All of the freshwater fish for sale at the LFS are from South America, Africa, Asia or Australia. How come no one (or very few people, I suppose) keeps North American fish? I live in Maryland, and I know many of the local species get rather large and would thus be difficult to keep in aquaria. However, aren't there any smaller fish such as minnows or small sunfish that could be kept like North American versions of danios and cichlids? I think it would be really cool to have a local biotope with some of these fish represented.
How would I go about keeping such an aquarium? Would the fish require a heater for part of the year and a chiller for winter? Or would ambient room temperatures work fine? Could wild-caught specimens be fed on prepared foods, or would they need live food diets? I suppose much would depend on the species I'm interested in, but since I don't know much about local fish, I could be educated there, too. Anyone who knows anything about Mid Atlantic area freshwater fish that would be suitable for a smallish aquarium (55 gallons or under for now) would be a big help.
Locally here there are a couple options for small freshwater fish:
Sculpin, brown bullhead type
Pea mouth Chub
and a rock sculpin type fish
All of them stay below 3 inches and should be fine in a home. I would have to research them to see if there is any reason they need cold water for anything.
Don't forget darters, the Florida killiefish, Jordanella floridae (American Flag Fish), the Rio Grande cichlid,.....
Some people have kept a tank of native gamefish, me included, at one time or another. The key is to provide the environment that meets the needs of the fish.
Re: Local Fish?
I'd think you might need a brackish setup for chesapeake-bay based species.
Also, when pulling from the wild (with which I don't exactly agree), as opposed to captive-bred species; evolution says they tend to be much more tempermental to the enviroment from which they came. So, you'd need to extensively test the area from which the fish came, and do your best at replicating those conditions. I can imagine it would be easy to overly saturate the water with harmful chemicals that would only show up in a concentration-type test and might not show up in the simple "balance" tests that just compares levels of " opposite " chemicals -- ions, acids, bases, carbonates, etc.
I know the Chesapeake tends to have a very fine silt floor/substrate, slightly salty (not sure on the specific gravity), marshes and lots of sunken local tree species, tires and industrial waste as you approach baltimore :cry:
**** note***** I'm new to aquariums, but I've lived near the bay all of my life.
We have more bodies of water here in Maryland aside from the Chesapeake! I wasn't going to fiddle with a brackish setup at all, as they just seem like a pain with the increasing salinity levels over time for some species but not for others etc etc. Also, a lot of the brackish species get rather large. I was talking about a strictly freshwater setup. Maryland has an abundance of freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds.
I would definitely be taking water samples from any sources and doing extensive testing in order to try to replicate the water parameters in the aquarium. I'm more worried about things like temperature changes. Maryland has some pretty extreme temperature shifts (for example, it was in the upper 40's/low 50's yesterday but is about 80 today) so I wasn't sure if it would be necessary to replicate at least seasonal temperature changes in the aquarium, or if the fish would do well at room temperature.
I think everyone else covered most of the types of fish that came to mind when I read your post. There definitely are cool fish in your area that you could keep.
I've also heard of a book which I've been meaning to read called "North American Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium" by David Schleser. I'm guessing it could give you some pretty good pointers, and it has lots of full-color pictures :D
Thanks! That's exactly the type of information I need.
i do think blue gills are neat, when I used to fish, I always liked the way they looked. Even they can get rather largeish at 7-8" long.
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