that they will
readily eat prepared foods, like cichlid pellets, and you won't be trapped
into buying keeping a steady supply of unhealthy feeder fish, or crickets,
- [20:24 05/03/2004] <+cindy> You have to be careful. Many are
selling W/C fish that are severely stressed, at exorbitant prices, and
won't guarantee live delivery. They will likely be dead when they arrive
or die shortly thereafter. I found quite a few websites last night that
didn't look too good to purchase from. I have had moderate luck with
purchasing from Carolina Biological Supply, but they are expensive,
and currently prefer to purchase from Jonah.
- [20:24 05/03/2004] <+cindy> He has an incredible selection of
the more difficult to find natives, and his prices are quite reasonable,
if you are purchasing enough to stock a fairly good sized tank or two.
They are somewhat prohibitive if you only want one or two to add to
- [20:24 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.jonahsaquarium.com/
- [20:25 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I currently purchase my natives
at the local grain elevator on the 'fish days' in the spring and fall
when the farmers comeganpick up hundreds or even thousands of fish to
stock their ponds with.
- [20:26 05/03/2004] <+cindy> They don't have a minimum purchase,
and I only pay 30 to 50 cents each for bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie,
minnows, the basics.
- [20:26 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.missourifishfarms.com/
- [20:26 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Good books/magazine articles to
- [20:27 05/03/2004] <+cindy> The best native fish book I have
found to date, especially for the beginner, is 'North American Native
Fishes for the Home Aquarium' by David M. Schleser.
- [20:27 05/03/2004] <+cindy> You can find reviews for it on the
bottom of the page at:
- [20:28 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/0764103679/102-3070838-4063315
- [20:28 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Unfortunately it is out of print
and very difficult to find (even though published in 1998) - and expensive
when you do find it.
- [20:29 05/03/2004] <+cindy> It was $13 when bought new, but
a used copy that was available through Amazon.com until last Wednesday
night was $50.
- [20:29 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Now the only one I can find is $99.
It is worth waiting for, so keep searching for it until you find it
in your price range:
- [20:29 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/offering/list/-/0764103679/all/ref=dp_bb_a/102-3070838-4063315
- [20:29 05/03/2004] <+cindy> My second choice is 'A Field Guide
to Freshwater Fishes: North America North of Mexico.'
- [20:30 05/03/2004] <+cindy> It is $19 new and still readily
available, so the half that price if you purchase it used:
- [20:30 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.growinglifestyle.com/prod/0395910919.html
- [20:30 05/03/2004] <+cindy> My third choice is also still readily
available, but still somewhat more expensive: 'American Aquarium Fishes'.
- [20:30 05/03/2004] <+cindy> It is $40 new, and should be half
that price used, but many of the used copies I found were asking prices
higher than new, for some reason:
- [20:30 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0890968802/ref=pd_sim_books_1/102-3070838-4063315?v=glance&s=books
- [20:31 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Lots more titles are amassed on
Jonah's website. I would expect all to be pretty good, although some
may be a bit technical:
- [20:31 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://jonahsaquarium.com/books.htm
- [20:31 05/03/2004] <+cindy> As shown on that page, the July,
2003 issue of 'Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine' was called its 'All
North American Natives Issue' and well worth getting.
- [20:32 05/03/2004] <+cindy> An older article, from the August
1992 issue of 'Aquarium Fish Magazine', called 'The Native Aquarium'
is a must read for those of you who are toying with beginning a native
tank. And you won't have to find an old issue, just read it here:
- [20:32 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.petsforum.com/cis-fishnet/afm/G29186.htm
- [20:32 05/03/2004] <+cindy> If you can't find or can't afford
a book, print that article out and commit it to memory!
- [20:32 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Good organizations/websites to read/research
- [20:33 05/03/2004] <+cindy> There seems to be much more interest
in native fish in the Southern Hemisphere, if the number of web pages
is any indicator.
- [20:33 05/03/2004] <+cindy> There seem to be more websites for
native keeping in Australia and New Zealand than all other countries
- [20:33 05/03/2004] <+cindy> North America seems to be running
a distant second, followed by all others combined.
- [20:34 05/03/2004] <+cindy> If you do the search for your state
or province, search carefully, and start with a fairly narrow search
so you don't waste a lot of time with articles about bass and trout
fishing, native American recipes for fish, etc.
- [20:34 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Even though some of these are broad
and some will not be specifically about fish found in your area, I have
found these to be somewhat helpful:
- [20:34 05/03/2004] <+cindy> You may as well begin with the two
most well known organizations, including the North American Native Fishes
- [20:34 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.nanfa.org/
- [20:35 05/03/2004] <+cindy> and the Native Fish Conservency:
- [20:35 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.nativefish.org/
- [20:35 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I haven't joined either of those
organizations, although I probably should.
- [20:36 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Some less well known places that
are a little easier to navigate include the North American Fish Fanatics:
- [20:36 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.ichthyophilia.com/index.html
- [20:36 05/03/2004] <+cindy> And a woman better known for her
pond book, Robyn's North American Native Fish Page:
- [20:36 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.fishpondinfo.com/misc2.htm
- [20:36 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I have found this to be one of the
better places to research minnow types for my area (many of these have
ranges much wider than just Virginia) and I just like websites with
lots of pics of the fish:
- [20:36 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://www.cnr.vt.edu/efish/families/spotfin2.html
- [20:37 05/03/2004] <+cindy> A few of the websites already listed
have forums to gab about natives at, plus Aquarium Hobbyist has a native
- [20:37 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://forums.aquariumhobbyist.com/forum.php?catid=31
- [20:37 05/03/2004] <+cindy> It has been largely inactive the
last year, but traffic seems to be picking up now.
