Iowa Wild Caught Native Coldwater
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:20 PM   #1
iowanaquarist
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Iowa Wild Caught Native Coldwater


I'm working on something I dreamed about as a kid:

A local, native, wild caught and stocked tank. I'm starting with a 20g long as a test bed, and I am hoping to move on to a 55 gallon with what I have learned, as my stock grows larger.

As near as I can tell, I am following the applicable laws -- local law, as I understand it, allows the catching and keeping of bait minnows, as long as you have the appropriate permits. There is no limit on how, or where you can keep them, just where you collect them, what you use to collect them, where you can use them live, and who can sell them.

I started with .5 inches of Miracle Grow Organic (same as I use in my other tanks/jars).

On top of this I layered .75 inches of mixed masonry sand/play sand -- it's what I had left over from another tank. Were I to start over, I would skip this layer.

On top of this, I sprinkled 1/2 gallon of creek sand collected from an actively flowing section of creek. Originally, this was to seed the bacteria/critters into the other sand, but I *love* the look -- especially when you see the fish with it. I fully intend to add another gallon or so of sand in the near future.

I filled with decholorinated water, as well as some murky creek water. Even though I was using cycled filters, I also added some SafeStart (living bacteria) to the play sand when I layered it.

Into this tank, I added:
~12 blunt-nose minnows from 1/2 inch to 3 inches long
~5 bottom feeding darters (look like they might be Iowa Darters)
1 Green Eared sunfish (~1.5 inches)

I want to catch another sunfish or two -- these guys look and act a lot like Jack Dempseys. They also have polarized vision -- and this guy loves to watch everything going on outside the tank.

I am planning on moving some of the blunt-nose minnows to the cycled 55 gallon to add room for more sunfish/diversity.

I have several crayfish I would like to add. They are currently housed in the 55, and are not terribly agressive to each other -- and leave the blunt-noses alone. I do not have any darters in that tank. Since these are a natural bottom fish, there is some concern there.

I am planning on getting some locally obtained water plants, and switching to a finnex planted+ for a 30 inch tank. I have already found wild Duckweed (how hard was that?), water onion, a variant of hairgrass, and hornwort. I will be finishing off the tank with some river rock (including limestone).

Where I live is filled with limestone, and the water is naturally very hard, so this is not a huge issue.

At this point, I am still researching what I have, and what it eats, before I plant too much -- easier to clean out the unwanted food this way.




Full tank shot -- you can easily see the two different sands here. You can see some of the blunt-nose swimming, and the sunfish in the upper right.

The blue thing is a nylon scrubbie from a cycled tank to add more bacteria space/some floating cover. The green is a cheesy fake plant.




More scrubbies/lower angle



Mr. Sunfish watching me.



I believe this is an Iowa Darter -- fast little bottom dweller. As you can see, their natural coloration is very much like the sand from where I caught them -- which is part of why I want to add more of it.



Another shot of the darters



One of the crays I caught. On /r/crayfish, it may have been identified as orconectes immunis -- but that is a loose ID at this time. I'd love to get a better ID.



Attempted side shot of the sunfish. Between his habit of watching things going on around him, the still murky water, and the intentionally poor lighting (trying not to stress the fish too much) it's really hard to see just oh pretty he is.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:53 PM   #2
jasa73
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This is a great idea! I grew up in MN catching bullheads, minnows, sun fish from the lakes. I never thought to look at our own fish as possible aquarium fish.
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:18 AM   #3
iowanaquarist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasa73 View Post
This is a great idea! I grew up in MN catching bullheads, minnows, sun fish from the lakes. I never thought to look at our own fish as possible aquarium fish.
All my research makes *most* of them look pretty easy with few exceptions...

The green sunfish and yellow eared sunfish get 7-11 inches full grown, so they might graduate to a 75 or 120 gallon tank at some point. On the plus side, they supposedly LOVE pond snails...

Stonerollers also need a strong current... the rest appear fine.
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:49 AM   #4
cjstl
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Subscribed! I love this and have long wanted to do the same thing with a native Missouri tank. In fact, I was just camping with my little guy this weekend and we were swimming in the lake. I found tons of what appeared to be variants of najas and hair grass, as well as some ludwigia. And the weekend before that, I found native hornwort and duckweed. I didn't keep any of the plants though. What a shame.

I also caught a large, beautiful red-eared sunfish that had brilliant coloration. But he would have chowed down on your minnows. Thing probably weighed over a pound! IMO, he was as pretty as a discus.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources just banned the sale of all crayfish, native and otherwise. There are only one or two exceptions that can still be sold as bait. It put a cramp in my plans to start a CPO colony, but I could still catch plenty of native crays if I tried. Missouri has the largest diversity of crayfish in the world.
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:07 AM   #5
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When I was younger I had some pumpkinseed sunfish with my oscars and they held their own and were fun to watch, and a few very large crayfish, and a blue channel cat. I always wanted to find some smaller fish such as stickleback.
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:46 AM   #6
iowanaquarist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgdmirage View Post
When I was younger I had some pumpkinseed sunfish with my oscars and they held their own and were fun to watch, and a few very large crayfish, and a blue channel cat. I always wanted to find some smaller fish such as stickleback.
A neighbor growing up had an in-wall tank with a bass in it. After work, he would go feed the bass and decide if it was time to go fishing, or do yard work ;-)
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