oddball Biotope tank questions... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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oddball Biotope tank questions...

Hi all, long time no post!

I have been busy with preparing to move into my first home YAY

One of the benefits of this place is that we are on well water that doesn't need to be softened. This may not sound like anything all that special, but I have been running my 2 tanks with nothing but culligan jugs for water changes for the past 2 years.

This is expensive and a hassle to say the least!

Since we will have this nice good soft water coming out of the taps I have decided to finally move ahead and start planning for my dream tank. I have a nice 72 gallon bowfront that has been housing a leopard ghecko for a couple years since I was not going to do 36 gallon wc's with culligan jugs. I have been dreaming about doing a biotope tank in it...but not your run of the mill malawi or amazon tank, I want to do a Southeastern Ontario back lake biotope tank

I am an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, and have always found the lakes around here have a lot of interesting creatures living in them. I have been thinking about building a granite rock wall/cave structure along the back corner, and gravel/mud/sand substrate with rock outcroppings throughout the rest. I am thinking duckweed, and maybe some smaller lilly pads and other local plants.

For stocking I thought a small school of pumpkinseed sunfish would be the main fish, then a rockbass to hide out in the caves, and maybe a few crayfish, some clams, snails, mud minnows and silver shiners. For feeding I plan on using the red wiggler worms I use for vermicomposting, crickets, wax worms, and other insects, and supplementing with some cichlid pellets (once I train them to eat pellets).

Has anybody dome something similar to this? How did it work out?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 03:07 AM
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Question

I know this is from over a year ago, but I'm currently doing research to create a pumpkinseed biotope of my own. I was just wondering if you ever went ahead with it, and if so, how did it turn out?

Also just as a side note I found some pretty good info on another forum regarding a native pumpkinseed tank.

http://www.fishgeeks.com/tropicalfis...hp?f=1&t=51111

Last edited by kal_daka87; 12-21-2012 at 03:46 AM. Reason: Found additional information
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 02:44 PM
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Multiple pumpkinseeds in a a tank of that size might be pushing it as they get fairly large in captivity. I would think it likely that the pumpkinseeds and rockbass will come into conflict. Regardless, the minnows, crayfish, ect are most likely going to end up being snacks.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 04:08 PM
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Here's what I'm thinking for my tank.

I have a 90Gallon with 2 Aqueon 50 HOB filters. I'll be collecting substrate, plants, rocks and logs/driftwood from the environment to furnish the tank.

Plants will primarily be waterweed.

For stock I'm thinking 1 Brown Bullhead, 5 Pumpkinseed, and 3 of either Iowa Darter or logperch.

I'm still in the research phase of my set-up so any input is appreciated.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 04:59 PM
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If you put a bullhead in that tank with darters, you might as well kiss them goodbye. Bullhead are predators, might even get your pumkinseeds depending on how small they are.

Pumpkin seeds are territorial and grow large to about the same size as a discus, only more plump and meaner. You will probably end up with a pair and three not so happy fish. These guys would also get large enough to pose a threat to the iowa darters.

That filtration would not cut it for what you are proposing. Darters need high oxygen with cool pristine waters. 2 50gal hobs aint gonna do the trick on a tank that large.
Now, you could set up a river style tank with some powerheads and it would be more suitable, but the pumpkinseeds wouldnt do well in the current for a long period of time.

I would either:
1. Do some bullhead if your into predators and nocturnal fish
2. Get a few pumpkinseeds and when they pair up remove the rest
3. Go for a darter and minnow tank

Idk how many types of darters you guys have that far north but if your not too strict on your biotope and make it a Eastern North American biotope you could include a lot of really awesome darters, minnows, and dace. Mountain red belly dace, blacknose dace, and brooksilversides would all be great to complement a darter population.

