NANFA-L-- California Natives - They're All Threatened or Endangered

Jerry Baker (
Mon, 22 Aug 2005 23:43:24 -0700

Being a veteran aquarist of some 15 years, I only recently became
interested in creating a biotope aquarium to show off my local fishes,
invertebrates, and stream habitats. Unfortunately, every single native
species of fish to my area is Federally listed as threatened or
endangered. I am the last person on earth that wants to go collect
endangered fish just for my own selfish enjoyment, however, that being
said, I do believe that there is a place for threatened and endangered
fish in the hands of experienced aquarists. Without starting a large
conversation on the merits of keeping endangered fish in an aquarium, I
was writing this list to see if there were any members of this list
located in the Southern California area.

I am interested in the San Gabriel River drainage which is home to the
Santa Ana Sucker, the Santa Ana Speckled Dace, and the Arroyo Chub, as
well as some listed salamander and frog species. I am looking for
already captive stocks of any of these fish as my understanding is that
it is OK to trade specimens that have been legally taken, or are bred
from legally taken specimens. I have located a demonstration garden
operated by the County of Riverside that has three of these fish
species, but I am not so sure that they will be willing to just hand
over some endangered fish to some guy who wants them in his aquarium
(for all they know).

I know that it will make a lot of people uncomfortable to hear of
somebody who wants to pop in to this list seeking to locate endangered
fish, so let me elaborate somewhat. There are several reasons I would
like to locate and keep these fish, but chiefly it is because there is
very little known about these fish. Even locating a picture of a Santa
Ana Speckled Dace is difficult, albeit not impossible. I would like to
attempt to breed these fish in an aquarium environment in order to
distribute the offspring for educational displays-in-local libraries and
schools, not to mention the knowledge that can be gained and shared by
being able to watch these fish on an hour by hour basis, as well as
documenting their response to careful manipulation of water parameters.

Like I said before, I have had 15 years experience in keeping fish from
marine reefs to Amazon biotope tanks. I can speak pH, turbidity,
salinity, ammonium ion concentrations, ion exchange, and CO2 gradients
across gill membranes with anyone here. I only mention that to dispel
any fear that I might be some guy who saw a picture of a "cool"
endangered fish and want to put it in his 10 gallon tank with the pink
castle and air-operated pirate chest (don't forget the marbles for

If anyone knows of any existing, breeding captive populations of these
fish, I would be highly interested in discussing them with you.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my long-winded message.
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