The Art of Seining

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Published on: Jan. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 10, 2010

like catfish, gar and sunfish, are often docile and interesting, but they quickly outgrow a small aquarium.

Darters are some of the most beautiful fishes in North America. Many darters, especially males during the breeding season, have brilliant splashes of orange, red, green and blue on the fins and over their body. Most darters are docile and display their colors by perching upon objects in the tank. The wide-spread orangethroat and rainbow darters are especially calm and attractive in aquaria. The johnny darter and logperch, also widespread in Missouri, tend to be a little nervous, but they become accustomed to living in an aquarium over time. Darters prefer live food, but most species can be conditioned to eat frozen brine shrimp and other manufactured fish foods.

Nearly 70 species of minnows live in Missouri. Minnows generally aren't as brilliantly colored as darters. Most also are energetic and move frequently back and forth across the tank. However, some minnows, such as the southern redbelly dace, are beautiful and do well in an aquarium.

The wide-spread bluntnose minnow, red shiner and redfin shiner also thrive in an aquarium. Red shiners are territorial and often chase other fish from their corner of the tank. Stonerollers, which are also wide-spread, usually do poorly because they eat algae, which is not readily available in most aquaria. Minnows will eat dry fish food and brine shrimp, making them very easy to keep.

Madtoms are small members of the catfish family and are found statewide. All nine madtom species make good to excellent aquarium specimens. Madtoms are secretive, however, and are usually seen only at feeding time or at night. They spend most of their time hiding under objects in the aquarium.

Most madtoms are uniformly colored, but some, such as the wide-spread slender madtom, has dark-fringed fins. Others, such as the Ozark and brindled madtoms, have crossbars over their backs and may appear mottled. Madtoms are voracious and will eat just about anything.

Keeping native species in an aquarium can have scientific value. Many of our native species are difficult to study and observe in their normal habitats. Scientists have learned much about the reproductive behavior of native fish simply by keeping them aquaria. Even amateur fish collectors have discovered behaviors previously unknown to science by watching native fish in a home aquarium.

Aquarium care for Native Fish

Keeping native fish alive and well in an

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