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I'm in midwest ohio and I'm looking to purchase other minnows other than just fatheads. I'm trying to put together a forage base that may survive and sustain themselves in my future HSB, YP, RES pond. I'm willing to be patient and really get a good forage base going. I've heard good things about mosquito fish, but less good things about GSH? Only things I can find locally are FHM and GSH, anyone have any recommendations near me?

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Tyler, can't really help on locale, but a couple species that Bill Cody has suggested in the past have been spotfin shiners and bluntnose minnows.

No experience with mosquito fish, but have read both good and bad things. The only real bad thing I've read is the niche they occupy in the water column. They tend to stick around the surface and shoreline, avoiding some predation, especially if there's cover. I'll wait for someone with experience with them to weigh in.

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I caught some gambusia out of a local marsh when my pond was filling. Started with a couple dozen. Now have thousands.

From my observations, they make good forage for young yellow perch. When the light starts to get low in the evening the small YP
start showing up in the shallow water. They move so slowly it's hard to tell that they're moving at all, then boom, GAM down the hatch.

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Originally Posted by tylerd1994
I'm in midwest ohio and I'm looking to purchase other minnows other than just fatheads. I'm trying to put together a forage base that may survive and sustain themselves in my future HSB, YP, RES pond. I'm willing to be patient and really get a good forage base going. I've heard good things about mosquito fish, but less good things about GSH? Only things I can find locally are FHM and GSH, anyone have any recommendations near me?

Your in spotfin and bluntnose country.

https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=520

https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=620

Gams are a naturalized invasive according to NAS but I do wonder if their judgment is correct. I would think they would be native in any watershed flowing into the Ohio River. Whatever the case, you may want to see if Ohio has any restrictions for stocking or transporting them. If allowed they would be a good addition. Augie's mention of how a few become thousands has been my experience too. They are prolific but do not attain high standing weights (maybe 60 to 80 lbs/acre generally when they are in good numbers). But don't let this fool you. They reproduce all Summer long and individuals less 1" in length grow by more then 10% of body weight each day. So 60 lbs could stand 6 lbs of cropping each day and maintain their standing weight. That's more than twice the dry weight protein people typically feed when having a feed regimen. So they really good for fish that make use of small minnows. I see fish taking Gams where up to several times a minute I see a spray of minnows trying to evade predators. If you have pond weeds in the margins they will do much better.

https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=846


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Janah's Aquarium usually has a variety of good species, they are not cheap but that's about the only place I've found selling SFS.
http://www.jonahsaquarium.com/

If you have the time, catching and sorting from local wild sources is a lot of fun and you'll ensure you have species well adapted to your local conditions. Plenty of care needed with sorting and checking/removing parasites though.

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Spotfin shiner and bluntnose minnow are available in northwest Ohio. Nov-Dec 2021 Pond Boss Magazine has an article by Mark Cornwell about using mudminnows as possible forage fish which I think is a good option. However those would have to be collected locally. If in or close to Wisconsin Gollon Bait sells mudminnows.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/12/21 08:27 PM.

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Thanks Bill,

Do you happen to have a name of the place that sells spotfin or bluntnose? Or do I need to go catch them? smile

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Our Member Snipe operates operates an fisheries enterprise in KS and cultures BNM. He might be able to ship to your location if finding local source is problematic. The combination of SFS & BNM is a very good one considering the BNM are going to forage the bottom areas and the SFS are going to forage midwater predominately. These two need good spawning substrate to perform best. Their prime spawning substrate is very specific .


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If you've got virgin water and are patient to introduce predators, you can get a lot done with several dozen of a species of minnow, so shipment is a good part of the plan.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
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What are the practical differences in bluntnose as forage vs fatheads?


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
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Originally Posted by CityDad
What are the practical differences in bluntnose as forage vs fatheads?

FHM are a better culture species for the minnow trade due to increased fecundity and tolerance to poor water condition.

The bluntnose, at least anecdotally seems to be more resistant to fish predators. For example, our member snipe has reproduction in his pond. He stocked the bluntnose after his predator fish were already of notable size. So this is a good sign. It may be they can supply forage on an ongoing basis in situations where FHM would be extirpated. Bluntnose are a northern minnow that would probably underperform in Florida.


