Re: NANFA-L-- Sucker tank

Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- Sucker tank
From: Todd D. Crail (tcrail at UTNet.UToledo.Edu)
Date: Mon Oct 25 2004 - 17:29:22 CDT

My quick answer.... If you're abhorrent to watching an animal waste into nothing and then finally die... Don't do it. It's not something that's been worked out for any kind of consistency yet, your friend speaks the truth for most cases. There are plenty of other species known to do well in aquaria to fill up that 125 gallons :)

If you decide to do this... Only take specimens 3" or LESS. There's a fair chance it would still end up being a meal and just part of the food web, as opposed to having a decent shot in the recruitment of further generations. You also have an animal less set in its ways.

I guess what I'm getting at is... If you've had trouble with any other species of natives... I'd avoid suckers.

With that said... Some more thoughts...

Deep sand seems to be necessary, wether it serves a physiologic role, or just allows those who have been successful with suckers to dump in an ungodly amount of food that the suckers need to flourish... Remains unknown. My guess at this point, the later is definately true. It would take some tinkering to see if the former is as well.

The specimens I have been maintaing _love_ current, especially the hog suckers. They like to sit in the riffle area under the current of the spray bar... They'll shoot up into the current, roll around in it a bit, and then let it snap them right back to the substrate.

I've found that it's _essential_ to have other cyprinids (ungreedy feeders like silverjaw, SRBD, redfin shiners, etc) in the tank with them to be comfortable. They seem to like those extra "eyes" up above them, and when they're by themselves, they are NOT comfortable, are very skittish. I recently moved some fish around and the suckers were not happy until I reunited them with their minnow friends.

I had a specimen dropped off at my house the other day, paper thin, only in aquaria since August. I could NOT believe how quickly they go down hill. Unfortunately, he was so far along that I didn't get the opportunity to see if I could revive him.

What I feel the problem was in the case of this fish was stray voltage, but I have yet to draw a final conclusion on that. We corrected this after the fish's death and other animals in the system began acting completely different. It would be interesting to know if anyone is aware of work done on lateral electro-perception in suckers. I've read in the past how catfish use weak electrical markers as "mile stones" in migration, mainly for spawning and back for wintering. I can see this being a huge thing for blue and razorback suckers. In any case... Man it totally screwed this little guy up. He never ate for this guy (same food offering), but while on death's door in my tank, the first nite, he actually ate at some of the food in my tank, which of course, is grounded.

In the meantime, I've been maintaing several species of sucker in robust fashion, with demonstrable growth. White suckers seem to grow like mad... I started with a 2.5" specimen back in February... It's pushing 7" now. Similar results with redhorses, but I began with them much later. I think they were YOY. Still... They've put on a good inch and some since August :) Spotted and Hog suckers are growing much more slowly for me, but they are growing, and are staying robust.

But as I said... It still isn't worked out yet.

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

/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association (NANFA). Comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of NANFA. For more information about NANFA,
/ visit . Please make sure all posts to nanfa-l are
/ consistent with the guidelines as per
/ To subscribe,
/ unsubscribe, or get help, visit the NANFA email list home page and
/ archive at

: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 11:27:52 CST