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sick sunfish named Pal     11/21/14
Hi there wwm! My coworker's dad has a very sick sunfish and I don't know how to help.
<Oh, I really like Centrarchids... very interesting behavior and many are seasonally gorgeous>
I haven't been able to find much online about sunfish care and I was hoping you could help. He inherited the poor guy a little while back and has had a crash course in the aquarium hobby. You've been an immense help to me with my saltwater babies in the past so I hope you can help with his freshwater baby. I have included his email to me with the info.
>> hi Carole, thanks for getting back to me. I'll give you the not so brief run down on whats been happening.i’ve got a 75 gal tank with 65 gal. water in it &Fluval 306 filter. my 7.5 inch green sunfish has been sick for almost 3 months. unfortunately due to lack of experience he was severely stressed by poor water quality; high ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, & ph after i got him in august. besides that i put some small minnows from the bait shop in the tank and probably introduced some bad things into the tank.
<Does happen very often, easily>
not much later he got what appeared to be velvet.i treated it with Cupramine for several weeks ,checking copper levels frequently to maintain therapeutic levels. Carbon was removed from the filter during treatment. he started to get better and then took a turn for the worse.
<Mmm; I would have followed up (still would; with the twin use of Metronidazole (in foods if eating) and an Anthelminthic (likely Praziquantel) the first for protozoan (and some bacterial) issues, the latter for worms of all kind). See WWM (WetWebMedia.com) under the name of each for details)>
all water parameters are good, tank is clean. i have removed the copper from Cupramine treatment through several 15%to 20%water changes over a period of several weeks.i’m now very careful in maintaining good water quality;ph 7.0, very low ammonia .1,
<NEEDS to be zero, zip, nada>
nitrite 0, nitrate a bit high @30 ppm.
<And this under 20 ppm. SEE WWM re both>
i add aquarium salt as prescribed on the container. currently Pals condition is not good. symptoms; will not eat, losing weight, pale coloring, lethargic, PopEye bad in one eye, the other eye is starting to bulge & has a white spot on it. 1 gill is swollen, rapid heavy breathing .he hides a lot & sits on the airstone.
<Well; a good deal of this malaise can be traced to copper exposure...>
all fins and tail are fine. i think pal is 3. 5 or 4 .5 years old. there are only 3 other small fish in the tank . they are healthy. right now i ‘m dosing the tank with MelaFix and pima fix.
<These are hokum (scams)... See WWM re if interested>
I'm sure he needs some form of anti biotic ,possibly more. any suggestions on treatment would be appreciated. thanks
<Read on! And do feel free to write us directly. Bob Fenner>

Leech eating fish 8/1/11
Good afternoon. I would like to inquire about stocking my pond with red ear sunfish or any other fish suitable to thrive in Vermont. The pond is in Southern Vermont in the Town of Weston. It is approximately 1 acre in size and is roughly 17 feet at its deepest point. It is a mature pond with a lot of wildlife. Newts, small guppy like fish, tadpoles and frogs. It is fed by a stream that runs parallel with the pond.
<Sounds a lovely natural pond.>
This season for some reason we have been seeing leeches swimming around.
<Many of which are harmless; only a few bite humans.>
They seem to live in a rust colored weed that roots itself at the edges of the pond. This weed is also new, so I think the leeches may be a result of the weed. Anyway, the pond is used constantly for swimming and I am concerned that the leech problem, if not addressed will escalate.
<May not be a problem. Remember, many leeches are predators that eat potentially pest species including mosquito larvae and snails.>
Do you think stocking the pond with red ear sunfish will alleviate the leech problem?
<Nope. If these are blood-sucking leeches, then fish will be potential prey, and the more fish, the more leeches. Plus, these Sunfish will consume the tadpoles, so frogs and newts won't be able to breed there so successfully.>
1. When is the best time to stock the pond?
2. How much do the fish cost?
3. How many will we need?
4. Will the fish eventually spawn?
Thanks in advance for the advice.
<Best to leave alone. Your pond sounds great the way it is. If you're worried, your local Fish & Wildlife may be able to identify the leeches in your pond, and if its a dangerous one, recommend a good way forward. But again, do understand that most leeches are harmless to humans. Rat urine in your pond, for example, is far more likely to pose a health threat (Leptospirosis) than leeches. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Leech eating fish 8/1/11
Thanks very much.
<You're welcome! Cheers, Neale.>

