The study of invasive round goby fish

cheesepuff

Well Known
As some of you may have seen in the fish ID section of the forums I have caught 3 round gobies in my local fishing spot. Prior to catching them I did not know that they were in this area. The area in question is section 2 of Illinois according to the Illinois Department of natural resources. This area in particular is home to a variety of invasive species. So far the most damaging species is the round goby. Because I'm very fond of this spot as an angler and a Wrangler , I prefer to study what I find rather than simply be arrogant to the conditions in which I work with. With that comes another study that will be done on the round goby.


This Thread is not for everyone. The study of creatures like this can be controversial for several reasons.

First is the legal stuff. That all gets taken care of as soon as possible by talking to my local conservation officers. If I get the go-ahead I will study how these fish act and adapt in an artificial environment. However, there is a very real possibility that I will be told that I cannot keep the fish for this purpose. In fact, the law May state that anyone who encounters around goby must kill it. This is common in several areas of the United States. If I am told I cannot keep it as a study, it would be illegal for me to release it. the only course of action for me to take would be to put the fish down. At which point I will do so as humanely as possible.

Next we have the issue of keeping them alive and as happy as possible. This requires some Keen observations to be taken. Because they will not have access to the foods they would have eaten in the wild, they will have to adapt to the foods that I will give them that can be readily found and available that are not cost prohibitive.

Next will be dealing with the issues that will be down the line. The fish have been known to get up to 9 inches in length in the wild, but in captivity it's hard to say what the overall length will be. There could be an issue where they are stunted because of this, or there could be the opposite where they will become much bigger than they would normally be due to conditions that they wouldn't otherwise normally have in the wild. The only size tank I have to allocate for this object is a 30 gallon breeder. There is a very real possibility that at some point I may have to consider shutting down the project due to size limitations, at which point the fish will be put down. The upside to this is what I have learned and can pass on information that may be valuable to other people in the future and their deaths will not be in vain, and they will get to live out a large portion of their life in an environment that will be stress free.

In order to more clearly display what I'm working with I will now present the link to a video which will outline the preliminary set up.


This Thread will be updated periodically. Please feel free to ask questions and suggest possible things to test for, or other various topics of relevant discussion.

I understand that this topic involves the two Polar Opposites of fish - being an angler, and being an aquarist. I am in a unique position that allows me to be in the middle of these polar opposite situations. I know that this forum is for fish keeping, so what the spirit of that I will do my best to keep the fish happy. Please bear with me as this is a learning process for all of us. Those of you who know me here on the forums know that from time to time I bring up discussions that can be a wee bit controversial. I understand that this is one of those times. I hope you all will understand and join me on this adventure.

 

Dovah

Well Known
Good luck with your research!
 

cooneyms

Well Known
Sounds interesting! I'll be subscribing to this thread

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cheesepuff

Well Known
Earlier today I got the chance to speak with an aquatic biologist for the Department of Natural Resources. I discussed with him several different species of the invasive variety, of which include the rusty crayfish and the round goby. What I learned is that there are actually about 3 different species of round goby that all fall in the same family. Some of which get very large, about 10 inches. Others typically stay around 4 inches. We determined that it was indeed possible that the round goby that I found in the area that I was found in was possibly feeding off of the basket clams that were in the area. I was also able to learn more about the anatomy of the round goby. I also learned about the round goby eats just about anything that could get its mouth on because it's such a verocious eater. So hopefully finding an aquarium based food source for them won't be so hard.

 

cheesepuff

Well Known
What about Ghost Shrimp?

That's actually not a bad idea. In order to make sure I have a constant Supply I would have to purchase quite a few and breed them. But I do have an update on their food situation in the following video.


 

qchris87

Well Known
How much do the ghost shrimp at your lfs cost? Over here they cost 19 cents per shrimp so 20 is around 4 dollars a week. Maybe try night crawlers lol.
 

Briannab

Active Member
very cool! I will definitely subscribe to this thread, I have always wanted to get a small tank and study local species in my area and watch their behavior!
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
update on the Goby project


They have eaten every type of food given (or so it appears)

They don't appear to be very active fish when I'm around.

It looks likes they will accept whatever food they can get.
 

Briannab

Active Member
update on the Goby project


They have eaten every type of food given (or so it appears)

They don't appear to be very active fish when I'm around.

It looks likes they will accept whatever food they can get.

Well that's good! They're aren't picky buggers huh? Lol

Do you know if they are nocturnal or diurnal? Do they only eat meat or do they also eat plant matter? What is their behavior towards eachother, are they territoral, aggressive, do they do better in groups?
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
They're both nocturnal and diurnal eaters. From what I can understand, they will eat plant matter considering that I gave him a large portion of algae wafers. In the wild from what I understand they prefer to do stuff in groups. That's how they're able to attack and eat bass eggs without getting themselves eaten. They don't appear to be territorial. That being said, the 3 goby that I have my tank prefer to remain separated from each other for the time being

 

gregorylampron

Active Member
This promises to be a very fun, educational, and useful thread

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Jaxsco

Well Known
How many do they usually eat? I've been stalking this thread for a while! Lol!
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
an entire handful. so maybe 15-20 at a time
 

TexasDomer

Fishlore Legend
How large are they? Be careful you're not overfeeding them. They're likely not used to so much food in the wild.
 

Megg01

Well Known
I just found this thread and it's pretty fascinating so far. Looking forward to updates!
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
good so far. they're eating bottom feeder food. they are learning basic things like where to expect food. (I put the food in the same tube each time)

they are becoming less shy as well.
 

gregorylampron

Active Member
I think theyre pretty great.

