NANFA-- A cyprinid aquarium, Alabama style

Bruce Stallsmith (
Sat, 08 Jan 2000 22:51:13 EST

I have my first true community aquarium since I moved here last summer. In a
10 gal. tank I have 2 speckled chub (_Macrhybopsis aestivalis_, at least for
now), a channel shiner (_Notropis wickliffi_) and what I think is a mimic
shiner, _Notropis volucellus_. The latter I initially thought was a sawfin
shiner but now that it's color has stabilized and I've gotten a better look
at it, I realize my mistake. It differs from the channel shiner primarily by
a noticeable predorsal stripe (a.k.a. dorsal nape), not really present in
the channel shiner.

All of these fish came from a small nameless creek in Scottsboro, AL.
They're all extremely active, and all immediately took flake food with great
gusto, as have my _Fundulus_ species killifish. The speckled chubs are
actually handsome fish, with orange-red tails and bronze sides speckled with
black (hence the name). It makes me realize, once again, that Americans are
foolish to be so fixated on exotic tropicals.

My trips to Jackson County, AL, have also lead me & my wife to another
interesting thing, snake handling for religious reasons. There's a great
book out on this that's set in north-east Alabama called "Salvation on Sand
Mountain - Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia" by Dennis
Covington. These are people who think nothing of keeping 4 copperheads in an
aquarium on their kitchen counter next to the coffee pot, or routinely
travelling with a rattlesnake in your truck. These people tend to live in
interesting areas for fish collecting, such as Jackson and Marshall Counties
in Alabama, back up in the hills around high gradient streams. Personally I
try to avoid poisonous snakes, but my travels are bringing me to the snake
handlin' people.

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL
"safe in Madison County"

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