NANFA-- Pond Observations

Chip Rinehart (
Mon, 10 May 2004 08:55:08 -0400

While I didn't get the chance to collect any this weekend, I did spend some
time observing the fish in my ponds and streams. There was a lot more going
on than I would have imagined. While I still have much to do to get the
ponds finished such as rockwork and plantings around the edges, the
inhabitants seem quite happy.

First, in the upper part of the stream, I discovered a little Heterandria
formosa that I have no idea how it got there. It seems to think it's now
either a fieryblack shiner or a yellowfin shiner. Constantly darting back
and forth with them and there was no way I could catch it since it instantly
dives into to pebbles on the bottom whenever I tried to catch it. In the
lower part, I found many lined topminnow fry. There were several different
sizes so there has apparently been more than one spawning. I'm sure there
were many more than I could see since about half of the surface area is
covered in Azolla.

In the first pond, I keep blackbanded sunfish, banded topminnows, and four
bluenose shiners. There were, as best I could count, six blackbandeds
aggressively guarding cleared spots on the bottom. One particular sunnie
was guarding two spots next to each other. They would chase any fish that
came near, except what I'm guessing were female bb's. For these they would
display and try to lure back to the cleared spots. I noticed several
occasions where the welaka would dive into the nest, sometimes a pair,
sometimes singly, when the chaetodon was chasing the killies off. Hope they
were spawning but I think probably eating bb eggs. Also noticed pairs of
the cingulatus diving into algae clumps and plant clumps. They may be
spawning as well but I have yet to see any fry.

In the next pond I have golden topminnows, bluefin killies, and pygmy
livebearers. The male Heterandria were doing their thing, constantly
chasing the females. The bluefin killie males were displaying-in-each other
and chasing other males away from their little territory. I'm always amazed
at the bright colors in the fins of these little fish. The chrysotus were
not observed spawning but I did notice on many occasions, the males doing
little water splashing displays (which I've also seen the cingulatus and
lineolatus doing). A particular note about these chrysotus. They come from
a spot in SC that will remain secret for now but they are by far the most
colorful I have ever seen! The males have extremely vivid greens and
yellows with bright red spots, blood red fins, and very prominent bars with
blue highlights.

The last pond in the yard has not yet been setup completely. I'm still
working on the plants and getting it seeded with scuds and daphnia. My
plans are to stock it with pygmy killies (Leptolucania ommata) and
Okefenokee pygmy sunfish.

More info to come as I get them setup and see more or any fry.

Chip in SC
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