----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce Stallsmith" <fundulus_at_hotmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 12:54 PM
Subject: Re: NANFA-- My first collection of the year
> Andalusia's a town I never collected... bull minnows is usually what
> call Fundulus grandis, also known as the Gulf Killifish. I'm sure they're
> not in Covington County. But I'm glad you hit the motherlode of
> Pteronotropis, sounds fun.
> --Bruce Stallsmith
> Huntsville, AL, US of A
> >From: Mysteryman <bestfish_at_alaweb.com>
> >Reply-To: nanfa_at_aquaria.net
> >To: nanfa_at_aquaria.net
> >Subject: NANFA-- My first collection of the year
> >Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 12:40:58 -0700
> >I'd say I'm off to a pretty good start!
> >I hit a semi-swampy area near my house. The area is latticed with dozens
> >of small streams which are really all the same stream, just split up
> >into numerous little branches which eventually reconnect. The substrate
> >is sand. There is a lot of vegetation on the edges of the streams, but
> >none actually in the water, except for an occasional clump on a sandbar.
> >This area also has a number of "permanent puddles" in it, which are
> >either fed by spring or seepage, and these are like little miniature
> >lakes of a sort. Rarely more than a foot deep, or more than ten feet
> >across, they don't look like they'd hold any fish. They do, though, and
> >I can ususally find Pygmy Sunfish in them.
> >Some of these puddles are just barely connected to a stream, and these
> >serve as spawning areas for ( Ptero ) Notropis signipinnis. While the
> >streams usually contain several adult fish at any given time of year
> >except the coldest part of winter, these spawning flats are usually
> >found to contain fry, hundreds of fry, about twice a year in the late
> >spring and early fall.
> >No signs of spawing yet, but the adults are out in force. I parked my
> >truck on the street, right by the culvert where the stream runs under
> >the road. This is right inside the city limits of Andalusia, Alabama, in
> >a rather fancy neighborhood full of snooty people who look at my old
> >rusty ford pickup with obvious disdain. Most of them have no clue about
> >what treasure swims through their backyards.
> >At any rate, I took my water sample bucket down the bank to the water. I
> >usually get a water sample from collection areas, you see. The scrub was
> >a little thicker than I remembered, but it was easy enough to get to the
> >water. Then something didn't feel right, and I started to slip, and I
> >heard an odd thrashing noise.
> >We have a saying around here: "never step over anything you can step
> >on." Well, I stepped over a log, and as a result I stepped right on a
> >Copperhead! Boy, was he mad! He tried to bite me several times, but
> >luckily he got his fangs stuck in my jeans and shoe. I managed to get
> >ahold of him before he managed to bite me, and I flung him away from me.
> >Well, after that little bit of excitement I got to work. Thanks to the
> >snake, I hadn't yet paid any attention to the creek. As I bent down to
> >fill my water jug, I could see the fish darting playfully in the
> >sunlight, and I couldn't believe my luck... there were dozens of
> >specimens in this one spot right by the street! Normally I have to go
> >hiking through the woods along the creek for a quarter mile or more to
> >find that many fish in a whole day. After Hurricane Opal, that's harder
> >than it sounds, what with all the fallen trees and such.
> >Heh.. I first found out that this fish lived here from a kid on a
> >3-wheeler. I was walking around there to scope it out as a possible
> >location for a paintball war. The kid was having fun, riding through the
> >creek. He stopped and asked me if I was looking for "Bull minners." I
> >told him that I didn't even know what one was. He told me that I'd
> >probably see some if looked hard enough. He was right. Eventually I saw
> >a few in a typical sort of spot where you'd expect to find Notropis
> >species, namely a deep spot in the creek right below a little waterfall.
> >I couldn't believe my eyes.. the sun was shining just right, and I could
> >see their glorious colors quite plainly.
> >Well, the next thing I did should be easy enough to predict. I rushed
> >home, got a net and a jar, and went back to catch some. They were harder
> >to catch than I would have guessed, but I managed to get a few.
> >I thought at first that they were Notropis hypselopterus, a native fish
> >I had actually read about in an aquarium book. I labored under this
> >wrong assuption for quite some time, but eventually figured out that
> >they were ( Ptero )Notropis signipinnis, the Flagfin Shiner. I used to
> >do down in that area to catch them fairly regularly after that, and
> >normally caught some Elassomas right along with them, along with a few
> >species of darters we have locally. I could have sworn that I even had a
> >stickleback once, but it got away before I could get a good look at it.
> >I don't think we're supposed to have sticklebacks around here, though.
> >Hurricane Opal came along though, and everything changed. The area
> >became very difficult to navigate, and a trip that formerly took a half
> >hour suddenly took two hours. I eventually quit bothering to collect
> >them because it was too much work. Last year, though, I had an idea...
> >I got a shovel and went to work. It took several hours, but I finally
> >managed to make a deep spot by the culvert. I figured that it would
> >attract the fish, making them easier to find. When I returned this year,
> >I found that most of my work has been undone by erosion and the current.
> >Most, that is, but not all. It worked! That's why, in about six minutes
> >flat, I was able to catch FORTY of them right by the road.
> >Try it. You might find that creating a habitat suitable for the species
> >you're seeking is easier than trying to find that habitat.
> >I took the fish and spread a few around to a few tanks. The pH of the
> >creek is 6.0, and the tank water is about 6.5.
> >The rest are in a 250 gallon kiddie pool full of Elodea plants.
> >I'm trying to figure out a good way to sort them out by sex for
> >breeding, but it's tricky. Some of the females are fat with eggs, so
> >they're easy to spot, but I can't figure out what makes the males
> >unmistakably male. None of them have tubercules on their faces or
> >anything like that. Does anyone have any tips? Does size matter? Some of
> >the fish are much bigger than the rest..could these be the "Bulls" that
> >give the fish it's colloquial name? As popular as this fish is, I'm sure
> >that someone here has spawned them. I've egg-stripped them before with
> >success, and had them spawn before in pools, but only incidentally. Now
> >that I'm trying to do it the "normal" way, in aquaria, I could use a
> >little help.
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