Whatever you decide, dont put predator and prey in the same tank, unless its feeding time.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 06:48 PM
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Exclamation Just cus I'm a newbie on the forum doesn't mean I'm new to the hobby

Quote:
If you put a bullhead in that tank with darters, you might as well kiss them goodbye
Many would say the same with Angelfish and Neons or Cardinals, but that is done with much success on a regular basis. Bullhead are opportunistic, not predatory. Altho they will eat anything that fits in their mouth, I don't believe they would go chasing after something as fast as a darter, when there's other easier to catch foods readily available. Surveys done on the stomach contents of bullhead didn't come up any higher than 6% fish. I've got mixed reviews on this one tho. I'm doing a bit more research.

Quote:
Pumpkin seeds are territorial.... You will probably end up with a pair and three not so happy fish.
Only when breeding. Otherwise juveniles hang out in shallows in relatively large groups, and adults hang out in deeper water often in pairs or even small groups up to 6 or more. As for if I end up with a breeding pair, I'll deal with it when the time comes.

Quote:
That filtration would not cut it for what you are proposing.
The tank will be started with relatively low bioload, an established biological substrate, and dense planting. I'm sure the filters will do fine, and if they cant quite keep up as the fish grow, I've got others on standby.

Quote:
Darters need high oxygen with cool pristine waters.
You can't just lump all darters into the same category. From everything I've read the Iowa darter prefers clear STANDING or SLOW MOVING water with dense vegetation, and sandy bottoms, and enjoy temperatures ranging from 1 - 36 Celsius (33.8 - 89.6 F). Not only that but coming from northern climate where their habitat freezes over in the winter they do fine with low oxygen levels.


I wouldn't be starting off with all adult fish here, with the exception of the darters. Both the sunfish and the bullhead would be juveniles. The sunfish would be 2-6in, and the bullhead would probably be around 4-6in. The adult darters would be around 2-3in. I'm researching these fish and their habitat, not just randomly throwing them together.

Final note: kwheeler91, please don't be offended by my debating. I appreciate the input and respect your opinion. I am only in the very beginning stages of planning this tank and have LOTS of hours of research ahead of me before any fish go into this tank. Thanks.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 07:29 PM
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From my own experiences with these fish. Bullheads will chase and eat your minnows; I've always considered these fish to be the most predacious of any fish I've ever tried, with the exception of Bass . In regards to the sunfish and bullhead size, I would make sure they are about the same size, otherwise the bullheads will most likely eat the sunfish. I have kept both together successfully, but I've never had a pair of the sunfish.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 07:43 PM
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No offense taken.

Angelfish are a little different than a 10in bullhead though. And your right I dont suspect a bullhead could catch a darter out right, but a sleeping darter is a whole lot easier to catch, as is a darter meandering by a lurking bullheads mouth. I have caught bullhead and catfish on shad lures and crankbaits and even sinking minnows. Like you said opportunistic, and if there is an opportunity it isnt going to be passed up, especially since they will be in a closed system. wild fish would have access to a plethora of dead fish, crustaceans, worms, instects so on and so forth to feed. That wouldnt be the case in such a small environment.

Youre correct that juvenile sunfish congregate, and adults definitely shoal in deeper water, but the amount of water and space they have to inhabit is much greater than 90 gallons. You will have problems at some point, its just a matter of time. If you have ever witnessed a spawning grounds of bluegill or sunfish they do not tolerate anything near their nest. even if you only saw aggression during breeding season, thats all it would take for deaths in the tank. Sunfish are tougher than they are often given credit for.

Its true that not all darters are created equal. Being natives, darters obviously are able to tolerate flucuations like temperature, flow rate, and oxygen levels, but only for so long, and just because they can tolerate these things doesnt mean it is ideal.

I just dont want you to make unneccessary mistakes. If you are going to take fish out of the wild, it needs to be permanent. It is irresponsible to re-release fish into the wild after keeping them in an aquarium.

