Fish ID please

Katie993

Any idea what these are? I’m torn between round gobies and a type of sculpin. Found in a small creek in southern Indiana at my parents farm. I’m hoping they’re a type of sculpin because round gobies just get too big and I’ll have to figure out something to do with them. They have some beautiful coloration. It’s just really hard to get a good pic against the sand. Super active and pretty aggressive. I had a few shiners in with them that were caught in the same area but that didn’t work out very well. They have left the darter alone though. I’ve already quarantined, treated for internal parasites, and watched for any other signs of problems for at least a couple months. They took to frozen food right away but I did fling it into the water for the first week or so to make a splash and catch their attention. There’s two and they have slightly different coloration but could be male and female. They stay pretty close together.
 

MonsterGar

Cottus bairdii, the freshwater sculpin. I am assuming you found it in freshwater, or could it have possibly been a brackish water creek? I am not sure if there are other freshwater sculpin species.

Most freshwater goby species actually stay small (1-5 inches).
 
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Katie993

Cottus bairdii, the freshwater sculpin. I am assuming you found it in freshwater, or could it have possibly been a brackish water creek? I am not sure if there are other freshwater sculpin species.

Most freshwater goby species actually stay small (1-5 inches).
I think it’s freshwater. I don’t think there are any brackish creeks in Indiana... I could be wrong though. If there are brackish water creeks, I can go test it. it would be awesome if they stayed fairly small! I’ve really grown quite attached to them! Are they both the same then? The one with more distinct bands has an almost yellow tail also. The other is quite dark. Do you have any care info for them? They seem to be happy with how I have them set up right now other than maybe some more space. They’ll be upgraded soon now that I know they’re not going to get huge. I tried to set up the tank similar to where I found them, even pulled leaf litter and rocks from that area. I haven’t been able to find much about keeping them in the aquarium.
 
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MonsterGar

Ok, so yes it is definitely some type of freshwater sculpin, most likely the one I named above. According to google, they get about 5 inches long, so 4-7 inches is probably the minimum and maximum ranges of their size. Apparently they eat insects, insect larvae, and crustaceans. Although it says they will eat small fish and fish eggs too.

A very unique and cool fish to keep. You are lucky to have them. I could only imagine breeding them. If you do successfully breed them than that would be awesome.
 
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Katie993

That would be so cool! They’re very interesting to watch. I just found an article that gives a bit of info on keeping them. Apparently, they bite and drag females to nest caves and block them in while they gather other females and then spawn with all the females they’ve caught. Pretty odd spawning behavior. I might have to test it out. It did say that live food is a must for them. Maybe I’ve got something pretty cool going on. Mine eat frozen food readily.
Here’s the article I found in case you’re interested.

The Mottled Sculpin (Cottus bairdi), by Luther Brown
 
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richiep

That is called a rock goby in the uk but ours are salt water
 
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MonsterGar

That would be so cool! They’re very interesting to watch. I just found an article that gives a bit of info on keeping them. Apparently, they bite and drag females to nest caves and block them in while they gather other females and then spawn with all the females they’ve caught. Pretty odd spawning behavior. I might have to test it out. It did say that live food is a must for them. Maybe I’ve got something pretty cool going on. Mine eat frozen food readily.
Here’s the article I found in case you’re interested.

The Mottled Sculpin (Cottus bairdi), by Luther Brown
I used to have a hujeta gar that is said to only eat and thrive on live food, yet I mostly fed it frozen foods like bloodworms, and he ate them and was happy and healthy. So I'm sure the sculpin will be fine with a balanced diet of frozen foods. And your right, that is really odd spawning behavior. It will be hard to replicate in the aquarium. I am very interested in this so please update on them every once in a while.
 
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MrBryan723

A mudskipper of sorts os what it looks like to me. Might be the same as already mentioned as I don't know the scientific name.
 
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MonsterGar

No mud-skipper species are found in the U.S., and even if they were, I doubt they would be so far from the coast in Indiana.
 