Bluegill Community tank placement help! 7/26/11
A friend of mine went fishing about a 3 months ago and caught 7 baby bluegills(that's what I think they are, I'll post pics soon)
<I do think this is so.>
and 2 3-4" Bluegills. Well he has kept them in a few buckets and changed the water 2 times a week. I'm astonished that these fish survived this treatment for so long. They all look healthy. Anyway, knowing I have aquariums he gave me all these fish (he decided not to get an aquarium for these) to me. Now I have to figure out what to do with these!
15 Gallon - 2 neon tetras, 2 Otos, 3 baby bluegills (smaller that Neons right now, will move soon)
20 Gallon tall - 1 Aggressive 3" Male Convict Cichlid
40 Gallon - 1 3" territorial Bluegill, 3 "Neon tetra sized" Baby Bluegills
45 Gallon - 2 yearling Red Ear Sliders, 1 4" Male Eastern Painted Turtle, 1 7" Male Convict Cichlid (very lazy & mellow), 1 3" Bluegill, 1 Baby Bluegill
55 Gallon - 2 8" Red Ear Sliders, 1 4" Male Convict Cichlid (aggressive)
I know eventually I'll need to move these fish to my other tanks. I'm hoping they will be able to live with the Convicts and turtles.
<Mmm, not really a good mix. I'd leave in the 40... maybe move the larger, aggressive member...>
All of my animals I have rescued from other people. Most were kept in terrible conditions. I'm trying my best to keep them all in a decent environment. I understand I really need larger tanks but money to too tight for now. I hope to replace my 55 gallon with a 75 gallon but I don't have a space to keep both the future 75 gallon and 55 gallon running at the same time.
I need advice on where to place these bluegills. Do you guys think they can coexist with a convict cichlid once they are similar sizes and with the turtles?
<Turtles are very "messy"... DO keep up w/ regular, massive (weekly, half)
water changes if you go the mixed route w/ them>
Sorry for such a long post!
<No worries>
PS: I uploaded a picture of one of the 3-4" fish. If anyone could sex it that would be great. Does anyone have an estimate of it's age?
<Likely a year or so. Bob Fenner>

re: Bluegill Community tank placement help! 7/28/11
Thanks for the speedy response. This is what I ended up doing.
15 Gallon: 1 baby bluegill, 2 neon tetras, 2 Otos (will move the bluegill once it starts to get larger, either to the 40 or 55, not sure yet. If you guys have an opinion I'd love it!)
<The Centrarchid is misplaced here. Will kill the other fishes>
Tall 20 Gallon: 1 Male Convict Cichlid 3-4"
40 Gallon: 1 3" Bluegill, 2 Baby Bluegills
45 Gallon: 2 yearling Red Ear Sliders, 1 4" Male Eastern Painted Turtle, 1
7" Male Convict Cichlid (very lazy & mellow), 1 Male Convict Cichlid 3-4"
(aggressive but not with the much larger male)
55 Gallon: 2 8" Red Ear Sliders, 1 3" Bluegill, 4 Baby Bluegills
All the tanks have extra filtration and I do Bi-Weekly 40% Water changes.
They also all have Water hyacinth (besides the 55 gallon, turtles in there eat it all) and many other plants to aid in the cleaning. All the tanks look almost crystal clear :)
<Welcome. BobF>

turtle/ fish compatibility 4/4/10
I have a red eared slider in a 55 gallon aquarium and I was wondering if I could keep some native green sunfish with him.
<Mmm, you could... with some provisos>
My turtle is now has a 4in carapace length. I know that there is a risk that they could be eaten so I am planning to get some that are the same size as my turtle.
<You'll need to have good filtration, keep up with regular maintenance (weekly partial water changes), be careful re not over-feeding the turtle, but do feed the RES regularly so it won't harass the Centrarchid unduly.
Bob Fenner>
Re: turtle/ fish compatibility -- 4/4/10

Thanks. Also, how can I make sure the sunfish get their share of food or vice versa
<Sunfish are VERY tough. I'd be feeding a good pellet food as a staple. Perhaps Spectrum brand. B>

