Re: NANFA-- Tesselated darters
Wed, 25 Feb 2004 07:33:16 EST

Living as I do in the darter challenged northeast, I'm very familiar with the
tesseslated darter as it is one of only two species we've got.
The tess is a fantastic captive acclimating easily and eating like pigs. They
are very bold and get tame enough to swarm to the front at feeding time. They
even hop up to the surface and take food. They won't take much for freeze
dried food and nothing artificial but thrive and grow fat on frozen blood worms.
I have found them very adaptable and forgiving of tank conditions. I don't
mean they take poor conditions, I've never tried that! ;^)
I mean they apparently are generalist enough in habitat that they do well in
almost any healthy system. Mine came from an extremely clear, cold water creek
with moderate to heavy current with almost zero underwater plant life.
I had to temporarily house a few smaller ones in a heavily planted, zero
current swamp setup which contained swamp darters and bluespotted sunnies. They
wasted no time adapting to the strange conditions and thrived. In fact, I
eventually took them out because they were too agressive at feeding time and
dominated over the smaller and more timid swamp darter. The tessies were growing like
weeds and the swamp darters were looking too skinny.
Once added to my 100 gallon river tank which is moderate current over gravel
and rock, the swamp adapted tessies lost no time adapting to the new habitat
and now act exactly as the ones that have been in there the whole time.

I keep a little colony of seven tesselated darters together in the 100 gallon
river tank. They share the tank with a mixed bag of shiners, dace, suckers
and a sunny. This is a fast moving and greedy community and only bold feeders
get enough to eat. I deliver the food in a weighted mesh bag directly on the
bottom, in the stream of the powerhead. The food gets blown out in the current
creating a nice simulation of stream drift. Delivering it right on the bottom
means that the darters have no problem grabing their share.
No doubt about it, although they are not colorful as some of their southern
cousins, they are super well suited for captive life and would be a good choice
as a first darter.
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