Re: NANFA-L-- A little mud never hurt anybody...

Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- A little mud never hurt anybody...
From: Crail, Todd (
Date: Thu Aug 26 2004 - 08:40:52 CDT

Bruce... Thanks for the feedback. I was pretty sure this is a healthy
animal. We'll see what he does over time. And yeah... I can see how there
would be little information on their impacts. They're certainly not a
catastrophic factor, which for our native mussels, would be really hard to
tease out in the noise of all the, well, catastrophies. In the meantime,
they're a nice and readily available species of filter feeder to begin work
with, and flush out any potential bugs on the captive care side.

Lance... I can't really add much as Matt and Jim have covered this pretty
well. I guess the point I'd like to make is... If suddenly a virus
targeting zebra mussels showed up on the scene... It could be pretty
catostrophic. A fair portion of the nutrients they've "bandaged" and
hidden, would be somewhat immediately liberated, and that could create a
horrible dead zone, even bigger than what's there now. So think of them
only as a band aid. They may appear to have solved the problem (which makes
it hard to monitor what's going on upland). But the wound is still
festering beneath... And we need to find some neosporin and triple
antibiotic for our land use practices before "it" gets infected and the
zebra mussel naturalizes.

Nick... The spotted sucker has been in there since Tippecanoe. He came in
at about 1.5", had scale damage (handle these guys with care oh my!), and
fin degredation from the stress of the whole thing. His scales took about 3
months to get back to the point where the spotting was even again on his
whole body... The fin degredation took about 3 weeks to remedy. He's
closing in on adding 2" of body length since then, and as you can see, is in
robust condition. His finage is starting to really rosey up. I'm a sucker
for hog suckers, but I'd say he's a close second on the "favorite fish to
watch" scale.

He was pretty darn tiny to begin with, and I'd say that's the rule for
captive care of suckers. Start SMALL. Forcing a mature fish to fit _your_
habits is, in my opinion, unethical, if that matters to you. They're too
set in their ways and your percentage chance of success is greatly
compromised. I had a _horrible_ time acclimating a 5" shorthead redhorse,
and that was in a very mature system that I have had to push the limits of
feeding to keep him going. He's pulled through okay, but fin degredation
took faaaaar longer to remedy and he even had a spell where he went downhill
a bit. He and I will be much happier when he's in the Reefle (tm) and will
only have to compete with darters and other suckers, instead of these greedy
cyprinellas, lepomids and dace.

The feeding regime... Again, I maintained him and the other species I've
kept on just the Piscene Energetics Mysis (Hikari Krill additionally for the
bigger boys), and maintained them on that for an extended period. HOWEVER!
Recently, I've taken your comments to heart on feeding diversity (well duh
Todd, Mr. Diversity Guy :) and have been tinkering with feeding strategies.
I started feeding Hikari bloodworms, brine, glassworms on "off" days, but I
have a large greenside that _would not_ eat anything besides the PE Mysis.
So I started to just dump it all in-in-once and let them decide what they
want to eat.

The results have been phenomenial. Everyone goes for a piece of the mysis
first, and some still only eat the mysis. But the other greensides, bandeds
and suckers have responded very positively to getting to follow up with the
other stuff after their "appetizer".

** The sandbed allows me dump in a ton of food-in-once, and let them graze
on it over a couple hours **

That is key. Don't miss it. I don't know how much of a mechanical aid it
is to sucker health, but what it does do, is provides a biological basis to
allow me to feed the snot out of them. In either case, you need to let
these sandbeds mature before you do it. Just adding sand and then putting
in suckers right away is not advisable. If starting fresh and sterile, I
like to seed it with stream substrate and then give it 4 or 5 months for
bacteria, diatom and algal populations to establish and stablize.

I also have been throwing in Hikari frozen daphnia for the suckers to graze
out of the sand. The hog suckers, as you can see, are very golden brown,
with strong black bars... The finage color is tip top, like a fleshy pink
color. They look like they do in a higher quality stream. Growth recently
took off as well. One of them has doubled in length since I snagged them on
the Grand River trip, end of May. And the green on the greensides and

Someone turn the lights off man! They're burning out my eyes! :)

The Muddy Maumee Madness, Toledo, OH
It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

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: Wed Sep 29 2004 - 12:24:23 CDT