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I've found (at my place) the BNM are out-producing the FHM for some reason-maybe a stronger more proficient feeder, not sure, but they darn sure hold their own.

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I have also found that the BNM have always been very prolific. After 3 years BNM outnumber the FHM in my FHM/BNM forage pond.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/08/21 08:34 PM.

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It makes sense that it is stronger species that might takeover prime reproduction sites when competing directly with FHM. Also makes sense that when in tandem under limited feeding they would displace FHM. There is plenty of information out there for anyone interested in researching the differences.


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Quote
Do you happen to have a name of the place that sells spotfin or bluntnose? Or do I need to go catch them?
. If you are in Ohio BNM and spotfin are very common fish in streams where good numbers as broodstock can be easily collected by seining and / or trapping. PM me for options. These species are not raised by fish farms. There is one public place that sells these for aquarium use/trade; although they are expensive as in $4-$5 each. Higher quanities and if picked up on site are a little cheaper. I think his prices maybe include shipping???? Contact them for prices and availability. Those high prices give one an indication of their availability and rarity. http://jonahsaquarium.com/jonahsite/fishlist.htm
There is a small farm in NW Ohio that sells spotfins although the SFS pond is in transition due to a GSF invasion and no SFS will probably be sold until fall 2022. This farm does not ship fish due to fish virus restrictions and testing requirement of the Great Lakes region.

IMO my experience so far, if the pond has predators other than YP, I think BNM and SFS are not a good long term forage fish unless the pond has lots of submerged and marginal weed habitat. In a pond this usually amounts to 25-35% or more of the pond bottom or shoreline having dense habitat. Few pond owners will tolerate this much good weed habitat. Think about the amount of weed growth the surrounds high quality fisheries in natural lakes. BNM and SFS need lots and lots of underwater weed type habitat to survive any amount of normal bass, HSB and WE predation. I discovered WE choose mostly the large breeder SFS.

All the minnow types of FHM, BNM, and SFS have relatively small maximum sized adults that significantly struggle to survive a common presence of predators larger than 12-14". When you loose the large breeders the population is soon to be eliminated as evidenced by FHM in ponds. Golden shiners serve as better long term soft rayed forage than these smaller minnows when common bass predation is present. More study needs to be done in private ponds with uncommon forage such as lake chubsucker, mudminnows, steelcolor shiner, alewife(landlocked 3"-6"), and even the exotic invasive round goby (4"-8"). I know of a YP-WE pond that now has the round goby invader. Time will tell the rest of this story.

If the pond is mainly for growing bass or CC then the various sunfishes and YP are very good forage fishes that also serve well as guests to dinner.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/09/21 05:48 PM.

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Gold, Dr. Perca. Thank you.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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tylerd1994

I'm also in Ohio and looking to not pellet feed, i.e., build or restock forage as necessary but within limits! eek So, in this forum I found a great reference source on finding locations to trap or 'collect' forage fish and their eggs.


So let's say your pond is in Greenville, Ohio 45331 is the important bit.

Go here and plug (your) zipcode into the Watershed: http://fishmap.org/watershed.html
- note some zipcodes have multiple watersheds so all you do is click on a watershed until the you have the one where your pond is located.
[Linked Image]



From there you find your watershed by clicking one after the other until your map comes up with your pond.
[Linked Image]




Once you have that up, you can look below it and if every species of finfish observed is listed by common name. Simply scroll down to the species you're interested in and click it.
[Linked Image]

Click that species.... it brings up all observations and breaks that into native, historic and introduced.
[Linked Image]



Zoom into your watershed and the locations where it's been documented by whom and when shows up.
[Linked Image]



Select a location and zoom in.... It shows, usually a common access area to possibly put a trap or egg collection up. The intersection of Holler Rd. and West Branch Greenville Creek
[Linked Image]


You can bet I'll be doing this as I found access to a stream that has populations of both SFS and BNM.

Be well...

Last edited by Stressless; 12/09/21 07:01 PM.

8 Ponds in Mid-East Ohio, three streams that merge to 1.

Fishbowl Pond - 1.5 acre, family swimming hole, 22'
Figure 8 Pond - 1.25 acre, 12'
Crescent Pond - 2 acre 11'
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Thanks, Stressless!

