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FAQs on Native U.K. Freshwater Livestocking

Related Articles: Freshwater Livestock by Neale Monks, Freshwater Livestock Selection by Bob Fenner, Acclimation of New Freshwater Livestock by Bob Fenner, Fishes, Amphibians, Turtles

Related FAQs:  FW Livestock 1, FW Livestock 2, FW Livestock 3, Freshwater Livestock SelectionCommunity Tank Livestocking,


Re: Native fishkeeping; Ancistrus repro    8/11/08 Hi Neale, <Silvia,> So, you live in the UK. For some reason I thought you live in America. Probably because WetWebMedia is an American site, or is it? At least I thought so. <I am not a citizen of Athens or of Greece, but of the world!> I know that Britain has some nice places with nearly Mediterranean climate. <"Nearly" being the operative word! It's perhaps better to say the UK has a climate that doesn't change much, between about 5 C in winter to about 25 C in summer, but rarely much above or below those values. So we don't tend to be as cold as Northern Europe or most of the continental USA, but neither do we get the long hot summers of, say, Australia or Southern Europe.> When I was at Uni I went there with a group of friends. It was a holiday with all sorts of weather and climates, from rain and cold to sunny and hot but we really enjoyed it. <Ah, yes, the weather is notoriously changeable. This is a factor of the "battle" between the warm Atlantic oceanic weather system (the Gulf Stream) and the cold Arctic weather system. Neither "wins" for long, and at a moments notice it can change from dry to wet. Air temperature tends not to vary much, though windy and wet weather can add a certain chill to the climate. I've lived for a few years in the American Midwest where the climate in winter was much much colder. And yet, despite temperatures of -10 C or less, it never felt as "miserable" because the air was dry and the precipitation was snow rather than rain. English winters are incredibly depressing, made worse by the short day lengths, in December barely 8 hours!> Regarding to the keeping, here you have it again. the native species are not attractive enough, or is it the exotic side of it? <Oh, we do have some lovely native fish. I have sticklebacks in my pond, and the males turn metallic green with sapphire blue eyes and bright red bellies. At university I kept coldwater marines, including a blenny known as the Shanny, and it's like a mudskipper, coming onto land when it gets too warm or just feels like a change. The problem is that there's a lack of information re: keeping Natives.> What a shame! I don't know what we have in Germany, but certainly not such a diversity in marine life. <Mainland Europe actually isn't bad. There are lots of cyprinids, many of which make excellent pets being tolerant of room temperature and relatively small bodies of water. I have some Carassius carassius in a fry-rearing tank and they're fun. Sticklebacks, killifish, small minnows, loaches, etc. can all make good pets.> And I don't know much about the freshwater side either but I remember that friends at school told me they were going to the local creeks and catching sticklebacks to keep in jars. That would be the equivalent to our rainbows here. <Pretty much, except Sticklebacks are very aggressive! Much used in behavioural experiments. Do read 'King Solomon's Ring' by Konrad Lorenz. He's the "father of animal behaviour studies" and a great fan of fish, writing at length on cichlids and sticklebacks.> I had a busy week which ended with a nice weekend. Friday night was another one of our ANGFA meetings which was again very interesting. We have such a wonderful wintertime. Sunny and warm, like 22 degrees Celsius/72 Fahrenheit (do you use Celsius or Fahrenheit in the UK?) during the day and no cloud on the sky. <Anyone below the age of 40 uses Celsius.> That always amazes me, even after 10 years. Nights are cold with only 5 degrees Celsius/41 Fahrenheit. It is such a treat to walk along the beach in the morning. Next weekend we are going up the North Coast, about 3 hours drive from our place, to fish for rainbows and such. I am not very sure about the water temperature but it seems to me we will end up with cold feet. <Sounds fun!> So far the Bristlenose has done a marvelous job. The youngsters are coming out now. The Corys laid eggs again on Friday. I did a water change on Thursday. I still use water from outside. I have a big water tank under the sails. Original it was our outdoor eating area until we build the big pavilion. Now one of the tanks is underneath and catches the rain water. It is more like a big 500 litre/125 gallon bucket with a removable lid. I get very clean water there and use it for water changes till I run out. Than I have to switch to tap water. <I also use rainwater, 50:50 with tap water to get medium hard water ideal for most tropical fish.> That is often the case in winter. The surface of the water was 22 degrees, which is the same as in the tank inside, due to the sun but further down the temperature was down to 19. For the fish it must have seem like rainy season and promptly laid eggs the day after. <Correct. Corydoras in particular use sudden changes in temperature as an indication the rainy season has started, and then spawn.> It works all the time :) <Yep. Ditto with Danios and quite a few other fish.> I didn't intend to harvest the eggs but my daughter couldn't help it. She noticed my "funny" looking female. What happened was that she hadn't closed the fins properly while laying the eggs and two were attached to a little pebble which she lifted when she took off to deposit them. The pebble stuck to the glass as well. I don't worry much about the eggs. I am sure many will not make it. But the other little kittens are all good and very busy during the day. I hope I can keep them long enough in the container and than tip them into the net with the Bristlenose kittens once I removed daddy. <Should work fine.> I am not sure that inbreeding is the only reason for the angelfish's bad parenting skills. Learning or the lack of it might be another one. Many of them are "hand-reared" on farms. I think the parenting skills are partly learned skills and partly instinct. <It's a topic of discussion among Angelfish keepers, and likely a mix of both factors. Certainly hand rearing the fry removes the selection pressure in favour of good parenting, so that dimwit parents produce just as many healthy fry as well behaved parents. So over the generations, Angelfish have lost their good parenting skills. Some aquarists do maintain that letting them "practise" a few times does the trick, but that was not my experience at all. And most other cichlids (wild caught at least) seem to get it right first time, or at least very quickly. A lot of tank bred cichlids (kribs and convicts, for example) are also very reliable. So it's complex. May well be Angels were never that smart or that good at parenting to begin with! How often do you find beauty and brains in the same body!> Cheers <Cheers, Neale.>

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