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Keeping Native Fish As Pets?

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I have an old 55 gal aquarium with filter, lights, heater, etc. And i have been thinking about possibly keeping a native fish. I have bluegill in mind since they wont outgrow their tank and i can literally walk across the street and catch one. I've done plenty of research and am seriously considering it. Any tips from people with experience?

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I use to do it. Bluegills will do well if they are by themselves. They will kill everything else. I had two baby sturgeon in the tank and the gills sucked their eyeball out. Drum do real well in an aquarium and will eat regular fish food . Crawdads do good too but they will stalk and kill other fishes except the bluegills , who will wait until the crawdad molts and kill it. Crawdads will also climb out  if given the opportunity .Only one crawdad can be in the tank because they will eat each other .Every single time you introduce fish you will also introduce parasites and have to treat the tank . Channel cats and bullheads do well. Crappie will not adapt to aquarium life at all. Bass will but you have to feed them minnows . Its difficult to have a community. I ended up with  an aquarium full of minnows . I had top minnows , shiners and other native spaces.  I couldnt keep darters because they required live food . I used a seine and collected minnows out of clear spring fed creeks .

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I use to have a flathead catfish in an aquarium. He was 4" long when I found him inside a tire I pulled out of the lake and nearly 3 pounds when I released him back into the lake. It was an awesome fish and an amazing predator. I had to feed him live fish, which he ate a ton of. I also had a softshell turtle about 3" across at the same time. They didn't get along but neither were big enough to do the other much harm. The flathead did slam the turtle into the glass a few times when it tried to burrow under the flathead's log though. I had some baby longnose gar as well. They're eating machines but did not survive well. Green sunfish are probably the easiest to keep but will also find any opening in the top of the tank to jump out.

 

Of course make sure to check that it's legal in your state and remember that you still have to follow length limits, even though you aren't eating them.

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With the little tank experience I have, what I did learn is make sure the fish you place in the tank will play nice with each other. I forget the name of the fish I had once, this individual fish was notorious of literally running fish out of the tank. Next morning, we would find fish lying on the floor. Crazy stuff. Good luck. 

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I'm glad this forum got started, I was planning on getting a 60 gal next year and doing the same thing. Any tips on successfully adding native plant to the tank?

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They tend to stink up the place. I had a 25 gallon tank with small blue gills. I think the hard swimbaits from eBay in a glass tank suspended would be better?

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Btw my cousin put bass in with large goldfish in a 75 gallon tank. Each morning one prize gold fish was missing. Then there was none. The bass were released fat n happy, happy.

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I honestly just wanted to have 1 bluegill lol. The ones at my across the street lake are HUGE! I'll be lucky to catch one under 10 inches and i don't want a crowded tank.

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55 gallon seems to small... I had a 225 gallon home made and had 2 largemouth in it and it still seemed go small. I think a 125 for a couple bluegill would be ok. 55gallon to small, also bluegills tend to school so a lone bluegill would be stressed.

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When I was teaching, I had a classroom aquarium with one bluegill/green sunfish hybrid. "Barbie the Bluegill" lived for 4 years in my classroom of 5th graders. She was able to eat both live and manufactured food. She grew to a nice big size, then I had to let her go after I got a new job in a new city.

 

Her is a picture of her when I first put her in, she gained her color back quickly, and she was very colorful most everyday. 

 

704256_526860091732_1019182399_o.jpg

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Sunfish were easy to keep; Green sunfish were colorful and ate anything .

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Years ago I had 2 Gators [i live in Fla] named Big Al and Cosmo.

We kept them in a 55 gallon fish tank that I set up to look like the everglades.

 

One time I got cute and tried to feed Big Al, who was the bigger of the 2, a piece of hot dog from my hand.

He lunged and caught my index finger, as I pulled back his teeth scraped the top from my nuckle to the fingernail.

 

You should have seen the look on the nurses face when I told her how it happened, she giggled as she started to prepare a tetnous shot.

 

After they got a little bigger, I gave both to the biology dept of a local college who were glad to have them

 

I miss those guys.

 

 

 

 

Mike

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Of course make sure to check that it's legal in your state and remember that you still have to follow length limits, even though you aren't eating them.

No intent to side-track here... but I'll be damned if that isn't a $%!*ing travesty. A man can't even raise a tank of fish caught from across the street - for eating or entertainment or whatever- in the privacy of his own home without worrying about Big Brother's jackboot kicking down his door.

 

To the OP, I'd go with Bluegill. I wouldn't want a strictly carnivorous fish in there.

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I used to be a fish tank enthusiast so you're in luck. The best thing to remember is 3-5 gallons per 1" of saltwater fish and 1 gallon per inch of freshwater fish. So... You could keep 55 inches of fish in your 55 gallon tank. Remember this is just a guide. And do your research to see if certain fish are compatible.

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And obviously you wouldn't want a 55 inch Muskie in your tank...

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I keep occaisional small bass around and have to release them when they grow too big

they grow pretty fast and sure do eat alot..

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No intent to side-track here... but I'll be damned if that isn't a $%!*ing travesty. A man can't even raise a tank of fish caught from across the street - for eating or entertainment or whatever- in the privacy of his own home without worrying about Big Brother's jackboot kicking down his door.

 

To the OP, I'd go with Bluegill. I wouldn't want a strictly carnivorous fish in there.

Have to disagree with you there. Go fish most any body of water in southern Florida and you'll see why keeping fish you've caught in an aquarium isn't always the best idea. Those canals are like a tropical fish store because people keep fish in their aquariums until they're too big to keep and then dump them. Not saying that most folks with a fully functioning brain would do that, but there's lots of people out there playing without a full deck that don't think about little things like the repercussions of their actions. 

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maybe you could grow a trophy bass

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Could trout work?

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Could trout work?

doing trout right could get expensive. They recommend a chiller, as trout like cold water, and good current as well as some slack water. You also have to watch pH levels more closely. Trout are a beautiful fish, but they are very delicate and can be hard to take care of. I've never done it myself, but that is what I've gathered from all of my research. This'll all cost a lot, by the way. A cheap chiller is ballpark 400 bucks. Bass and sunfish are good tank options because they are much tougher than some species.

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for my tank build, if it ever happens, I was thinking of trying yellow perch. nice and small, yet very communal fish and some nice colors, as well.

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Could trout work?

 

way too expensive. They would need a flowing current, chillers, little pools of water etc. Will cost you at least 1000$ to get the whole thing off the ground lol

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