- [20:37 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Unfortunately one or two enthusiastic
but not very knowledgeable people are kind of flooding that forum right
now, just take a peek at the grossly overstocked (and green) 120 native
fish tank that 'iturnrocks' posted pics of there. The archives for that
forum are at:
- [20:38 05/03/2004] <+cindy> http://forum.aquariumhobbyist.com/na_natives/index_a.html
- [20:38 05/03/2004] <+cindy> You can't post questions in the
archives, but the info from more than a year ago was better.
- [20:38 05/03/2004] <+cindy> The people you see that posted in
the archives are still around, and very knowledgeable and helpful, you
click on their names to e-mail them.
- [20:38 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I realize I should have entitled
this 'North American Freshwater Native Fish', not just 'Native Fish',
- [20:39 05/03/2004] <+cindy> since I have no expertise to share
with any of you about SW natives, and since all fish are native somewhere.
- [20:39 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Thank you for your time. I knew
that this topic would only be of interest to a few members here, and
that last week's record attendance would be a hard act to follow, so
I am sorry if I bored either of you.
- [20:39 05/03/2004] <@craig> Excellent presentation Cindy!
- [20:40 05/03/2004] <@craig> If you have a question you would
like to ask Cindy, please type: /query Craig I have a question
- [20:40 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Too bad I am technologically challenged...
- [20:40 05/03/2004] <@craig> Questions will be taken in the order
- [20:40 05/03/2004] <@craig> I'll start things off. :-)
- [20:41 05/03/2004] <@craig> Cindy, what would you consider to
be the smallest start tank for north american natives?
- [20:42 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I would not keep minnows/darters
in at least a 20L (like the river tank I want to set up next month)...
- [20:42 05/03/2004] <+cindy> and I wouldn't keep sunnies in anything
smaller than a 29...
- [20:43 05/03/2004] <@craig> How about bluegills or sun fish?
- [20:43 05/03/2004] <+cindy> and I wouldn't keep any catfish
or bass, etc. in anything smaller than a 55. Those really are only good
for a year...tops.
- [20:43 05/03/2004] <+cindy> If I kept the BG and sunfish in
a 29, I would keep three or less. A 55 would be much better.
- [20:44 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I have seem pics on websites of
bass in ten gallons, but I want to scream at them, or call the authorities...but
as we know...nobody would do anything.
- [20:44 05/03/2004] <@craig> Now I'm going to ask the question
everyone hates to answer... What is your favorite native fish?
- [20:45 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Green sunfish and bullheads, because
they grow so slowly and top out at about a pound and a half. Darters
and dace are the prettiest, though...
- [20:46 05/03/2004] <+cindy> It is easier than picking fav tropicals,
because there are fewer to pick from.
- [20:46 05/03/2004] <@craig> I've caught some very nice crappies
in the past, are these an "easy" native to keep?
- [20:47 05/03/2004] <+cindy> If they don't get their paper mouths
torn to shreds they are. I have only kept purchased ones, though.
- [20:47 05/03/2004] <+cindy> They get BIG.
- [20:47 05/03/2004] <@craig> Geoff.
- [20:48 05/03/2004] <+Noname> Hey, I was wondering how resonable
you think it is to make a large tank(150g +) paludarium, and house other
animals, (frogs, turtles) with the fish.
- [20:49 05/03/2004] <+cindy> It depends on the actual volume
of the water part. I would still want at least 30-50 gallons of water.
It would be awesome to see.
- [20:49 05/03/2004] <+Noname> k, ^_^
- [20:50 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I forgot to mention that sunnies
and others smaller natives do well in ponds with loi and GF, but may
outcompete them at feeding time.
- [20:50 05/03/2004] <+cindy> koi
- [20:50 05/03/2004] <@craig> Jess..
- [20:50 05/03/2004] <@Jessica> what about critters like crayfish
and assorted bugs, would you have a recomended tank size for them
- [20:51 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I forgot about keeping them alone...a
ten should be fine.
- [20:51 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Aquatic insect larva are very interesting,
but have a nasty habit of "hatching" and taking flight.
- [20:52 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I actually had a ten gallon leech
tank once. I was a weird college student, and liked to freak people
- [20:52 05/03/2004] <@Jessica> any tricks to guessing what is
larva and what is a true bug?
- [20:52 05/03/2004] <@Jessica> :-D
- [20:52 05/03/2004] <+cindy> I use field guides and do a lot
- [20:53 05/03/2004] <@Jessica> :-D thanks
- [20:53 05/03/2004] <@craig> If no one else has any questions,
I am going to open the floor for general discussion. Any last questions?
- [20:53 05/03/2004] <+cindy> Thank you, for allowing me to talk
about my passion.
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <@craig> Cindy, thank you for being here
tonight, you did an excellent job!
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <+cindy> You are too kind.
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <@craig> The floor is now open. :-)
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <@Jessica> thanks Cindy, it was enjoyable
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <Beatles_Addict> Cindy, that was great.
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <Noname> Great job Cindy, you have succesfully
planted evil plans in my mind
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <@Jessica> lol
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <russ> Cindy, that was a great presentation
of your experiences and skills on native fish:-)
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <+cindy> It is really a great way to get
into fishkeeping in the first place, and would be a no-brainer for you
- [20:54 05/03/2004] <kim> that was very interesting Cindy, I'll
look forward to the transcript since I had to miss the middle of it.:)