Join our zoo community

North American fish species kept in captivity

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Norwegian moose, 27 Jul 2016.

  1. Norwegian moose

    Norwegian moose Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    13 Feb 2013
    Posts:
    303
    Location:
    Norway
    Could anybody please provide me with a list of North American fish species which are common or reasonably common in captivity (in public aquaria and/or in the aquarium hobby)?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 May 2007
    Posts:
    5,279
    Location:
    Stoke-on-Trent England
    Chester has rainbow shiner (Notropsis chrosomus)
     
  3. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Dec 2012
    Posts:
    11,367
    Location:
    fijnaart, the netherlands
    A species which I've seen at several zoos and which is also a common pond-fish - and an allien invader in many ( European ) countries is the Pumpkinseed.
     
  4. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5 Jul 2014
    Posts:
    299
    Location:
    DM
    A complete list would be very long. The simplest answer is that the common and/or widespread species from all major North American freshwater groups are well-represented in aquariums. More localized/rare species are generally only kept in aquariums in the native country. For example, the rainbow darter is fairly regular in aquariums outside North America, but most other darters are rare or entirely absent from aquariums outside North America. The darters that have very small ranges and/or are very rare in the wild are typically also absent from North American aquariums. The same common/rare pattern can be seen in most other groups. The main groups are:

    Sturgeon.
    American paddlefish.
    Freshwater gar.
    Bowfin.*
    Trout.
    Darters.
    Mudminnows.
    Shiners.
    Yellow perch.*
    Walleye.*
    Pikes* (except the widespread northern pike, also found in Europe and Asia).
    Chub.*
    Stonerollers.*
    Suckers.*
    Topminnows.
    Freshwater sunfish (including family members known by other names than "sunfish").
    Sticklebacks.
    Ictalurid catfish.

    The star* groups are only regular in North American aquariums, but rare or entirely absent outside that region. The more common species from the star groups could be sourced without major problems, but for various reasons there just isn't much interest in them outside North America.

    In my opinion, the biggest misses from aquariums outside North America are the larger Colorado River endemics: Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker and chubs in the Gila genus. These are all interesting from an ecological, morphological and conservation point of view. Additionally, the river itself has several interesting features: Grand Canyon (carved by fast-flowing water; the fish have adaptions for fast water), dams (one of the reasons for their rarity), water usage (one of the reasons for their rarity), the connection to US history, etc. These are bred at conservation facilities in North America and local aquariums can "borrow" them (as some do), but I suspect that would be near-impossible for an aquariums outside USA.

    If you use a broader definition of "North America" (some animal guides only include Canada+USA), there are a few additional groups that are rather marginal in USA, but well-represented further south in Mexico, Central America and the Antilles. All these are kept in larger numbers in aquariums around the world, but goodeids and pupfish generally only as part of conservation projects (except the common American flagfish):

    Pupfish (a few in south USA; many south of the border).
    Cichlasomatinae cichlids (Texas cichlid in Texas; many south of the border).
    Goodeids (a few in USA; many south of the border).
    Poeciliidae livebearers (a few in USA; many south of the border).
    Characids (in Texas; many more south of the border).

    _____________________

    There are also many North American marine fish groups that are regularly kept in aquariums. Especially many Caribbean/Mexican Gulf species are common in aquariums. Some Gulf of California and Northeast Pacific species are also fairly common, such as:

    Leopard shark
    Garibaldi.
    Blue-banded goby.
    Blue-spotted jawfish.
    Rockfish.
    Sculpins.
    East Pacific angelfish.
    California sheephead.
    Surfperches.
    Kelpfish.
    Wolf-eel.
    etc.

    As in the previous, many more are kept in North America than elsewhere.

    Many marine fish species found along the Atlantic coast of USA and Canada are also found along the Atlantic coast of Europe. Consequently they are regularly kept both places. However, species that only are found along the Atlantic coast of USA and Canada are almost entirely absent from aquariums outside their native range.
     
  5. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    3,636
    Location:
    South Devon
    The most complete guide is Goldstein's book 'American Aquarium Fishes' (ISBN 978-0890968802). There is also a small paperback 'North American Native Fishes' by Schlesser (ISBN 978-0764103674). You should be able to obtain them via a good library.
    I used to own both these books, but I gave them away. The Goldstein went to the library at Chester Zoo.
    The only North American species that I have kept are the red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis), the least killifish/mosquitofish (Heterandria formosa) and the Everglades pygmy sunfish (Elassoma evergladei). Some other species are occasionally available in the UK, but I don't know the situation elsewhere in Europe. There may be legal restrictions on some species in some countries.

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 28 Jul 2016