Smallmouth bass 05/21/09
Hi guys first time on site I have a back yard waterfall with approx 5000 gallons in it I also have 4 smallmouth bass in there approx 9" to 12" they seem to be doing fine. I have been feeding them frogs, worms and feeder fish.
<Stop with the feeder fish please! I'm assuming you mean minnows, goldfish and the like; these are very unhealthy foods for predatory fish for a variety of reasons. I'd suggest you read this excellent article on thiaminase:
There's plenty of experimental evidence that thiaminase-rich foods cause problems in the long term. Do also be aware of the multiple diseases and parasites that cheap feeder fish can introduce, as outline here:
There's no reason at all to feed live fish to a predator already taking other, invertebrate foods (invertebrates generally being safer, and terrestrial invertebrates like earthworms carry just about a zero chance of bringing in diseases). Micropterus dolomieui can be adapted to take wet frozen foods (mixed seafood for example) and dedicated aquarists have weaned them onto carnivore pellets as well, probably the idea in terms of optimal nutrition, especially if augmented with frozen foods periodically.>
My question is will they mate and if so when can I expect it to happen, what can I do to stock my other pond with the right fish so it can thrive (pond is apprx 40'x40')
<Yes, the breed readily in ponds, essentially in a cichlid-like way. Your main problem will be aggression between mature males, and of course casual predation of immature fish by the adults, Centrarchids being notoriously opportunistic feeders. Males are sexually mature after 2-3 years, females slightly later. Size isn't really a good indicator because they often become stunted in ponds compared with specimens in lakes and rivers.>
and can koi live with bass
<Only if the Koi are substantially larger than the Bass, and to be honest, even then I wouldn't mix them. Their personalities are too different, and happy Koi like to be able to root about at the bottom, which will annoy the territorial Centrarchids.>
thank you frank.
<Do grab a copy of 'North American Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium' by Schleser; expect you would find it a useful read. Cheers, Neale.>

Bluegill bullies turtle 8/31/08
hello my name is Tiffani,
<Ave, Tiffani.>
I'm having a problem. About three weeks ago, I caught some sunfish at the lake and decided instead of eating them I would keep them in my 75 gallon turtle tank, where I have a painted turtle and a false map turtle.
<Ah, not usually a good combination, turtles and fish.>
When I first put them in the tank, all was well.. The fish would avoid the turtles, and the turtles could care less that they were there. My turtles have always shared a tank with fish, and since they are so bad at catching them for food, they ignore any fish they see. (oh and I guess I should mention I put three bluegill/sunfish in the tank)..
<Do remember that live fish are a minor component of the diet of most freshwater turtles; for maximum health, you should avoid using live fish altogether because of the risk of introducing parasites. Live aquatic plants, various soft vegetables and salads, plus a certain amount of meaty food items works much better.>
anyways, the fish have settled in quite comfortably, they each have their own little territory and hiding places, but the biggest fish in the tank keeps bullying my painted turtle.
<Centrarchids -- that is, bluegills, sunfish, crappies and their relatives -- are territorial fish. Or more specifically, the males are, because they guard the nest.>
My painted turtle wont swim to the other side of the tank where the bullying fish has established its territory. (my map turtle on the other hand is unaffected by the bully fish)... Every time my painted turtle tries to swim to the other side of the tank, the fish swims at him, and bites him (it doesn't hurt the turtle, but she is still frightened by him.)... what should I do?
<Nothing you can do. It's instinct, pure and simple. So pick and choose what animals you want, and remove the rest. Moving rocks about and adding plastic plants might break up the territories just long enough for the fish and turtles to accommodate one another. But there's no guarantees. Adding more fish can also prevent territoriality by making it difficult for any one fish to hold a territory: instead they spend their time figuring out the hierarchy. But this doesn't always work the way you want it to (you could get all-out war) and it'll mess up water quality too.>
should I return the bullying fish back to the lake where I got him from?
<Returning fish from captivity into the wild is certainly unwise and possibly illegal because of the risk of taking parasites/diseases into natural waterways. So you'll want to check that with your local Bureau of Fish & Wildlife. I'd simply pass the fish on to someone else with a pond or large aquarium.>
or should I just let the dummies work it out on their own?
<If no-one is being harmed, then sure, give it a few weeks or months more.>
my painted turtle had this same problem when I put a crayfish in the tank. she was afraid of it until she figured out that the crayfish was food, and gobbled him up leaving nothing but the claws. (my turtles are not small/babies so why is my painted turtle acting like such a wimp?)
<You're thinking like a human instead of a fish or turtle. Animals don't think the way we do. This turtle evolved to react to animals as being threats, food, or harmless. He doesn't know which the fish is, so reacts as if it is a threat, just to be on the safe side.>
please help me.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlid is Not A Cichlid - 04/24/2006 Hello, I recently bought 2 cichlids from Wal-Mart, which were in with the feeder goldfish, and needless to say I got them for 30 cents each. They are beginning to color up, as I put them in my tropical community tank, but my problem is, I can't identify them. The larger one is shaped like most American cichlids, such as firemouths, etc, but it is silver-grey with very faint stripes, not a convict, as that was my first thought. I do have larger tanks, if he is going to grow larger, but it would be nice to know what he is. Enclosed are two of the best pics I could get of him, as there was little light, and he is perhaps 1 inch. Hopefully you can help me i.d this fish. I am not going to bother trying to take pics of the smaller cichlid, as he is very small, and hopefully I can i.d him when he gets a little larger Thanks, Bill Day, Rome, Maine < Your new "cichlids" are actually native North American sunfish. At first they look very similar to cichlids but they are different. At this size it is difficult to determine the species.-Chuck>