That appears to be a great resource. Hopefully some members can chime in on its accuracy.

I plan on trapping in my creek this spring to determine the native forage population.

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Rod, let me know sometime when you start catching minnows and I'll come down and we'll try to do some ID work.
Have a good size tank ready to support the catch. I'm guessing the number of species in your area will be many.

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Kenny,

Will do.

I need to get better/more efficient at catching them!

Do you think I can keep some in aquariums with bubblers, or that will not work well for stream-adapted species?

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Success of keeping some caught - collected creek minnows in aquariums depends on the fish species, what you have available to properly feed it and your ability to maintain good healthy water quality in the aquarium. Numerous stream minnow species can be kept in the aquarium. Not to over crowd them and maintain good water are very important items for success. Knowledgeable and careful aquarium guys can even get numerous minnow species to spawn in the aquarium. Snipe got spotfins and I think red shiner to spawn in his aquarium. FHM easily will spawn in an aquarium. Some stream minnow shiner species have specific needs to spawn in an aquarium habitat. Moving good water quality is paramount. There should be good information of how to do it on the internet of how to maintain lots of different minnow species in an aquarium. Know the fish's needs then imitate those needs. Lots of the stream shiner species will not spawn in a still water pond.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/13/21 09:48 AM.

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Originally Posted by Stressless
tylerd1994

I'm also in Ohio and looking to not pellet feed, i.e., build or restock forage as necessary but within limits! eek So, in this forum I found a great reference source on finding locations to trap or 'collect' forage fish and their eggs.


So let's say your pond is in Greenville, Ohio 45331 is the important bit.

Go here and plug (your) zipcode into the Watershed: http://fishmap.org/watershed.html
- note some zipcodes have multiple watersheds so all you do is click on a watershed until the you have the one where your pond is located.
[Linked Image]



From there you find your watershed by clicking one after the other until your map comes up with your pond.
[Linked Image]




Once you have that up, you can look below it and if every species of finfish observed is listed by common name. Simply scroll down to the species you're interested in and click it.
[Linked Image]

Click that species.... it brings up all observations and breaks that into native, historic and introduced.
[Linked Image]



Zoom into your watershed and the locations where it's been documented by whom and when shows up.
[Linked Image]



Select a location and zoom in.... It shows, usually a common access area to possibly put a trap or egg collection up. The intersection of Holler Rd. and West Branch Greenville Creek
[Linked Image]


You can bet I'll be doing this as I found access to a stream that has populations of both SFS and BNM.

Be well...


Thanks so much for this!

I sourced a few BNM spots nearby to me I'll have to give a try this summer

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Kenny,

Will do.

I need to get better/more efficient at catching them!

Do you think I can keep some in aquariums with bubblers, or that will not work well for stream-adapted species?


Hopefully Snipe will chime in. I, like Bill Cody, don't think that "just a bubbler" will allow you to "keep them in an aquarium" for any length of time without filtration due to the water quality degrading. You'd have to set up the aquarium "like an aquarium". I know of a guy that has a large saltwater tank, and he has a circulating current set up in it. Water flows in one side, out the other, through the clarifyer and filter, and back in. The whole back half of the aquarium is live rock. The aquarium is about 8 feet wide, 2 1/2' tall and about 2 1/2 to 3 feet thick.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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Thanks esshup.

I phrased that question poorly.

Yes, I meant to set up the aquarium like a "proper" aquarium arrangement, yet below the level of a tank aquaculture system.

I meant to ask if stream-adapted minnows would survive/thrive in a correctly maintained aquarium.

I just wanted to keep a few in an aquarium to observe feeding behaviors, breeding behaviors, etc. I assume feeding will work to some degree. Breeding will be problematic outside their preferred conditions, but who knows what I will observe.

I agree with you that the "live" saltwater tanks are awesome. However, the set up and maintenance on some of those is about equal to a small pond!

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FishinRod, I believe you can do exactly what you are wanting to do, BUT you might have to set up the water into and out of the tank to create a meandering stream like water flow from one side to the other. Try it without and see if you observe the breeding behavior like you are expecting!


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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