NANFA-- Possible chubsucker spawning

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Sat, 20 May 2000 11:25:49 -0400

Yesterday I observed two Lake Chubsuckers - Erimizon succetta hanging
out in the shallow inlet channel that connects my main pond to the
watercourse. This seems to be a popular spot this time of year as I have
noticed that the golden shiners, northern redbelly dace and banded
killifishes also like to go there.
I am not sure yet, but hopeful that the chubsuckers are trying to spawn.
They were introduced to the pond last summer - four of six fingerlings
that Mark Binkley caught the year before in Lake Gentian in Indiana.
They have since grown to about 5 inches in length - still a bit small
but perhaps they can breed at that size. I was surprised to find that
they had grown as quickly as they had. And even more surprised to learn
that all 4 survived. As juviniles the chubsuckers tend to be secretive
and are easily lost in even a small 16' X 20' pond that is well planted
with vegetation. Shortly after introduction I noticed that one of them
had a scar - possibly from an encounter with a water or garter snake.
Never the less everyone of them survived and put on size and shortly
after the departure of ice from the pond I began to see the noticibly
larger chubsuckers hovering near the surface - basking I presume. My
only regret now is that I didn't put the other two into the pond last
summer. They gradually wasted away and died.

I never have much luck with chubsuckers in aquariums.

According to Mark Binkley, chubsuckers feed mostly on crustaceans and
other aquatic inverts. The ones that went into the pond evidently
prospered and grew fat on a diet of scuds and aescullus whose
populations exploded as a result of the barley straw being used for
algae control. That is also no doubt supplemented by the various types
of aquatic earthworms - the blackworms that probably came from the pet
store and a larger pinkish worm like a small garden worm that lives in
the soil in which the pond plants are grown. Also there are lots of
bloodworms (midge larvae) that live in the biofilms that form on the
pond liner and the undersides of lily pads.

I was origionally concerned that the chubsuckers would have trouble
adapting to the softer water of my pond having come out of the
calcarious waters of Lake Gentian. Yet they made it and seem to be doing
well. I don't think my main pond is big enough to sustain a viable
population of these fish, but in a year or so I hope to have a much
bigger one - big enough for people to swim in! That ought to be room
enough to accomodate a these and a really decent population of native


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