Re: Cichlid Is A Sunfish 4/26/06 Thanks for responding, I am curious, however, how do you know that it is a sunfish, and not a cichlid? < I too have found these fish mixed in with goldfish and have ID them in the Baensch Aquarium Atlas Photo Index 1-5.-Chuck>

'Game fish' aquarium help 1/21/06 Hello, <Hi there> I want to first thank you for such an informative website. This one is now bookmarked. <"Book em Dan-O"> I'm setting up a 125 gal freshwater tank in our educational facility that's on a lake (yes, there are lakes in the desert-though most, like this one, are manmade!). I want to stock it with young local game fish (crappie, sunfish, small bass, shad, catfish, etc.) to show 'what's in the lake'. I start filling it next week, and I'm a little nervous about the system working the way I hope it will, since I can't seem to find a link to anyone who is successfully keeping this kind of freshwater fish. <There are such... put in the term AZA and follow...> I'm planning on using 2 Emperor 400 power filters. <Good choices> Since I'm replicating a lake, rather than a river, can I get by without a powerhead, or will I need one for circulation? <Should be able to yes... I'd have some other source of circulation, aeration on hand to apply should temperature get high...> Are two 36" Satellite Compact Fluorescent lights sufficient in a room that doesn't receive natural sunlight? <Yes> Do you recommend that I try a planted aquarium for either logistical, (i.e. dietary), or aesthetic reasons? <Yes... you and your intended visitors will appreciate this> I'm asking because I'd really rather just do fake plants and driftwood to save money on plants and additional lighting. Do I need to sterilize the driftwood (taken from the shore of the same lake as the fish) first, or just let it soak for a few weeks? <The latter... covered on WWM> I plan on running the filters for a week before introducing the fish. <Longer... and/or add a bacteria prep... Bio-Spira> Is a 1 1/2 to 2 inch depth of regular aquarium gravel ok, or do I need to add sand as well? <The gravel is fine by itself> I read in one of your articles that I should rinse old gravel in non-chlorinated water. <Chlorinated/tap is fine> If I'm going to fill the tank with tap water and then dechlorinate, isn't it ok to rinse the gravel with tap water, as well? <Yes> Where can I find information on what to feed these guys? <Mmm, a few places... NANFA is another acronym you might search/read through... re Centrarchids especially> Finally, how can I find out if there is a compatibility problem between lake fish (assuming they're all generally the same size)? <There can be definitely. Such impoundments are stocked with predator-prey relationships in mind... species/groups spawning at intervals, feeding on different sizes/age groups... basically, the larger eat the smaller... and all are aggressive to a point. Crowding lessens antagonism to a degree...> Thank you so much for your time. I hope I haven't asked so many questions that you decide not to bother with my email. ANY of these questions you could help me answer is very, very much appreciated. Amy <Better to ask. Cheers. Bob Fenner> Chilly Plec and an Ichy Bluegill? - 08/07/2005 Hi crew, <Hello, Andrew.> I have a 30 Gal tank with one 2 inch bluegill, which has ich on its tail. I've looked through your site, but couldn't find any info on salt baths as an after-the-fact treatment, <Probably because such a method is quite ineffectual.> but I've seen it mentioned briefly in some places. I don't want to add salt to the tank because the water changes would be extremely difficult. <.... Why? It's just for a couple weeks or so.> Would a salt bath be effective? <No, not really. If the fish definitely has ich, then you can be 99% certain that you have ich in the tank. Getting the parasites off the fish just to toss him back in an infected tank only stresses him enough to help him contract more.> If so, what kind/dosage of salt should I use and how long should I keep the fish in the bath? <If you wanted to put him into a clean, uninfected hospital tank after the dip, I would use water with a salinity of seawater (SG 1.022 or so) for up to five minutes. Be absolutely CERTAIN the water is of the same pH and temperature as that of his tank. Still, I don't think this is an effective or useful method at all, unless followed up by treatment of one form or another. I have only used a salt dip as a last resort for a Plec whose gills were so heavily infested that he needed relief immediately or die. I don't think it is necessary or beneficial in your case.> On a different note, I want to add a pleco to the tank for algae control and for more diversity, but I am not sure if it could deal with the temperature (as low as 65 degrees in the winter). <Just saw a talk last night on collecting fish in Argentina - there were a great many plecs in a river that was colder than that. I think it would be fine, if you're cautious.> I also am not sure that a Hypostomus (all that PetCo has) would be right for my tank because of its size. Do you have any suggested species? If so, where could I get these? <I *think* the "bulldog" or "rubberlipped" Plec is happier in cooler waters. The talk I saw did include some Ancistrus, as well, so you might look to the commonly tank-bred Bushynose. Both of these are relatively small algae eating plecs. Of course, do NOT add any fish until you're certain the ich has been eradicated, and be sure to quarantine newcomers.> Thanks, Andrew <Wishing you and your bluegill well, -Sabrina>

