Re: NANFA-L-- Unknown Sucker?

Christopher Scharpf (ichthos at
Wed, 07 Sep 2005 22:03:07 -0400

If it has bands (saddles) and a flat-top head, then it's a northern hog

Unfortunately, most captive hog suckers die in a few weeks or months, slowly
but surely wasting away. These fish have short digestive systems and need a
lot of food to retain vigor. The only way to keep them long-term is to
provide a live sand bed (a la Todd Crail), and/or to continuously harvest
aufwuchs-covered rocks or other debris (e.g., driftwood, leaves) from their
natural habitat or from a backyard pond.

Keeping them with more aggressive feeders such as centrarchids won't help

Also, hog suckers are shoaling fishes in the wild. I believe being alone in
an aquarium doesn't help them. A few weeks ago while snorkeling in
Maryland's Gunpowder Falls I enjoyed the amazing sight of at least 10
foot-long hog suckers congregating over a square-foot rock 6-8 inches below
the surface of the water. It was as if they were sunning themselves! Or
having a really important meeting! They dispersed as I approached too close,
but always returned to that same spot when I backed off. It was fascinating
to watch.

Chris Scharpf

> From: deanmarkley at
> Reply-To: nanfa-l at
> Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2005 00:26:04 +0000
> To: nanfa-l at
> Subject: NANFA-L-- Unknown Sucker?
> Hi all! Hoping I can get some help identifying a sucker I captured on
> Monday. Location was the Chiques Creek near Landisville, PA about 5
> miles upstream from the Susquehanna River.
> The sucker in question was caught in a seine in a 2 foot deep pool right
> where rapidly moving water enters it.
> The fish is about 5 inches long, overall tan/brassy with diagonal
> brown/black bands over the entire body. The belly is white and the head
> is flat on top with the distinctive sucker mouth underneath. I am using
> a National Audobon Society Field Guide to Fishes of North America as a
> reference. Now this fish really resembles a Striped Jumprock except
> they should not be indigenous to this area! It also resembles a Torrent
> Sucker in coloration with the same caveat that it isn't indigenouseither!
> That leaves me with either a White Sucker or a Northern Hog Sucker as
> candidates. Am I correct in assuming this is a juvenile so the
> coloration may be different than the adult?
> The fish seems to be doing well in my 110 gallon tank with a pair of
> Redeyes and a Pumpkinseed. I haven't seen it actually feed yet.
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