Re: NANFA-- fishkeeping

Mark B (
Mon, 14 Aug 2000 21:22:54 -0400

At 8:46 AM -0400 8/9/00, Frauley Elson wrote:
>What kind of aquarium lifespans are people finding with their darters,
>and, in general, what are you feeding them? And, bearing in mind
>Robert's advice about greensides, what goes wrong to give these fish
>their reputation as difficult?

I think the difficulty comes first of all with dealing with wild caught
fishes. Adult fish in the wild grow up feeding on wild foods. Dead stuff
in an aquarium is not food to them. They have to learn to eat it. In my
experience, some individuals do and others don't. I have had pretty good
success with getting captive bred darters to eat just about anything. You
have to start them early. Beyond this, many of the species have short
lifespans in the wild. I think successful aquarium maintenance can
lengthen their lives. I can't prove this, but I think higher temperature
decreases life span. Just my personal theory. I'm confident that it
increases their energy requirements and food demands.

The other issue is competition for food. Any species will fare better in a
single or limited species tank. E blennioides and E nigrum are relatively
passive fishes. They will often not get enough food with other
aggressively feeding species present. E nigrum in particular, is prone to
wasting. Perhaps since they are a pool dwelling species, they are less
adapted to the fast paced life of the riffle dwellers. Another untested
theory. Looking forward to a future Small Window column on this subject!

Mark Binkley
Columbus Ohio USA <))><

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