The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pregnant fish and massive tadpoles

Green frog tadpole

The goats and I headed to the creek Sunday afternoon to find more life to add to my aquaponics setup. The first catch came in the still waters of our so-called alligator swamp. (No, there are no alligators in southwest Virginia.) Two overwintering Green Frog tadpoles were easy to scoop up and are definitely big enough that they won't get eaten like the baby Wood Frog tadpoles did. After all, these tadpoles are bigger around than their neighboring fish!

Two dace

Native aquariumSpeaking of fish, I doubled our school with two more scooped out of the same spot in our smaller creek. Without knowing their species, it's tough to find much definitive information online. But if they're anything like Longnose Dace, then I have two juveniles (with firm dark lines down their sides) and two adults.

I have a feeling that Rae might be right and the big-bellied adult is a pregnant female. If so, we'll just have to hope the other adult is a male since dace apparently fertilize eggs externally after they're laid. No males in sight would mean no babies. Maybe I'll get lucky and catch the mating dance in action?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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If you do have a pregnant female, with a male near by, you'll need to add some floating protection for when the fry hatch. Water lettuce/cabbage, has long roots the fry hide in, to avoid the rest of the fish in the tank, who want to eat them.

I did this when I had zebra fish. They would actually fertilise the eggs near the floating plants, so when the eggs hatched, the fry had immediate protection. If we didn't have this floating protection, the rest of the zebra fish in the tank, would have eaten them.

If you cannot find something from the local creek, an aquarium or pet shop should sell a floating plant of some variety. These floating plants also help take up excessive nitrates, which could be dangerous for the fish. In my experience, they grew and multiplied rapidly (the plants) which I rectified by dumping as much as I needed to, in the compost.

Comment by Chris Tue Mar 7 21:30:25 2017
Great pictures Anna! I showed them to Jedd and now he is super excited for his minnow pond. ("You mean you CAN keep minnows as pets?!?")
Comment by Kayla Tue Mar 7 23:03:59 2017

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