Re: NANFA-- Trip report: Paint Branch Creek

Rose Lawn Museum (
Tue, 20 Aug 2002 13:41:55 -0400

Hi Bob

You have had a busy week! Nice report. Thanks for sharing it.

Steven A. Ellis
Kennesaw, GA

At 12:24 PM 8/20/02 -0400, you wrote:
>Hi, all. Last Sunday, several NANFA members met up to do some collecting in
>Paint Branch Creek, which runs along the edge of the University of Maryland
>campus in College Park.
>Chris and Stephanie Scharpf joined us from Baltimore, Harry Knaub made the
>trip down from York, PA, and Ed Bielaus came from nearby Bethesda. The
>creek is in on of the last places you'd expect a creek to be, behind a
>treeline at the edge of a massive asphalt parking lot. Judging from the
>species diversity, the water quality appeared to be very high, especially
>for a stream the drains a heavily populated Washington, D.C. suburb.
>For the most part, the stream had a Sandy bottom. In the slow-moving, flat
>stretches, we found several minnow species. For my money, the most
>impressive of these was the satin fin shiner,
>Not only did we find these in the sandy flats, but a few were also schooling
>in the riffles just below the bridge that spanned nearby Route 1. These
>were a really pretty fish. They're gilt-edged fins glittered in the
>sunlight as the lazily held in the current below the riffles. They'd
>probably be a really nice pond show fish, especially if they had a current
>from a slow water fall to swim against.
>Other species in the sandy flats included swallowtail
>( and spot tail
>( shiners.
>An unexpected finding was banded killifish, which I'd only seen in the
>freshwater parts of the tidal Potomac. These were easy to net after
>stirring up the sandy bottom. The fish showed up to feed upon items
>dislodged from the substrate.
>Further down stream, just below the riffles, we encountered both longnose
>( and blacknose
>osedace). Both are nice, peaceful minnows that do well in a community
>coldwater tank. The former is one of my all time favorites. I call them
>airplane fish, because in an aquarium, they spread their pectoral fins wide
>and glide into the filter current, reminding me of an airpline. While
>snorkeling, Stephanie said she also identified some cutlips minnows,
>sminnow. These are a bottom dwelling native minnow, best kept in a single
>species tank. (In close quarters, they will eat the scales--and even the
>eyes--of other fishes kept with them.
>We also found both white
>( and Northern
>hog ( )
>suckers. These are gentle bottom feeders that are often difficult to keep
>in captivity. They feed on algae covered rocks on the bottom of stream
>beds. NANFA member Dan Logan once told me that the trick to keeping them
>alive is to rotate a fresh supply of stream rocks through an aquarium.

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