Bluegill with Ich 8/11/05 Hello, <Hi there> I'd like to say thanks for the previous help you've given me. I have an ich problem with my bluegill right now. Its 2" long in a 30 gal tank (only fish), and I'm using 300 gal/hr Whisper filter w/ carbon. I think it would stress my fish to raise the temp over 75 degrees, which is what I have now (the bluegill is native to US and I believe it goes to cooler/deeper water when it gets hotter but I may be wrong). <Nope, you're right... rare for this fish/species to occur in warmer water> I wanted to use aquarium salts, but I wasn't sure if bluegills could handle 1ppm of salt - <They can... if in good health> I think they should. Also, could I remove the plants in the aquarium and carbon in the filters and treat with salt in the display tank? <Probably best... and I'd use a Malachite Green product as well...> If not, can my hospital tank (and in the future, QT tank) be a 5 gal plastic tub with a sponge filter? Suggestions? Thanks in advance. -Andrew <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Perciformes... N. Am. panfish and African Cichlid cohabitation 7/24/05 Hello from ND, <Back atcha from southern Cal.> What are your thoughts on keeping a Lepomis gibbosus and Altolamprologus calvus together in a planted, sand-bottomed 54G tank? <Mmm, well the sunfish is much cooler water, but both enjoy about the same water quality...> Our natural pH around here is close to 8 - my calvus loves it and pumpkinseed sunfish are native. Both fishes seem to be hardy with respect to temperature, but the pumpkinseed prefers a little cooler water than the Tanganyikan Cichlid. <I see we agree> If they could thrive in the same water conditions, would they be too aggressive toward each other? <In a large, well-fed enough system...> Thank you for your insight! Andrew <Bob Fenner>

Green sunfish question? hi, I have a question on feeding a green sunfish. I have been researching sunfish and everyone is saying to treat pumpkin seed and bluegill as if they are cichlids, so I was wondering if I could do the same with a green sunfish. <Yes... a good comparison... all the Centrarchids (sunfish family) can be housed, maintained as if they were mainstream neotropical cichlids> I got some Wardley brand cichlid pellets and I am wondering if they will work? <Yes, should. I used this species for behavioral experiments in college... neat and beautiful fish> if you could respond to this or put it on the Q&A page that would rock <We respond directly and post all. Bob Fenner> -new to native fish

Qs re green sunfish... teach a petfish boy to read... dear sir/madam- I was wondering how much and how often to feed a 3 inch green sunfish? I just caught it and it seems to be doing well. I also would like to know how to tell if it is a male or female. If you could help me that would be great. -sunfish lover <Please read here: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=lepomis+cyanellus Bob Fenner>

