Is This A Baby Trout? What Should We Do With It??

  • #1
My husband and 8 yr. old daughter went camping at a Washington State park, and came home with a little fish she caught. She wants to add it to our aquarium which I’m not so keen on doing. First of all, I have no idea what kind of fish this is, or how large it will get. Our tank is a moderately planted 9 gallon setup. Second, I don’t know how it would get along with my neon tetras, guppies & red cherry shrimp which are all very peacefully co-exisiting. Also they tend to like slightly warmer water than I imagine this fish would want. Third, I’m worried it comes with parasites. I have it quaruntined in a mason jar with some of my tank water + live plant clippings.

1) Is anyone able to ID it? They they caught it in a freshwater river so our guess is that it’s a baby trout?

2) What would you do in a situation like this?!? There is a lake in our town that has fish... it’s stocked with Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Channel Catfish. It also has Common Carp, Largemouth Bass, Rock Bass, Pumpkinseed Sunfish and Brown Bullhead. I’m tempted to make her take to the lake and set it free. Do you agree? Or would you try and keep it?

Would appreciate ideas, advice, thoughts, etc.!


  • #2
I would not under any circumstances put it in my successful peaceful aquarium. It would need quarantined for 30 days, and most likely will eat your guppies and neons in short order.

It would also quickly outgrow a 9 gal tank, so I think the most humane thing to do is set it free near where it was caught if possible. I know your daughter will be sad, but does she enjoy your aquarium? If so, she will not if they all are sickened, or worse yet, eaten. Maybe she can pick out a new guppy or tetra to add?
  • #3
It's just a minnow, not a trout or anything hazardous. It would not be likely to eat Guppies or Neons, but it needs much cooler water than those fish. If you release it in the lake it will be eaten because there are probably no others of the same kind. Honestly, once you catch a fish and expose it to plants, water, or anything else from your aquarium, you cannot put it back in the wild. There is more danger in it taking diseases or parasites back to the wild with it than there is for it to bring them into your tank. And if it is carrying any illness, releasing it in a different body of water than it came from is also very dangerous. There is a serious disease problem in Michigan right now from people dumping their bait minnows into inland lakes. It is currently illegal to do so because some lakes have been completely wiped out.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Ugg now I don’t know what to do! I wish they hadn’t brought it home...
  • #5
Yes, they should not really have brought it home but they didn't know.

It needs cold well oxygenated water to survive which cannot be provided easily in an indoor aquarium although chillers and aerators are available at a cost.

Technically you should knock it on the head, but I don't know anybody who would actually do that.

I have a stream near me which has minnows and I think that in your position I would release it there as I think that in reality there is negligible risk in doing so.

I've worked with wild fish for many years and I can tell you that people move them around all the time even though they shouldn't.

Failing that, do you or neighbours/friends have a pond it could go in?

But I wouldn't do it again. Lesson learnt. Hopefully.
andrew fiore
  • #6
I can’t see it being that dangerous to put it back. In New York buying live killies and such is perfectly legal they come from ranks at tackleshops, I’ve also used them before at a pond I’ve fished for years and it’s not uncommon for them to fall of the hook or flop out of your hand. Still tons of bass living in the pond and it’s not stocked at all.

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