Re: NANFA--Eggs! Sticklebacks, Green Sunfish & darters...

Lions Lark (
Fri, 12 Jan 2001 13:44:18 -0500

----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Klein <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2001 11:37 AM

> Jim,
> Hey. We have a 55 gallon native minnow tank that has five green
sunfish, a bunch of stickelbacks, and a few different darters. There are
some plants, too. I noticed today, that at the top of one plant, a couple
of blades are wrapped together with duck weed roots, and there's a batch of
eggs inside of them. A stickelback is always swimming by the eggs, so I'm
thinking that they belong to it. Also, over the last week several of the
stickelbacks have changed color from light brown to almost black. I think
that it would be pretty cool if those things hatched, so I'm wondering if I
should pull the sunfish or any other fish out in case they want to eat the
eggs. What do you think? Thanks.
> rob

Mr. Klein,


Male spawning sticklebacks are blackish in color. Do/did any of the
sticklebacks appear fat or pregnant? Are these brook sticklebacks? The male
builds a nest from debris, plants and algae and glues them together from
secretions from the kidneys. He then lures females into the nest, she lays
her eggs and he shoos her away and gets another to lay her eggs. He then
guards the nest voraciously-even against fish much larger than himself.
About a week later the stickleback will make an opening in the top portion
of the nest-as the eggs should begin to hatch. He may take them into his
mouth to protect them. He only protects them for a short while after
hatching. I'm not sure how long. Sunfish will try to eat the eggs and the
young. I'd try to put a breeder net around the male & the nest until 1 week
after hatching. Make sure he has a bit to eat-he won't eat much if any at
all. After that time I think he may try to eat the young. I'm not sure what
to feed the new hatchlings-I usually release mine in my friends creek & pond
before they hatch.

Apparently your tank is around 66-72 degrees F. If the temp. is kept lower
they are less likely to spawn, build nests & lay eggs.
Each kind of stickleback (brook, nine & three spined etc.) has its own "nest
luring" ritual. I think it's pretty interesting & can be frustrating to

I learned all of this through the nanfa site & through experiences of my
own. I found sticklebacks in my bait bucket amongst minnows and was
impressed by their "posturing" and unique profile. I keep mine in a 10-gal
(I have 1 male and 4 females-spawning males are VERY territorial and will
fight voraciously!) with a male & female orangethroat darter. I feed them
blackworms from a submerged rocks glass and snails from my other tanks that
have been breeding like rabbits! This is the only tank I allow algae to grow
into threads & I only clean off the front pane of glass once a month.

Let me know what happens! I'm excited for you.

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