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Katie993

That is called a rock goby in the uk but ours are salt water
They may be related! These are definitely fresh or brackish though. They would’ve died by now if they were salt because I’ve been keeping them in fresh for at least two months lol
I used to have a hujeta gar that is said to only eat and thrive on live food, yet I mostly fed it frozen foods like bloodworms, and he ate them and was happy and healthy. So I'm sure the sculpin will be fine with a balanced diet of frozen foods. And your right, that is really odd spawning behavior. It will be hard to replicate in the aquarium. I am very interested in this so please update on them every once in a while.
I definitely will! That article gave tons of information on their natural behavior so maybe I can put all that together and come up with something that will work for them. It seems that the males don’t go very far from their spawning caves. Article said that they’ll swim inches from their caves to find a female. If a girl doesn’t even get them to go further from their cave, I don’t see anything else getting them to leave it lol I wouldn’t think they would need a ton of tank space with that kind of behavior. I’ve been looking for a reason to buy a lowboy tank. That may be the perfect setup for these guys. Lots of floor space. I definitely get where the ambush predator part of that article came from too. They sit and watch their food and then dart and grab it. I’ll try get a feeding video for you tomorrow because that’s really the most interesting behavior I’ve seen from them so far.
A mudskipper of sorts os what it looks like to me. Might be the same as already mentioned as I don't know the scientific name.
No mud-skipper species are found in the U.S., and even if they were, I doubt they would be so far from the coast in Indiana.
We do have something that local people call mud puppies. I don’t know if that’s the actual name. They look like tiny black axolotls but these are definitely not those. I have found them in the creek that these came from though. They’re supposed to be a sign of very clean water. This creek surrounds my parents house and I believe it’s part of Little Indian Creek. I think one of them might be a banded sculpin and the other is a mottled though.
 
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MonsterGar

A lowboy can be good for them. What is the scape of their current tank, and what do you plan for the lowboy? Based on their breeding behavior, each male would need their own cave.

I did some research and it seems that males are a bit darker in color during the breeding season. Although one could be darker than another because of many other reasons (Blending in, genetics, diet, etc.).

Also, how big are they right now?
 
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Katie993

A lowboy can be good for them. What is the scape of their current tank, and what do you plan for the lowboy? Based on their breeding behavior, each male would need their own cave.

I did some research and it seems that males are a bit darker in color during the breeding season. Although one could be darker than another because of many other reasons (Blending in, genetics, diet, etc.).

Also, how big are they right now?
Sand with a tiny bit of smooth gravel mixed in. A piece of driftwood with some java moss and a java fern on it. I do have quite a bit of current and filtration going which is a good thing I guess because I read they like super clean water. I just figured, since they came out of a creek, they would like more current. No actual caves right now but there’s quite a bit of big maple leaves in the tank that they like to hide in. They’re about 2 inches long right now. I have them in a 10 gallon right now but I’ll definitely be upgrading them. I’ve been noticing that they’re acting a bit cramped anyway. They seem to recognize me and interact also. The darker one always pokes out of the leaves to check me out and wait on food when I walk up to the tank. I will probably leave this tank running and leave the darter in it so I can have these in a species only tank and watch their behavior. What size tank do you think for them? Lowboys are 50 gallons but I’m not sure they’ll need that much space and I probably won’t put any tankmates with them. You see why in the feeding video
 
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MonsterGar

I did some more research...

They are usually found in waters that have a current, so you were right about that.

They are cannibalistic, so only house them together if they are of similar size.

Apparently they co-exist with other sculpin species, so that means their are other freshwater sculpin species and we could have possibly identified them wrong. Compare some pictures to them just to confirm.

One study found that 99.7 percent of their diet consists of aquatic insects. The the rest of the percentage is other invertebrates, fish eggs, and small fish.

Supposedly their breeding season is around april and may.

The male chases away the female after the eggs are laid and takes care of them. Apparently the female will eat the eggs if he does not do so.

Females only mate once a year, and a female will typically lay 8-150 eggs, although the male will mate with several females, and take care of them all in the same nest.

On average, they live for 6 years, and mature at about 2 years.

I could not find any thing on aggression or territory, so I do not know how many you can have if you want to get more. Although based on their breeding behavior and characteristics, I feel their is at least some territory/aggression between males.

Hopefully I am not telling you things you already know.

Edit: You have made me want these guys. I will add them to my ever growing fish tank stocking list. At this rate, I will probably have financial problems in the future lol.