From Satanta the WhiteBear - No Worms, No Fungus, No Problems - Red-eared Slider Yata-HEY! <And to you> I keep natural aquariums, but my last was many Summers ago, before I went thru renal failure, dialysis and transplant, as well as a stroke [age 35-I'm trying to see what's ahead early. ;)] <Good gosh!> At any rate I'm starting fresh with a 30. At the moment I have a Red Eared Slider - I'm no novice with turtles having three Reds, one Green and a Musk. I use river pebble as a substrate and an undergravel [1/2 tank] as well as a floss as well, if I do my job they do theirs. What else might I use as substrate to set for plants and freshwater mussels? None of that ugly technicolored stuff they sell to people with no taste please. :D. Also considering water striders or the like. Some peachy little critter that won't bite me or the other inhabitants. I want a catfish-like a mud cat and will eventually get a few sunfish. Freshwater shrimp-soon as I make it down to catch some. ;) Any other suggestions? Thanks. WB. <Do take a look at the Native Fish Association's site: http://www.nanfa.org/. Hard to keep plants with the animal's you list... but there are some substrates that are preferable... natural, coarse, and some likely local plants I'd try with this mix... Bob Fenner>

Re: No worms, no fungus, no problems... Thank you for the link-definitely a must-read for me ;ole myself. <Welcome> The plants will be the ones with the learning curve as I've kept a wide variety of animals in the past intermixed with excellent success - neon Tetras and alligator gar [[small]] and three turtles all in the same tank. <Quite a boullabaise!> I put ten feeders in with the red ear and still have eight after two months so I'm training him to ignore the live bait and eat the easy to get pellets and veggies. Thanks again for your response and the link. WhiteBear. <Again, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Strange tank stock, actually, just native N. Americans Hey guys, <Jason> I have a 55 gallon tank that I have been wanting to put wild native fish in such as largemouth bass, catfish, or blue gill. The only problem is I can't find any places that sell only one or two small largemouth bass. <Likely best to "collect your own"...> I didn't know if you guys would have any knowledge on where I could get fish that normal people don't buy to put in aquariums. By the way, I love your site, I've learned lots of good info on it. -Jason, Tn <Mmm, maybe the folks at NANFA can be of assistance here: http://www.nanfa.org/ There are restrictions in many places (and for good reasons) on moving, shipping natives (for fear of their being released)... and I should say that a fifty five is smallish for such a proposed stock mix... But also want to state that natives are very interesting, beautiful and make for fabulous displays. Do contact the Native Fish folks... Bob Fenner>

Bluegill Tank Hi guys, I have 2 bluegill (one is 3 in. and the other is 1.5 in.) in a 30 gal tank with a Whisper 300 gal/hr filter. I have some pennywort, a Java fern, and a swordplant. My main problem right now is that the small bluegill has tail rot from pretty bad water conditions (the tank was left with a neighbor - a bad idea). I've cleaned the tank with a 75% water change and I've replaced one of the two filter cartridges. Will the bluegill recover and/or is there anything else I can do to speed the process up? <These centrarchids are TOUGH! It will very likely recover fine... with just good water quality, feeding and time going by... You've done a good job of relating the set-up and plants... and I would NOT place salt/s, medications in this system... due to the very real possibility of loss of biological filtration, death of the greenery as a consequence> Also, I have a problem with a mat of algae that grows in about a week (I suspect it is blue green Cyanobacteria). Would introducing ghost shrimp, freshwater mussels, or more plants help with algae and keeping my tank more clean? <The shrimp may well become food, but yes, all these are reasonable control approaches> Also, I would like to introduce more fish to the system to get more of a community tank (or at least a bottom feeder), but I can't get too much info on bluegill. Are they too aggressive for other fish? Could you suggest any coldwater fish that I could add? Thanks, Andrew <They are aggressive... and unfortunately your tank is too small to add other fishes... otherwise, there are some other great native fishes (darters, minnows...) that I'd suggest... it might pinch all your plants to bits, but adding a crawdad species, specimen or two would add a great deal of interest... Bob Fenner> Native Freshwater fish Hey Bob, I have some questions concerning possibly keeping some species of native fish. The species that come to mind are bluegills, perch, crappie, and the like. <Ahh, the centrarchids on parade! Gorgeous, hardy to the extreme and very interesting behaviorally> My question is about water. I recently was in the hobby of marine fish tanks, so I have the fishkeeping experience. I understand saltwater well, but get a little iffy on freshwater. Is it more feasible to use RODI water to keep these native fish, or tapwater? <Almost in all cases tap. They like hard alkaline water by and large.> I'm not too sure on the conditions these fish are more suited to, with regards to the water I should give them. <Take a look on fishbase.org re their common names... you'll see some good/great info. on natural conditions> I want to try and replicate their natural environment, and the pH and hardness/softness of the water is the one thing I am not sure about. Resources on this topic are pretty limited, so I thank you in advance. Joe <Really? Limited? There should be some native fish sites... is NANFA not have a URL? Let's see: http://www.nanfa.org/ Read on my brother. Bob Fenner>

