The group of fish including catenatus, stellifer,
rathbuni, bifax inhabit a completely different habitat
than the topminnows and their diet in nature is a heck
of a lot meatier than the topminnows. I have kept
catenatus off and on over the last 20+ years and they
will not survive on a diet of flake food. But snails,
shrimp, scallops, freezed dried plankton, mysis are
either greedily eaten or can be trained to be eaten
and not only keep the fish in good health but result
in acceptable spawning. The exception to the rule, as
I remember from about two decades ago, is Fundulus
julisia which will readily eat anything offered,
though feeding blackworms brings them quickly to
spawning condition. Lets hope that species
reintroduction attempts are a resounding success.
There is a big difference trying to collect these fish
in the wild also. Topminnows are rather easy to
collect. One can even stand on the bank, observe them
and snatch them with a dipnet without ever getting in
the water. With the technique I use I still tend to
get a little wet while standing on the bank. The
studfishes can see you coming from many yards away and
once they recognize you as a predator they will keep
their distance. Trying to catch adult stellifer in
the conasauga with a dipnet is virtually impossible,
though catching juveniles isnt that hard. Charles Ray
and I caught Stellifer in Monroe County Alabama during
the driving rain of Allison last June, and in a couple
of hours of collecting we had a couple of young pairs.
We caught them all with a seine.
--- Bruce Stallsmith <fundulus_at_hotmail.com> wrote:
> I've been keeping a variety of Fundulus species over
> the past two years and
> now I realize that there's some pattern to their
> feeding habits in
> captivity. There's a big difference between
> studfishes (northern and
> southern, catenatus and stellifer respectively) on
> one hand and topminnows
> on the other (notti, notatus, olivaceus, chrysotus).
> The central difference
> is acceptance of flake foods: the studfishes won't,
> and the topminnows will.
> I've been growing out a group of catenatus from the
> Paint Rock River, AL,
> system on a diet of chopped earthworms and
> blackworms for about a year now,
> and the original two look great; some more recent
> additions are still coming
> up to snuff. A group of stellifer from Raccoon
> Creek, GA, adults and YOY,
> are starting to bulk up on the same diet after
> several months.
> I give the live foods to the topminnows too, but
> they don't visibly lose
> weight if they're only on flakefood for a week.
> This observation was largely inspired by talking to
> Charlie Grimes about
> keeping and conditioning rainbow shiners, Notropis
> chrosomus. They also are
> happy to take flakefood, but mine look much better
> after sustained feedings
> of various worms and bugs (it's a greenhouse, I got
> bugs...). Charlie's
> rainbows, from the same location in Collinsville,
> AL, didn't look nearly as
> colorful on a flake-only diet.
> None of this is new, that natives will do better
> with more live foods. But
> it's easy to fall into a rut and let things slide
> from day to day, I know I
> --Bruce Stallsmith
> Huntsville, AL, US of A
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