What size tank? They don't move around much, so 20 gallons would definitely work for adults. Even 10 gallons might work for 1 adult, although until we know about their behavior towards each other we can't really be sure how many of each sex can be in a tank.
 
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Katie993

I did some more research...

They are usually found in waters that have a current, so you were right about that.

They are cannibalistic, so only house them together if they are of similar size.

Apparently they co-exist with other sculpin species, so that means their are other freshwater sculpin species and we could have possibly identified them wrong. Compare some pictures to them just to confirm.

One study found that 99.7 percent of their diet consists of aquatic insects. The the rest of the percentage is other invertebrates, fish eggs, and small fish.

Supposedly their breeding season is around april and may.

The male chases away the female after the eggs are laid and takes care of them. Apparently the female will eat the eggs if he does not do so.

Females only mate once a year, and a female will typically lay 8-150 eggs, although the male will mate with several females, and take care of them all in the same nest.

On average, they live for 6 years, and mature at about 2 years.

I could not find any thing on aggression or territory, so I do not know how many you can have if you want to get more. Although based on their breeding behavior and characteristics, I feel their is at least some territory/aggression between males.

Hopefully I am not telling you things you already know.
Not at all! That’s great info! Maybe a 50 gallon lowboy with a few the same size would be best then. These two are almost exactly the same size. I would try some kind of top level fish to maybe help keep them from picking on each other so much but, with it being cold water, I’m really not sure what would work. Everything I can think of is either too big and would eat them or too small and the sculpins would eat them. Hopefully by spring, I can figure out whether they’re males or females and find a third to go with them. Ultimate goal maybe a trio? I did find a list of native species for Indiana that listed mottled and banded sculpins. I looked at some pics of banded sculpins and the lighter one looks almost identical. The other looks more like the mottled. Also, I actually have a scud colony for some of my more finicky fish and fry so, if I wanted to get really fancy, I could add some into their diet. That breeding season sounds about right. I do know for sure that’s about when all the fish in that creek starting moving about and spawning. I was reading that their breeding is also affected by the photoperiod so you could probably trick them into breeding any time of the year with an aquarium light and maybe a little bit warmer water changes? Like a couple degrees or so.
 
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MonsterGar

Both species are of the genus Cottus, so combined with the fact the they have a similar range and environment, they probably have very similar care.

Can you post a pic of the darker one? I think they are both banded sculpins. I think the lighter one is at least. Banded sculpins get a bit bigger at 7 inches. In a tank they may only get 6, or they may get bigger at about 8 because they may have more food than in the wild. I will do some research on some banded sculpin care, although it is probably almost the same as the other one.
 
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Katie993

Both species are of the genus Cottus, so combined with the fact the they have a similar range and environment, they probably have very similar care.

Can you post a pic of the darker one? I think they are both banded sculpins. I think the lighter one is at least. Banded sculpins get a bit bigger at 7 inches. In a tank they may only get 6, or they may get bigger at about 8 because they may have more food than in the wild. I will do some research on some banded sculpin care, although it is probably almost the same as the other one.
Actually now that he fully came out of the leaves and sat still for a minute, I think you may be right. The fish hiding right next to him on the left is the darter. They don’t seem to mind him at all.
 
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MonsterGar

Wait so there is 2 sculpin and a darter. Yes? What type of darter is it?

Researched the banded sculpins...

They are mostly nocturnal, although this could be different in an aquarium.

Spawning is triggered by a spike in temperature to about 50 F. Spawning still takes place in spring like the other sculpin, but by doing that temperature spike at any time you might be able to trick the fish into thinking its spring, and they might spawn. They do not need the spike in order to finish spawning though. They just need it to "Activate" their spawning behavior.

The spawning period only lasts about 2 weeks.

Breeding and aging is pretty much the same as the mottled sculpin, except apparently these ones live 4 years on average instead of 5.

They are very attentive to the eggs. Some males will pick out bad eggs and groom the eggs of a bacteria or fungus that often prays on their eggs. Hopefully any males you have are good parents.

Some of the things on this list probably also apply to the mottled sculpin, and vice versa.

Both sculpin species have striped and mottled variants of all kinds of shades and colors, so it will take more analysis to know for sure which species yours are, although because they are the same size and were found in the same area, I am assuming both of yours are the same species.

