Re: NANFA-- Feeding brook stickleback? was brook stickleback?
Thu, 28 Sep 2000 11:47:11 EDT

In a message dated 9/27/00 12:01:13 AM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< I'd like to include adult brine shrimp
but they just aren't available here in the wilds of Montana. Worms don't
seem to be a part of their natural diet. >>

Do you have fairy shrimp (the freshwater version of brine shrimp) in any
samll temporary water pools in your area? From what I know of them they would
only be found in early spring, but they could be used in place of brine
shrimp. I don't know if they could be cultured successfully in large enough
numbers to create a steady supply; I think that they have to go through some
long gestation period before the eggs are hatched.

They didn't strike me as being big worm eaters for some reason. Especially
when it came to the creek that I got my first brook sticklebacks, it didn't
strike me a being the kind of place that worms of a suitable size for the
sticklebacks to eat would be found. I could imagine the sticklebacks that
wind up in my ditch eating the tubifex worms that are found in there, though.
I think that you could still feed them blackworms, but that you would have to
give them lots of daphnia or brine shrimp to offset any negative affects. The
blackworms probably do provide many of the vitamins , ect., that sticklebacks
need, but it doesn't seem like the blackworms would break down quite as well
in the sticklebacks' digestive system.

<< I'd welcome any suggestions. >>

If and when you can acclimate your sticklebacks to frozen foods, I would feed
them frozen bloodworms. If you can find them, frozen glass worms would be
really healthy too.
Do you have any walnut trees in your area? I learned about this from Dan
(NaturNut); that right now the walnuts which fall to the ground and are black
and rotted will have many small maggots of a suitable size to feed adult
sticklebacks. If you take off the outer layer of the walnut, you will find
them clustered on the inside of the outer hull and on the outside of the hard
walnut itself. I've just started to feed these to my stickleback. Again, this
is seasonal, but it would definitely be a suitable source of food when you
can get.

Another source of insects would be blackfly larva that are clustered on rocks
in the riffles of streams. Since there's a bunch of them on the rock, you can
take a blackfly larvae-covered rock and put it in your tank. This would be
seasonal too, at least in my area; I only see them in the spring, fall, and
some of the winter.

In the winter you might want to try breaking some ice on different bodies of
water and getting live glassworms if you can find them.

<< "The brook stickleback is carnivorous. A wide variety of aquatic insects,
especially larvae and crustaceans are the principal food items. >>

That's what I pictured them eating mainly, crustaceans and insect larvae.

<< In Minnesota (Nurnberger 1928), brook sticklebacks had eaten algae,
Entomostraca, and insects and their larvae." >>

I gotta admit, I had my doubts about your assertion that sticklebacks might
eat algae; I had always read that they were carnivorous and even the above
description which you posted stated the same thing. You were right though;
and I am so surprised that they would eat algae. Not to mention sponges; I
can't imagine them picking at sponges. It never ceases to amaze me how many
new facts I learn about fishes which go contrary to my established views of

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