To Be Outside...SURE!
Lucania goodei...photo Brian Skidmore
It is summer time and a great time to get outside . . .
for your fish, that is. Whether you are looking to expand
fish “room” or you are moving your existing fish
outside, they will thank you for it. Now, for those of us in
Florida this time called ‘summer’ comes a bit
sooner than most of the country but just move the dates to
to your area of the world and have some fun along with me
and my fish.
In a shaded corner of my lawn next to my goldfish
pond, that’s a story in itself, I set up six twenty
gallon long tanks sometime in March. I constructed a simple
for the tanks using landscaping timbers and the large cinderblocks,
that are really very inexpensive but readily available and
the whole process went together really well.
Bruce's Outside Tanks
Click to Enlarge
The move outdoors was just what the “stork” (no-no,
not my wife) ordered for my White Cloud Mountain Minnows
(Tanichthys albonubes). Although I had spawned these fish
indoors, it was not until I moved them outdoors that I was
able to maintain the fry (and boy, are they small when they
hatch!). The fry are growing quickly, now, and the spawnings
are becoming more regular and very predictable anymore. In
another one of the other tanks I have some recently-collected
wild Mollies (Poecilia latipinna)
that have “colored
up” with beautiful light-orange bellies and several
of the females are very gravid. The third tank is filled
with many Blue-finned Killies (Lucania goodei)
that I personally collected within the past two weeks and
the ‘goodei’ are
beginning to flare and show their gorgeous red and blue coloring.
The fourth tank is filled with various sunfish that our local
club collected this spring. The fifth tank is home to more
happy killifish, Golden Topminnows (Fundulus chrysotus).
The sixth tank is filled with Brook Silverside (Labidesthes
sicculus) (ranging from 2.5” -
4.5” in length) that were never supposed to live through
the trip home after being collected a few months ago. I am
not sure what I am doing “wrong”, but they continue
to thrive and are very active in their new home. What…do
you mean you guys actually pay for your fish at a Fish Store…we
collect them down here! What a riot that is. Fifteen grown
humans all getting muddy at the same time with only one dry
person to take the pictures.
All of the tanks have clay pots and live plants and a few
have yarn spawning mops. The tanks receive enough sunlight
to keep the plants healthy and growing, but the algae is
very limited and has not yet become a problem. With 30% water
changes every two weeks the water has remained clear. The
tanks are covered with 1/2 inch metal mesh screening (also
called hardware cloth) which is available at most local home
stores. They were fabricated, using my hands and wire snips,
to fit the tops of the tanks. These sturdy screen tops keep
the leaves and twigs out, but readily let the insects and
other supplemental food in. Just this morning I went out
to find hundreds of tadpoles (a.k.a. protein snacks) swimming
in a tank. Filtration is provided by four sponge filters
(mollies, killies and white clouds) and two power filters
chrysotus...photo Brian Skidmore
The temperature in the tanks range from 78 to 86, but that
is still well below the 94+ degree F mid-day temperature
of the shallow water where the sunfish and killifish were
If you haven’t moved your fish outside yet, it is
okay to move them now. Get a move on everyone! There is still
plenty of summer left. Your fish will appreciate being outdoors
immensely, and you will love the vibrant colors, the extra
growth and quite possibly the fry that come along with being
outside. Oh, and all those bugs that are outside in the summer?
Gone...They taste great . . . for your fish that is.
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