Edit: I think it is a banded sculpin tho


Hopefully this article helps. It seems the differences between the 2 species are very minor.

"The banded sculpin can be distinguished from the mottled sculpin by a less robust body, intense dorsal saddles with dark edges, and somewhat longer snout. Dorsal saddles or bands across the back on mottled sculpins are less defined and more mottled, and the head is longer with a shorter snout. Banded sculpins lack banding in the spiny dorsal fin, but rays in the second dorsal and caudal fins have distinct light and dark banding that runs the length of the fins. The lateral line is generally complete"

Sorry if you are not okay with me asking this, but what part of Indiana do you live in? This could help in identifying your sculpin down to the subspecies.

I have found 2 closely related species of the same genus. The ozark sculpin, and the knobfin sculpin. I still think yours are one of the original 2 species tho.

There is also the grotto sculpin, though I highly doubt that yours are that species.
 
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Katie993

Wait so there is 2 sculpin and a darter. Yes? What type of darter is it?

Researched the banded sculpins...

They are mostly nocturnal, although this could be different in an aquarium.

Spawning is triggered by a spike in temperature to about 50 F. Spawning still takes place in spring like the other sculpin, but by doing that temperature spike at any time you might be able to trick the fish into thinking its spring, and they might spawn. They do not need the spike in order to finish spawning though. They just need it to "Activate" their spawning behavior.

The spawning period only lasts about 2 weeks.

Breeding and aging is pretty much the same as the mottled sculpin, except apparently these ones live 4 years on average instead of 5.

They are very attentive to the eggs. Some males will pick out bad eggs and groom the eggs of a bacteria or fungus that often prays on their eggs. Hopefully any males you have are good parents.

Some of the things on this list probably also apply to the mottled sculpin, and vice versa.

Both sculpin species have striped and mottled variants of all kinds of shades and colors, so it will take more analysis to know for sure which species yours are, although because they are the same size and were found in the same area, I am assuming both of yours are the same species.

Edit: I think it is a banded sculpin tho


Hopefully this article helps. It seems the differences between the 2 species are very minor.

"The banded sculpin can be distinguished from the mottled sculpin by a less robust body, intense dorsal saddles with dark edges, and somewhat longer snout. Dorsal saddles or bands across the back on mottled sculpins are less defined and more mottled, and the head is longer with a shorter snout. Banded sculpins lack banding in the spiny dorsal fin, but rays in the second dorsal and caudal fins have distinct light and dark banding that runs the length of the fins. The lateral line is generally complete"

Sorry if you are not okay with me asking this, but what part of Indiana do you live in? This could help in identifying your sculpin down to the subspecies.

I have found 2 closely related species of the same genus. The ozark sculpin, and the knobfin sculpin. I still think yours are one of the original 2 species tho.
Yes there is a darter along with the two sculpins. I’m not sure what type of darter he is either. I thought he was a rainbow darter but I’m not so sure about that now. He’s a bit trickier to get pics of. That’s the only time I’ve caught him and I didn’t even realize he was sitting there until I was uploading it here. He does have one red dorsal fin and one blue dorsal fin. And I hadn’t noticed the black markings on his face until now. I’m in south central Indiana. I believe this creek is part of the Little Indian Creek.
 
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MonsterGar

So I think that points to it being a banded, although their are not many descriptions and pictures of their range, and I think the ones that are there may be outdated. I'm pretty sure the mottled is mostly in northern Indiana tho, while I know for sure that the banded does inhabit southern Indiana. So unless something pops up we will call yours banded sculpin for now.

Try to get a side-pic of the darter if you can.
 
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Katie993

The darter looked similar to this when caught. He was in his breeding colors and it was August I believe. He does not come out very often though. He’s about the same size as the sculpins but a bit skinnier. I have treated them for internal parasites about a week after getting them set up. I wanted to give them some time to relax a bit before stressing them again. All are pretty chunky now.
 
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MonsterGar

I compared some pictures and I am 99 percent sure he is a rainbow darter. The markings and colors on the fins matched exactly to one of the pictures on google.

So it seems all we have left to figure out is if the sculpin are aggressive/territorial to each other. The two you have might only be fine together right now because they are juvenile or are not breeding. Maybe they are both females? I will do more research on their temperament.