Growing up on the shores of Lake Erie I have been an avid fisherman my whole life and I have done many many hours of research on a majority of species in Ohio. Multiple times a year I collect darters and dace and other natives. My dream tank is a custom starphire rimless river tank stocked with darters and minnows/dace and other native fauna and flora. I have done lots of research on the topic of keeping native species and where they live, what they eat, temperament etc etc. helps for both collecting for aquariums and angling

Keeping multiple levels of the food chain together is ok if you have a large enough area for it be self sustainable(exhibit size tanks), but aquariums is another story and you will end up dissappointed when your fish that you either paid for or had to go out and find come up missing and your bullhead is looking a little round in the middle.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-2012, 11:31 PM
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Well I guess I'm going to avoid the bullhead at the very least then.

Oh and I'm hoping that I won't have to take any fish from the wild. I know of some fish hatcheries/aquaculture stations I was going to talk to first. I've got background in field ecology and worked with the MNR for a couple years, and I'd rather not disrupt the natural environment if I can avoid it.

Besides hatchery raised fish will be healthier and already used to eating commercial foods. That and I wont be taking a fish from a 1fish/35000gallon (random number) environment and throwing it in a 6fish/90 Gallon.

That being said I still want the pumpkinseeds. I know they are predatory for sure. I'm trying to stay within a very specific biotope, but I still want more than just pumpkins in the tank. Here's a list of fish I can potentially use.

Brown Bullhead (Too Agressive)
Central Mudminnow (Prey)
Bluntnose Minnow (Prey, not good for aquaria)
Fathead Minnow (Prey)
Common Shiner (Possible, Large size adults would be a big mouthful)
Blacknose Shiner (Prey, Needs cooler temps)
Golden Shiner (???)
Spottail Shiner (???)
Pearl Dace (???)
Finescale Dace (Prey, needs cooler water)
Northern Redbelly Dace (Preferred habitat doesn't really match the Pumpkins)
Iowa Darter (Possible, Fast enough to avoid predation)
Johnny Darter (Possible)
Logperch (Possible, but susceptible to low oxygen)

Walleye (TOO BIG)
Yellow Perch (Don't like lol)
Northern Pike (WAY TOO BIG!)
Brook Stickleback (Need faster water)
Rainbow Smelt (Obscure)
Bluegill Sunfish (Compete with Pumpkins)
Rock Bass (Compete with pumpkins)
Smallmouth Bass (Compete with Pumpkins and too big)
Lake Trout (Too big)
White Sucker (Too Big)

From what I've been reading pretty much my only options would be fish from the darter family. The logperch gets pretty big @ 15cm (just under 6 inches) It would be a lot harder for a sunfish to munch on that one.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 02:14 AM
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Logperch are big enough that they wont be threatened too much, if at all. As long as the species is threatened do feel too bad about grabbing a couple youngsters, they dont all make it anyway and its no different than using them for bait or eating them. Just make sure you follow the law, and if anybody asks your gonna use them for baitor eat them

As far as brook stickleback go, you dont need fast water, just cool. I catch them in big pool amongst willow moss and algae near the edge. The creek that runs into the pool is fed by a blue hole and used by the state as a trout hatchery so its good and cold all year.

Most minnows species grow large enough that they wouldnt really be in danger as long as they have some size on them before the sunfish do.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 01:57 AM
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Thanks for the help. I guess now that I've got some ideas I'll have to wait and see what I can find. Can't wait for the spring Gonna go driftwood hunting in a few days. maybe start collecting som substrate. I'll start posting pics once I start assembling everything.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 07:06 PM
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Part of what works and what doesn't will also be determined by growth rate of the species you choose. In a room temperature tank the sunfish always seem to outgrower shiners for me, and always end up eating them. You might be alright with some of those other minnows, but I can't say as I have no experience with them. Also, you will be better off to find minnows that prefer the warmer waters like the sunfish, then you won't also have to deal with two preferred temps.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2012, 07:28 PM
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Central mudminnows would do good with sunfish since they can survive more sluggish environments. They also can grow pretty large. Some leaf litter would help them survive and they are cool looking fish.


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