Re: NANFA-- Recipe book for fish... last call

Dave Neely (
Tue, 18 Jan 2000 20:42:27 CST


Day-to-day feeding is frozen bloodworms. I do not supplement with vitamins,
instead I provide live foods (chironomids, + an assortment of various
inverts) about every week or so. My Centrarchus get the occasional netful of
Gambusia to snack on.

Most Eastern US fishes are generalists- they'll take any available food
source. There's a huge body of literature out there on diet analyses of
various fishes, and <usually> the most common food item in tummies is the
most abundant edible gape-sized item in the environment. The only
"vegetarian" fishes in NAM that I can think of are chiselmouth (Acrocheilus
alutaceus), stonerollers (genus Campostoma, 4 described, at least 3
undescribed spp), and the "silvery" minnows (Hybognathus, with 6 spp), the
southwestern genus Dionda (with 2spp in the US),the extinct genus Stypodon
(from Mexico), and (maybe) the desert dace (Eremichthys acros). This does
not mean that they don't eat anything else (stonerollers eat prepared foods
in aquaria, and readily eat inverts in the wild- I've caught them on nymphs
while flyfishing!), only that they have the long intestines required to
efficiently digest algae and periphyton. At any rate, other than Campostoma,
few people are likely to try to keep fish that would require a special
'vegan' diet.

Even fewer species require a special molluscan diet- I'm currently keeping
Percina vigil (presumed sister taxon to the Percina tanasi-uranidea clade,
and also supposedly a "snailivore"), and they readily switched to frozen
bloodworms w/ live supplementary critters. If anyone out there could find
either Lagochila or Etheostoma sellare, I'd be happy to provide them with
enough snails to keep their fish happy... ;)

I think providing the occasional input of live, wild-caught inverts helps
maintain fish in optimum condition and color. Plus, it's cheap. I've
previously described the modified Hester-Dendy plate samplers that I often
use (make one for <$2, or buy one from Forestry Suppliers for $21.90!). It's
almost as easy to just go out with a D-frame kicknet, hold it against the
substrate, and kick inverts in. Yeah, so occasionally I have caddisflies
hatching in my apartment. Not a big deal... but it might be different if I
wasn't single!

hmm, we might be on to something here... naw, never mind.

Bugs are fun to play with in their own right, and have a short enough
reproductive cycle that I don't feel too bad harvesting some from wild
populations. There's a spring-fed creek nearby that could supply enough
Gammarus to solve all the world's hunger problems... I haven't had a problem
with introducing diseases, but then again I think if fish aren't already
stressed out by some other factor (ie, a pH, temp, or other problem), they
have a decent resistance to most common aquatic pathogens.


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