On a side note, if the sculpin ever do become aggressive towards each other, they will likely do so to the darter as well because they are very similar acting and looking species of fish.

Edit: I just saw a video with a bunch of baby sculpin migrating from a brackish water estuary to freshwater. I wonder if they only breed in brackish water.
 
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Katie993

I compared some pictures and I am 99 percent sure he is a rainbow darter. The markings and colors on the fins matched exactly to one of the pictures on google.

So it seems all we have left to figure out is if the sculpin are aggressive/territorial to each other. The two you have might only be fine together right now because they are juvenile or are not breeding. Maybe they are both females? I will do more research on their temperament.

On a side note, if the sculpin ever do become aggressive towards each other, they will likely do so to the darter as well because they are very similar acting and looking species of fish.

Edit: I just saw a video with a bunch of baby sculpin migrating from a brackish water estuary to freshwater. I wonder if they only breed in brackish water.
Good to know! He actually has some pretty nice colors and markings. I’m a bit surprised. I’ll try to catch pictures this spring when he gets his colors again. That’s an interesting thought. I think most aquarium gobies like at least a little bit of salt don’t they? The care for sculpins seems very similar to gobies so I wonder if it’s the same. It would interesting to test the creek just to see.
 
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chromedome52

Freshwater Sculpins live their entire lives in Fresh Water. There is no reason to think about salt or brackish water species for a fish collected in central Indiana. I am uncertain about the species on this one, as I would need the actual specimen to key it out in a book. I cannot find any such key online for Sculpins. The Mottled is usually more common, however. OPs fish look very much like Mottled to me, with the stocky body.

To condition the females, you would have to maintain the water temperature for a month or more at 40 F., perhaps lower. The better way to try to breed them would be to collect the fish in late February or early March. Unless you are running a very powerful chiller, you will not produce the necessary temperatures in an aquarium.

Mottled Sculpins I know from experience are very territorial over about 2.5-3 inches. They have been known to become pets, recognizing the person who feeds them. I did catch a 6 inch Mottled, which is pretty much the limit for them. They did just fine on frozen brine shrimp. Gave them a few earthworms, as well.

As for the darter, from that photo one cannot distinguish a Rainbow Darter from an Orangethroat Darter. Both are quite variable in color, it is under the chin that the species are separated.
 
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MonsterGar

Now that I think about it, you do not live near brackish water. So the sculpin in the video was probably another species.

I could not find much about intraspecific aggression between the sculpin, but while males typically defend their nests against intruders, they are especially aggressive towards other sculpin that try to come in, because apparently their is a lot of problems with sculpin eating other sculpins eggs. This is only when they have a nest with eggs in it though. So besides that, I think you can house several together as long as each one has its own space and hide, specifically males. When a males has a nest it would be best to take other non-breeding sculpins out tho. If you have more than one male with a nest in a tank, it should be fine because they won't really leave their nests to come near another sculpins nest. But if you want do reduce egg casualties and aggression, you will have to take the females out.

A successfully breeding sculpin tank sounds amazing, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for them. Do you ever plan on housing them with other fish like dither fish? I can look into suitable tank-mates if you want.

I agree with chromedome52 on the chiller. Unless of course you keep the tank in a room that is air-conditioned to those low temperatures.
 
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Katie993

Freshwater Sculpins live their entire lives in Fresh Water. There is no reason to think about salt or brackish water species for a fish collected in central Indiana. I am uncertain about the species on this one, as I would need the actual specimen to key it out in a book. I cannot find any such key online for Sculpins. The Mottled is usually more common, however. OPs fish look very much like Mottled to me, with the stocky body.

To condition the females, you would have to maintain the water temperature for a month or more at 40 F., perhaps lower. The better way to try to breed them would be to collect the fish in late February or early March. Unless you are running a very powerful chiller, you will not produce the necessary temperatures in an aquarium.

Mottled Sculpins I know from experience are very territorial over about 2.5-3 inches. They have been known to become pets, recognizing the person who feeds them. I did catch a 6 inch Mottled, which is pretty much the limit for them. They did just fine on frozen brine shrimp. Gave them a few earthworms, as well.

