NANFA-- Random Thoughts...

Todd Crail (
Mon, 3 Nov 2003 21:44:54 -0500

A whole buncha small stuff... Thought I'd just dump 'em into one email and
call it good :)

Brook Silversides
Well, they bought the farm. I thought I had the toughest genotype, and
well, they're the same. I consider it a success getting them all home, all
eating and all doing apparently fine for a week and a few days in a
community tank... But then they just start knocking off over the next two
weeks. No parasitism, no fin rot, no one bothering them, nothing. Just

I talked a bit with Nick Zarlinga about this... He had a similar experience
a few months ago. We're both wondering if having them in quarantine for
months in a solid stable system, with a nice salt content and zero
competition might be the final eases for a total success. Net free handling
may help as well. I'm very certain that lower water temperatures at time of
collection are absolutely necessary. Summer just isn't the time to give it
a another try :)

I did snag a coupla shots... They didn't turn out as perfect as I wanted
them to, but they were okay. They're darn hard to shoot with a digital
because the danged lense keeps focusing on the background heeheehee.

Brine Factory
I started a brine shrimp factory. I've been entertaining the idea of
working with some least darters, and man does frozen adult brine look like a
48 oz steak next to them! I had read that brine can live in perpetuity in
reef aquariums... I set up a 5 1/2 gallon with the same deep sand
configuration (to offset the heavy nitrogen load and provide plenty of
primary foodstuffs) and uplift tube, air driven circulation (no mechanical
filtration). I let some hornwort rot off into the system to create a
schlode of yummy detritus... They seem to be eating it (which was
corroborated by my wife :) I'm also supplementing with Brine Shrimp
Direct's Golden Pearl "Clusters". The water was cloudy last night but it's
clear today. I'm impressed. I'm wondering where I can get more detritus.
Maybe I should set up a tank the old fashioned way ;)

The only flaw I can see so far is hydroids getting in there and making a
mess. Hopefully I won't have to deal with that... But I fear it would be
naive to even entertain the thought for a moment. At any rate, based on
this week's very _preliminary_ success, I think there will be some more
tanks set up in this manner so I can really gut load these guys and get away
from so much necrotic food.

Hydroids Galore!
And while I'm talking hydroids... Man I had a population explosion in the
new 30 gallon.

I set the system up about two months ago. I had some cyano issues as the
sandbed was completely new and I moved an existing system's contents into
it. I took care of that three weeks ago by just turning out the lights,
doing a water change after a few days of it crashing. Got all the algae
nutrition back into the water column and then removed it. Everything is
much better now and I think the sandbed is intact enough to take the
nutrient load and process it.

There wasn't any trouble with nitrification during the change, as there were
tons of plants, the existing Ehiem and rocks that were "live" with bacteria
(the normal nitrifying grounds). I also snagged some rubble from a local
stream to introduce any critters present in that gravel. So the diversity
was all there... Just needed a little more time to populate and outcompete
the surface algaes. Just like a reef tank :)

It looks like this right now...

But being like a reef tank can produce some amazing population explosions of
critters as they are able to utilize some aspect of the system. In this
case, BAM I had hydroids. Everywhere. On the glass was where I could see
them, I'm sure they were just as present everywhere else. I was concerned
about them at first (fish suddenly began scratching in the same time frame),
but I took my old reefkeeping stance of "don't freak". I was going to ask
what eats 'em...

The banded darters and spotfin/steelcolor shiners (I can't decide now lol)
are eating them!

The population took a serious dump overnight. I thought maybe they went
into another life phase, but I watched as the bandeds and shiner just picked
them off the glass one by one. I was very amused. I'll be even more amused
if they go into a medusa phase.

I will need to watch I don't cross contaminate them into the brine factories
tho. That would be much less amusing. ;)

Well I never thought my love of fish would get me looking at rocks
heeheehee. But it has. Last week I was home bored to death while being
sick (it's kinda tough not having tv when you're sick). I went downtown to
the public library. I slobbered all over their copy of Page's Handbook of
Darters and then made my way over into the 550's. "Geology of Michigan" by
Dorr and Eschman is a fantastic resource for understanding (and seeing)
Pleistocene and post glacial events (the absolute best I've seen so far).
It's good for anyone in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin,
Minnesota for understanding what you're seeing while in stream and I'd
think, would be easily obtained at any library, esp on inter-library loan.

Another gem I found is "A Place on the Glacial Till" by Thomas Sherman.
The book basically describes Nick Zarlinga's back yard (I'm serious! That
rise in the terrain north of his house is the shorline of Lake Whittlesey!
:) Well, maybe a little further out than Nick's backyard, but it'll get any
"Ohio interested" person a wonderfully illustrated glimpse of the long
geologic history that created our limestones and shales, the glacial lakes,
the moraines, the kames, kettles and eskers, the beach heads that shape a
large portion of the state... And have been influenced by and continue to
influence our streams we like to fish the most :)

"Date Night"
Sarah and I have begun doing "gender equal" dates. She gets pampered with
flowers, movies, dinner, charming gestures.... I get to go fishin! :) We
got this book that has date ideas... After some initial floundering for
finding fun dates for me, I relayed that wherever it says "Action Movie"
substitute "Seining", or "Car Shopping" substitute "Fish Store", or "Sports
Event" substitue "MORE SEINING!" It true. Males have a one track mind. I
don't think anyone can quantify as a generalization on what though ;)

So we went on our first "date" yesterday. We hit some nice streams... Seems
that both of us with a dipnet is about the best way to go and avoid any
types of expectations. We can both "play" that way :) Sarah caught the
star blacknose dace at Beaver Creek... I was looking for a 5 pack of them.
That was the only one there, so we went to a second stream that was a more
true headwater and I'd found a nice access to it.

I plopped down in the water and began the hunt for the dace... Sarah was
there shortly after me, and made the comment that it really stunk there
(which it did, I just didn't notice heh). I was thinking "This is pristine.
What can stink?"

And then I heard a horrible gagging noise and "I gotta go back to the car".

Yep... All the times I've been out and never run into anything truly
gross... The first time I get my wife to go out in a _long_ time where she's
really excited to be fishin...

And there's a dead, partially decomposed deer in the stream.


I can't think of finding much worse than that... Sides maybe a partially
decomposed human. But that would gross me out too.

There was one benefit... Put the really purty leech we found earlier into a
better light ;)

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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