Wild fish in tank Hi Crew, Thanks so much for the help you have already given me! I have a freshwater tank with two fish. I thought they were both bluegills, but I now think one might be a bass, as it refuses to eat pellets and it has a darker coloration than the other one which I know is a bluegill. <Very different fish. A young large mouth bass will have a very dark line along it's length. Also a longer shape then the round Bluegill. How big are they? How long have you had them?> What should I feed this carnivorous fish until it's old enough that I can tell if it's a bluegill or bass? <In nature bass and bluegills eat worms, insects and other fish. Large bass will eat anything that can fit in it's mouth. Including frogs and ducklings. Please do not offer feeder fish unless you QT them first to ensure they are healthy.> I'm currently cutting up nightcrawlers but that is extremely time consuming as its mouth is pretty small <A bluegill will have a rather small mouth, but a bass's mouth is as large as it head.> and I don't have that much time every day. <Are they large enough to take smaller garden worms whole? A diet for large cichlids should work. It may take some time for him to take "unnatural" foods like pellets and flake.> Also, I have two forms of algae in my tank: green hair algae and a brownish algae. The brown algae grows everywhere, but the hair algae only grows on my plants (Amazon sword, java fern, and pennywort). Oddly enough, on the areas of the pennywort that are under direct lighting, neither algae grows. <The pennywort is growing faster than the algae. Increased light coupled with clean water will help. Increasing the light without lowering the fish waste will result in increased algae growth.> What should I do to control this? I can't find anything on freshwater brown algae, only on brown algae in marine tanks. <How long has the tank been set up, and what size? What kind of filter are you using? Do you test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? If not, please start. Both bass and bluegills are messy eaters and need heavy filtration and frequent water changes. The hair algae is usually the result of overfeeding. The brown is normal in a new, uncycled tank. Both are best controlled by keeping the water pristine. You may need to remove the leaves that are spouting hair algae.> Thanks again, Andrew <Don>

Starting Up American natives tank Hi, <Hello there> I am just starting up a new 30 gallon tank and I wanted to put in two pumpkinseed and a few chub. I have a Whisper Power Filter Model 3 with two Bio bags which has a filtration rate of 300 gallons per hour. I was wondering if this was enough filtration, and how often I should change the water. <Should be enough filtration, though I might add a "mechanical aerator" (an airstone and pump) for aeration, circulation as well. I would develop and stick to a "five gallon bucket" or so water change every week... siphoning the gravel at this time... and replacing the removed water with the same volume stored from the week previous (tapwater is likely fine here)> Also, if I keep live plants like Elodea, should I use gravel (what size?) or sand or a combination? Thanks for your help, Andrew <Look for a coarser grade (eighth inch diameter nominal or greater) of "natural gravel"... good for your plants, fishes, and maintenance. Bob Fenner>

New Native Fish Tank Hi, I was starting a 30 gallon tank and I wanted to keep two pumpkinseed <One of my fave centrarchids... a beautiful species> and a few other small fish. I am using a Whisper Filter Model 3 and was wondering if that was enough. I also wanted to know if using light colored gravel (as opposed to dark gravel) made that much of a difference. In regards to the lighting, are there any 24" bulbs that would be suitable for some java ferns, elodea, and water sprite (anywhere from 60 to 90 watts)? <You will do well to check the local fish stores here... particularly ones that deal in marine/reef systems... there are some "boosted" output fluorescents (called high output and compact fluorescents...) that will work here... though, for the types/species of plants you list, "normal" or standard fluorescents (at nominally 20 watts for a two footer) will do fine. Bob Fenner>

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