As for the darter, from that photo one cannot distinguish a Rainbow Darter from an Orangethroat Darter. Both are quite variable in color, it is under the chin that the species are separated.
I could set up a small pond outside for the winter. I have a small goldfish pond but I’d rather keep them separate. I really don’t mind whether they breed or not though. I’m not really sure what I would do with the babies anyway. I would rather just have a few that get along. I may be able to get another pic of the darter tomorrow. He’s pretty skittish though.
Now that I think about it, you do not live near brackish water. So the sculpin in the video was probably another species.

I could not find much about intraspecific aggression between the sculpin, but while males typically defend their nests against intruders, they are especially aggressive towards other sculpin that try to come in, because apparently their is a lot of problems with sculpin eating other sculpins eggs. This is only when they have a nest with eggs in it though. So besides that, I think you can house several together as long as each one has its own space and hide, specifically males. When a males has a nest it would be best to take other non-breeding sculpins out tho. If you have more than one male with a nest in a tank, it should be fine because they won't really leave their nests to come near another sculpins nest. But if you want do reduce egg casualties and aggression, you will have to take the females out.

A successfully breeding sculpin tank sounds amazing, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for them. Do you ever plan on housing them with other fish like dither fish? I can look into suitable tank-mates if you want.

I agree with chromedome52 on the chiller. Unless of course you keep the tank in a room that is air-conditioned to those low temperatures.
Dither fish could be interesting but I think they would have to be pretty good size. The sculpins mouths are pretty big. I should probably look at tankmates for the darter to see where I can move him. I have a few other cold water tank options.
 
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MonsterGar

My point was that they may not get along if they breed. They are encouraged to breed by the changes that come with the beginning of spring. So if you keep them in a pond during the winter, and spring comes around, they will likely breed and some problems may occur. It is still only minor aggression tho. However, if a small female tries to invade a large male's nest, he is more than capable of eating her.
 
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Katie993

My point was that they may not get along if they breed. They are encouraged to breed by the changes that come with the beginning of spring. So if you keep them in a pond during the winter, and spring comes around, they will likely breed and some problems may occur. It is still only minor aggression tho. However, if a small female tries to invade a large male's nest, he is more than capable of eating her.
So I would have to keep them in a pond outside for the winter and, as it’s warming up, separate them into pairs and remove the females after spawning. That’s a lot of work. I really don’t know what I would do with the babies either so maybe just keep them inside at a steady temp.
 
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MonsterGar

I think they can be kept at lower room temperatures (60-70 F), but I do not know for sure if they can be kept at 70 F. Because they are a seasonal fish, they might require or do much better if there are temperature changes from colder to warmer throughout the year like in the wild.
 
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Katie993

I think they can be kept at lower room temperatures (60-70 F), but I do not know for sure if they can be kept at 70 F. Because they are a seasonal fish, they might require or do much better if there are temperature changes from colder to warmer throughout the year like in the wild.
We normally keep our house at around 62 year round. Actually maybe a little colder in the winter because we heat with wood so they’re probably running right in that range. They would have some temp change. Not as drastic as in the wild but maybe enough to keep them happy?
 
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MonsterGar

I think that temp will be fine.

So what are your plans with them? Do you want a species tank for them? Or are you planning on adding tank-mates if you can find any suitable ones?
 
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Katie993

I think that temp will be fine.

So what are your plans with them? Do you want a species tank for them? Or are you planning on adding tank-mates if you can find any suitable ones?
Since I’m probably not going to breed them, tank mates would be nice. I guess I could always pull out a pair for the winter if I wanted to breed them at some point once I feel comfortable with them.
Since I’m probably not going to breed them, tank mates would be nice. I guess I could always pull out a pair for the winter if I wanted to breed them at some point once I feel comfortable with them.
I found this on a Monsterfishkeepers forum thread about Banded Sculpin.

As far as tankmates go, a few mid-sized shiners like Cyprinellaor Luxilus species or some largeish darters should work. Sculpin can eat surprisingly big fish, so be sure the tankmates are close in size to the sculpin.
 
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MonsterGar

Ok I will research some tankmates.

Hillstream loaches can be kept at some lower temps. They are also native to flowing streams and rivers like the sculpin. Although a large sculpin might be able to eat them, and I am not sure if hillstream loaches can tolerate temps as low as 60.

More tank-mate options coming...

Dojo loach, although still might not be able to go as low as 60, and might get eaten because they are thin and can be slurped up like a noodle.