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cheesepuff

Well Known
they're fun little buggars. their puffy face is always fun to see staring back at me.

How large are they? Be careful you're not overfeeding them. They're likely not used to so much food in the wild.

they have been known to eat around 30 zebra clams a day each. If anything I feel like I might be under feeding them.
 

cooneyms

Well Known
Do you have any pictures?

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gregorylampron

Active Member
Little guys are off the charts cute. Hungry jerks. Have you tried feeder fish yet?

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cheesepuff

Well Known
No need so long as they eat shrimp pellets

 

cooneyms

Well Known
Oh my gosh they have cute faces!!!

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Jaxsco

Well Known
I want to pluck it out of the water and hug it to death! Not really though...
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
They do have cute chubby cheeks. Lol

And I have picked them up! They don't really squirm for some reason.

 

gregorylampron

Active Member
That is pretty strange that they don't freak out. My pleco lets me pick him up. My apologies if you're against or can't afford the feeders, I just thought it might be fun to see them going for them. Have you researched what kind of plants they won't uproot? Do you plan to plant the tank?
This is still one of the best threads on here right now.

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cheesepuff

Well Known
No plans on planting the tank. And no worries. Suggestions are always welcome.

Edit : I have officially named him Toby the Goby

 

cheesepuff

Well Known
Update on the goby project

Toby the goby has grown at least one and a half inches since I brought him into my tank. The others don't seem to be growing as fast.

 

Fufu

Active Member
My LFS held a very interesting event in his shop

I wasn't able to make due to other commitments but I went in the next day to see what I missed

He had a scientist who studies cichlids (forgot his name) who came in to discuss everything especially feeding habits in detail

Long story short he said that we as fish keepers tend to over feed our fish, even if are not technically over feeding.

He said that in the wild, it's not unusual for fish to go up to a week without food and that sometimes that food can be low grade food etc sticks,algae etc. While they also eat insects and live food in the wild it's not everyday and can be sometime between meals

Whereas we tend to give our fish the best food we can. While it does wonders for the colours etc he actually said they would tend to live longer in the wild on the wild diet

Our food is just too high in protein which tends to shorten their lives

Sorry for the long post but it might interesting to see what they'd eat that would be considered "unusual" to us and how'd they would react?


Fufu


 

cheesepuff

Well Known
Sounds like a very interesting idea. Any thoughts as to what unusual Foods I should use?

 

gregorylampron

Active Member
I'm with fufu that the best way to simulate that might be pond sticks, also, feeder fish are like 5 cents and the hunt is always fun to watch. Perhaps introduce a colony of snails? There's plenty for them to eat in that tank... definitely weigh down some veggies like zucchinI or cucumber, my knight goby would spend a long time just picking at a cucumber.
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
I was going to get cucumber anyway. That might be a good idea.

 

Fufu

Active Member
I'm with fufu that the best way to simulate that might be pond sticks, also, feeder fish are like 5 cents and the hunt is always fun to watch. Perhaps introduce a colony of snails? There's plenty for them to eat in that tank... definitely weigh down some veggies like zucchinI or cucumber, my knight goby would spend a long time just picking at a cucumber.

I think gregorylampron has nailed it

It's a very good place to start and go from there


Fufu


 

cheesepuff

Well Known
Should I make them into coins or will they just eat it as a solid piece of cucumber?

 

Wolf65

Active Member
That's a very interesting thread. Any updates yet....I think it's great what you do there
 

gregorylampron

Active Member
I just peel it and cut it so the.y can readily access the seeds. Let it rot, float, and soften up for a day. Remember, there is no way to overfeed your fish on veg fiber
 

Fufu

Active Member
Please keep us updated on this. It's getting interesting


Fufu


 

cheesepuff

Well Known
I have taken the heater out to determine whether or not these fish can survive and thrive in cold water. I have determined that indeed they will do just fine in cold water. They can also go for several days at a time without eating and be just fine. At which points I simply feed them a few shrimp pellets and they're good for another few days.
 

BluMan1914

Well Known
Loving this thread. Please keep us posted.
 

gregorylampron

Active Member
Did you throw anything else in with them? Cucumber? Plants? Target fish? I would have a hard time not grabbing a couple $0.10 fish to get their metabolisms going every time I went to the lfs.

Sisko to OPS.
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
Unfortunately the least expensive feeder fish around here is $0.40 each.
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
Also, heres our little experiment

 

TexasDomer

Fishlore Legend
I have taken the heater out to determine whether or not these fish can survive and thrive in cold water. I have determined that indeed they will do just fine in cold water. They can also go for several days at a time without eating and be just fine. At which points I simply feed them a few shrimp pellets and they're good for another few days.
Well that's not unexpected. You're from Illinois; I would expect they can survive room temps pretty easily if they can survive almost freezing temps in the winter. And in the wild, fish can go many days without eating. My tank-bred fish have gone two weeks without eating when I went on vacation with no issues. I'm not surprised a few days isn't bothering them.
 

cheesepuff

Well Known
Update

They can survive soft and hard water (soft being 70ppm GH, hard being 250 ppm GH)

Will test soon for very hard water (450+ ppm GH)
 

gregorylampron

Active Member
Update

They can survive soft and hard water (soft being 70ppm GH, hard being 250 ppm GH)

Will test soon for very hard water (450+ ppm GH)

Incredible! Hardy fish

Sisko to OPS.
 

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