Captive Care Notes: Highscale Shiners (Luxilus, Family Cyprinidae)
Most Luxilus are hardy species that do well aquaria. One exception is the Duskystripe Shiner (L. pilsbryi), which is sensitive to changes in water temperature and quality and doesn't transport well from the field. The Warpaint Shiner (L. coccogenis) is prone to infection; a small amount of sea salt added to the collection bucket helps stave off infection as does keeping the water cool. Breeding colors seen in the wild initially fade in the aquarium and then return. In order to retain breeding colors for as long as possible, Schleser (1998), in Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium, recommends keeping the water below 21C (70F) at the lights on for 15 hours a day.
Perhaps the easiest Luxilus to keep is the Common Shiner (L. cornutus). It tames rapidly and becomes something of a pet, but declines if not given enough room and a varied diet. A minimum 20-gallon aquarium for six small adults, lots of open swimming space (no rocks or plants), and a diet consisting of live foods and any vegetable-based prepared food, such as those made for koi and goldfish, is recommended. Given the right care, Common Shiners should grow quickly. Adults kept over the winter in unheated aquaria often get into spawning condition in the spring.
Goldstein's American Aquarium Fishes reports the captive spawning of Crescent Shiner (L. cerasinus) without the benefit of a host nest. Six adults were kept in a 30-gallon aquarium with an inch of pea gravel or pebbles, strong aeration, and a moderate current. Fish were conditioned by gradually increasing the water temperature from 15.5C (60F) to 21C (70F) over the course of a month. Remove the adults after spawning (or if spawning was not observed, after the adults have exhibited their nuptial colors for several days). Look for eggs in the gravel. If present, they should hatch in 5-8 days. Feed the young fry rotifers, ciliates, motile algae, and dry food dust.