Rosy barb? High backed, so harder to get eaten.

Maybe goldfish?

Pygmy sunfish can handle 60 F, although they are small, and thus are likely to get eaten.

Maybe look in that stream for a mid-water swimming schooling fish that get at least 5 inches. Probably lots of minnows in their right?

Axolotle? Probably not?
 
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Katie993

Ok I will research some tankmates.

Hillstream loaches can be kept at some lower temps. They are also native to flowing streams and rivers like the sculpin. Although a large sculpin might be able to eat them, and I am not sure if hillstream loaches can tolerate temps as low as 60.

More tank-mate options coming...

Dojo loach, although still might not be able to go as low as 60, and might get eaten because they are thin and can be slurped up like a noodle.

Rosy barb? High backed, so harder to get eaten.

Maybe goldfish?

Pygmy sunfish can handle 60 F, although they are small, and thus are likely to get eaten.
Dojo loaches get quite big. I would say as long as it was a few inches bigger than the sculpin when I got it, it shouldn’t get eaten but don’t they like caves also? That might be competition for the sculpin and make them a bit moody. Goldfish would probably work. I think I’d like to stick with a more native fish though. Jonahs aquariums has multiple different types of larger shiners that would probably do well like the spotfin shiner or the striped shiner.
 
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MonsterGar

Aren't those shiners meant as feeder fish though? So they might not be healthy? I do agree with the native fish idea though.

I only recommended the bottom feeders because their wasn't many fish that fit the profile for a banded sculpin tank mate.
 
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Katie993

Aren't those shiners meant as feeder fish though? So they might not be healthy? I do agree with the native fish idea though.

I only recommended the bottom feeders because their wasn't many fish that fit the profile for a banded sculpin tank mate.
I don’t think the fish from jonahs aquarium are sold as feeders. I think they sell them for ponds and aquariums too. I know I’ve seen YouTube videos on peoples tanks using their fish and everybody seems to have a good opinion of them that are be seen. There doesn’t seem to be much info on them as aquarium fish. I’ve noticed that’s a big problem with keeping most native fish. Limited info.
 
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MonsterGar

So any other plans? Aquascape? Upgrades? I don't think dither fish will do well in a lowboy aquarium.
 
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Katie993

So any other plans? Aquascape? Upgrades? I don't think dither fish will do well in a lowboy aquarium.
I’ll probably get a 40 gallon at least and set them up with a canister and some air stones long term. Lots of rocks and caves I’ll probably stick with a sand substrate. They actually seem to be very clean fish. The sand in their tank is still bright white and looks almost brand new. Maybe some driftwood and I’m sure some plants. I’ll probably keep it low light since they’re nocturnal so maybe I’ll see them more, not that I don’t see them now. They’re always out and about.
 
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Donovan Jones

Seems like everything was covered in the skimming I saw, but I figured I'd add my .02. I caught some of these in pa. They definitely need cold flowing water. mine were severely stressed at 72. I found them in an area with lots of rocks where a spring fed out. Scuds were everywhere as well as ramshorn snails. Most of mine that I own are from that population. Ludwigia, potomogeton and elodea were everywhere in the slower areas. They didnt seem to go there though. They definitely like rockwork to hide in. So from what I learned I'd say a 20 long with wavemakers and a chiller unless it can stay around 60 year round. add lots of rocks to create territory. A scud culture is probably the best food for them but you could use some guppies or paradise fish fry. The latter is surprisingly easy to breed and hard to stop once they start. I'm not sure how they take to frozen food, i could only ever get them to eat live.
 
