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Any info on species? Stickleback f'    1/15/11
Is anybody familiar with the species Indostomus paradoxus? I found two of them at an LFS and couldn't resist. But, I can find very little on the internet on this fish, and it does not appear in any of my books. Any word on the proper conditions to keep it in? Right now it's just guesswork.
I have them in a 5-gallon tank shared with a small clown killie and I'm using 50% tap water and 50% RO water to keep the pH and hardness down.
Photo of the fish is attached.
<Hi Rick. Indostomus have suddenly appeared in the UK trade as well, and while little is know about their long-term care, they don't seem much different to their close relatives, the pipefish. In other words, the main issue is diet. Live foods are essential, and because these are tiny fish, that's going to be brine shrimp nauplii and very small daphnia. To some degree they'll also eat copepods and other small organisms found in mature aquaria. They aren't fussy about water chemistry -- and aiming for slightly soft to moderately hard, neutral water sounds about right. In the wild they live in stagnant pools and ditches, so air-powered filtration is recommended, probably essential given their tiny size. Otherwise these fish seem to be quite hardy and easy to keep. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Any info on species?   1/15/11
Thanks Neale,
I am using a sponge filter, so no problem there.
They are living in a fairly new setup, so I'm not sure how many organisms have developed in the tank yet, though I did add a bag of very old activated carbon that I always keep in one of my HOB filters. I have been feeding finely ground flake as well as frozen daphnia and dust from the bottom of a Tubifex worm container. I did observe one of these guys put something into its mouth, which is a little reassuring.
<Yes, but they do need more than the occasional copepod. I've heard little evidence that they consume flake, and the ones I've watched here in England do seem to be eating tiny live foods only.>
These are very timid fish and difficult to observe, though when one or (rarely) both are out they seem active as far as a fish that hides all the time can be considered active.
<Indeed. I wouldn't mix them with anything beyond shrimps, but once settled and kept in reasonable numbers, they do appear quite outgoing.>
I have some brine shrimp eggs though I've never hatched any before. My main concern is that the directions say to bring the temp up to 80F and I don't have the capability to get it over 75 (fixed setting heater) until summer when it starts getting hot here, so I'm not sure if they will hatch at 75.
<I see. Well, they should hatch; it might just take a little longer.>
I did read an account online of somebody actually breeding these (or I. crocodilus) inside pvc pipe sections, though I have no idea how reliable the account is. I dropped in a couple 3" pieces as a long-shot.
<Ah yes, they breed much like Sticklebacks so far as is know. But the fry are minuscule, and need foods such as infusoria. I dare say that in a large, mature aquarium with lots of plants and ideally some direct sunlight, there should be rotifers and copepods and other small organisms growing in sufficient quantity to rear a few fry.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Stickleback Holiday    8/6/10
Hi Do any of you have any experience keeping /rearing stickleback?
<Never kept any but do have a small amount of info on the Three Spined Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) I can share with you.>
I caught a few (three spined) in my local Cornish stream a while ago and am keeping them in an aquarium for the moment as they are very small. I am feeding with frozen bloodworm and daphnia (defrosted in warm water) and they seem to be doing well. I want to grow them to adult size and then release them into my wildlife pond. However I am going away for 10 days in just over a week, and have no idea if they will survive this long unattended. I feed them a very small amount every day.
<In the growing stage, they will require feeding. Do you know anyone who could feed them while you are away? Better yet, return them where they were found and try again when your schedule permits. As far as Stickleback info, here goes, and hopefully Neale won't cringe. They are a cool water species so a heater is definitely not required. They mature sexually at a length of about 2 inches. The majority of them live their whole lives in estuarine situations. But it are equally at home in sea water as in fresh water. <<Neale cringing here, James; the UK subspecies include strictly freshwater ones that shouldn't be kept in saline conditions.>> Their diet consists of copepods, isopods, and small shrimps, other small crustaceans, and, they are very voracious eaters likely requiring several feedings per day. They are nest builders in which the male builds a barrel shaped nest, and after spawning occurs, the male guards the eggs driving away intruders big and small. Incubation generally last 6-10 days depending on water temperature. The males will continue to guard the fry until they can fend for themselves. That is about the extent of the information I know about Sticklebacks. Bob and/or Neale may chime in on the dailies with additional info.>
Any help appreciated. Thanks.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Sticklebacks Hi. I'm tom and I was on your website and just wandered if it is possible to keep sticklebacks domestically and if so what set up and size tank are we looking at also what tank mates will they enjoy being with in a fresh water not salt water tank. <Some good info here: http://www.yptenc.org.uk/docs/factsheets/animal_facts/stickleback.html. I would check with your state's Fish and Game Department about keeping native fish. Don>

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