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Old 27th April 2008, 09:00   #1
jwrage
 
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Default Coldwater British Fish In The Aquarium

Hi all,
Recently I have been thinking of some unique setups/biotypes and then It dawned on me that there could be one right under my nose. What about a native British coldwater setup? I have never heard of such a thing which makes me think it may not be a good idea, if any of you foresee any potential problems with this what would they be? What sort of coldwater fish are native to Britain? My knowledge on British rivers/lakes are limited and I have no idea what lives in them but would be interested to find out - I've never been fishing but I suspect those of you who have may be able to help. I suspect most fish will be to big and another problem may be that they are protected/endangered species and not available in the aquarium trade.

I hope this idea doesn't seem too stupid.

Kind Regards
James
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Old 27th April 2008, 17:46   #2
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If you can get hold of them sticklebacks might be nice in the tank and don't grow too big. Most native fish which are commonly available in stores have a habit of growing to half a metre or more. Some like sturgeons (which are commonly available in stores) grow to massive sizes (up to 5m in the case of certain local species of sturgeon).
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Old 27th April 2008, 19:59   #3
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stiklebaks are about the only aquarium suitable species. Perch may be? Or roach i think. depends on the size of the tank in all honesty.
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Old 27th April 2008, 23:16   #4
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There's loads of British species: stickleback, gudgeon, minnow, bullhead/millers thumb. These all grow to about 3 inches max and can be collected from the wild (subject to regulations). Sticklebacks are territorial and can be very aggressive, especially between males when mating. I once heard of one that lived in a tank on a windowsill and went nuts every time the postman came in his red van as he thought it was a rival male in mating colours.

Gudgeon are very attractive but don't confuse them with immature barbel which can grow to 12lbs! Gudgeon only have 2 barbules whereas barbel have 4. Minnow are fairly ok but bullheads can be carnivorous with smaller fish so are best kept alone.

Please don't try to keep roach, rudd, dace, perch etc. as they may only be small but they need a lot more space than the average tank can provide as all are fast moving shoaling fish and dace especially need fast flowing water, also if they outgrow the tank I'm not sure of the legality of returning them to the wild, even though they're native species.

I love the idea of a native British tank and have raised it before on this forum but it didn't seem to raise much interest!
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Old 28th April 2008, 04:04   #5
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I would suggest that most of these fish would like fast moving water, sticklebacks for certain as they often grow in small streams.

I think a British biotope would be great.
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Old 28th April 2008, 04:54   #6
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I know that several anglers have followed up their interest in fish and kept freshwater British species in aquariums. Almost invariably though these seem to have been either short term projects or involved very large tanks and massive water flow.

Apart from the physical size of most native species there is the problem of keeping the water cool in an indoor aquarium. One of the outdoor type available at garden centres might be an idea. But unless it is very carefully sited I can foresee all sorts of problems occurring with them.
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Old 28th April 2008, 15:37   #7
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Thanks for the response. I suspect that I will probably stick to a tropical setup, but it is interesting to know it is possible and I will continue to research the area. Funnily enough there is a poster of native British fish in one of the science labs at school.

Thanks for the reply
James
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Old 28th April 2008, 16:55   #8
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Really just to reinforce Oldynewby's comments - British natives are excellent subjects for a biotope but you must restrict yourself to the minor species, which I define as those species whose adult size is normally under 6 inches. I'd add to the list stone loach, spined loach (quite a rarity), 9-spine sticklebacks and bleak. Given simple requirements of cool, moving water and a reasonably spacious aquarium they not difficult to keep.
If this forum is anything to go by there does seem to be a small but growing interest in our native fish fauna. As they can be frustratingly difficult to obtain I think it would be a good idea if fellow enthusiasts could flag up if they see any for sale at their lfs or know of any private sources. . I'll start right now ! At the weekend Cheshire Waterlife had stone loach (I bought a dozen) and 3-spine sticklebacks . Apparently they brought them in from the Czech Republic. How ironic.
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Old 28th April 2008, 18:57   #9
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I don't think its completly legal to remove fish from their natural habitat, I fish now and again and I know it says on the back of the license that the only coarse fish ie roach, bream etc. you can take is pike for eating up to 4Kg. You may be able to buy these captive bread from somewhere though.

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Old 29th April 2008, 05:23   #10
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There is a substantial trade in the larger native species for club and commercial fishery stocking. These include the various types of orfe and carp which are often found in garden centres for general sale. But moving fish from anything other than a commercial breeder into natural water or from one natural water to another definitely requires a licence from DEFRA. This includes the dumping of unwanted ornamental fish into the nearest bit of water, which happens all to often.
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