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Katie993

Seems like everything was covered in the skimming I saw, but I figured I'd add my .02. I caught some of these in pa. They definitely need cold flowing water. mine were severely stressed at 72. I found them in an area with lots of rocks where a spring fed out. Scuds were everywhere as well as ramshorn snails. Most of mine that I own are from that population. Ludwigia, potomogeton and elodea were everywhere in the slower areas. They didnt seem to go there though. They definitely like rockwork to hide in. So from what I learned I'd say a 20 long with wavemakers and a chiller unless it can stay around 60 year round. add lots of rocks to create territory. A scud culture is probably the best food for them but you could use some guppies or paradise fish fry. The latter is surprisingly easy to breed and hard to stop once they start. I'm not sure how they take to frozen food, i could only ever get them to eat live.
That’s a little different than where I found these. This creek almost dries up when it’s been awhile since we’ve had rain but it rages, even floods the bridge over it, when it’s rained pretty steady. The creek was low enough that there were small, still pools. Lots of water skaters, minnows, shiners, and crawdads. I know for sure that there are sunfish in this creek, even though I didn’t see any that day. There’s not much sand or many plants but lots of rock and leaf litter. Its pretty shaded by trees too. Mine have taken frozen food since day one. I’ve even gotten them to eat a couple omega one Cichlid pellets but that takes some coaxing.
 
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Katie993

I got a couple better (not much better lol) pictures of the darter this morning. He’s pretty red near his gills but no one else is having issues and the parameters are all good so I’m assuming that’s just his coloring.
 
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chromedome52

The photo that shows his throat indicates that the gill membranes are slightly connected across the isthmus, making this a Rainbow Darter, indeed. Also, the second photo appears that he has a naked cheek but scales on the opercle. This can occur in both species, but is more typical of the Rainbow.

Relatively easy to care for. Wait till he colors up in the Spring!

You might want to look into the North American Native Fishes Association, a hobby group that specializes in native fish. There may be more info there about your sculpins, too.
 
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Katie993

The photo that shows his throat indicates that the gill membranes are slightly connected across the isthmus, making this a Rainbow Darter, indeed. Also, the second photo appears that he has a naked cheek but scales on the opercle. This can occur in both species, but is more typical of the Rainbow.

Relatively easy to care for. Wait till he colors up in the Spring!

You might want to look into the North American Native Fishes Association, a hobby group that specializes in native fish. There may be more info there about your sculpins, too.
Great! I will definitely try to find more info there! He was colored up when he was caught. Very pretty markings!
 
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Katie993

Well their tank sprung a leak today so they’ll be upgraded sooner than planned. I have them in an 18 gallon tub for now until I decide exactly what their final setup will be.
 
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Katie993

I still have these guys minus one sculpin. Their filter quit and I lost one. They have a brand new oversized filter and I have them in a very large 25 gallon square tank with a huge footprint. No aggression between the sculpin and the darter at all. They are eating frozen food reliably everyday and I can get them to eat dry food occasionally. They are so fun to watch during feeding. I do have a video but I’m not sure how to post it. The tank is looking kind of bare with just the two of them in there. Is there anything I could add to the tank with them now that they’ve been fully treated for worms and parasites? I have a group of white clouds that I thought about trying but I wanted to check and see if anyone had any suggestions first. It would be awesome if they’d work together. Clear out some tank space for me lol cold water options are so limited.
 
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Donovan Jones

I'd think if the white cloudless were full grown itd be fine. The sculpin only gets 3 inches right?
 
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Katie993

I'd think if the white cloudless were full grown itd be fine. The sculpin only gets 3 inches right?
Something like that. It’s about 2 1/2-3 right now and hasn’t grown since I’ve had it. I do have another question though now that I’m thinking about it. I have a fairly intense light on their tank. There are hides but I’m still working on the scape. I noticed the other day that the sculpin has an emerald sheen to its eyes (like a beetle shell) kind of like a more nocturnal animal or something that spends most of its time in the dark. Would it be more comfortable if I dim the lights down a bit? It doesn’t seem stressed or anything. Most of the time, it’s out in the open instead of in the hides but I do want to make it comfortable and happy in its home.
 
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BigManAquatics

If it has a dimmer functiin that would be great. A lot of fish don't like super bright lights. Thats mostly humans that want them.
 
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Katie993

If it has a dimmer functiin that would be great. A lot of fish don't like super bright lights. Thats mostly humans that want them.
It does. It’s definitely not a high light tank but probably medium ish. Its such a short tank though (15” tall). I’ll dim it down and see if it makes a difference for him.
 
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Donovan Jones

If it's an led I use tissue paper to dim mine. I had to so my betta stopped seeing his reflection lol
 
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Katie993

Got a better pic of the sculpin that really shows his green eyes! He’s so cool but definitely not a super active fish lol they are getting sand soon because I’m not sure how well he’ll do on gravel long term since he is a bottom dweller.
 
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