border
sSNAKESs : Reptile Forum
 

Go Back   sSNAKESs : Reptile Forum > Colubrid Forums > Thamnophis

Notices

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-28-19, 11:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep-2016
Posts: 25
Country:
Native Alternatives to Guppies

So, I'm now the proud poppa of a baby California Red-Sided Garter Snake. Right now she's going through guppies at the pace of two per day.

I'm working on setting up a breeder tank to get my own population going so I'm not at the mercy of availability (I was surprised when I discovered that a lot of the stores have stopped selling livebearers the past couple years. Fortunately I found one store that still carries them, though it's about 15-20 minutes from home, and adds a couple minutes on my drive home from work). I'm also going to work on getting her on feeder mice once she calms down enough she doesn't spook when I wave a pinky in front of her. However I'd still like to use feeder fish as backup and for variety. I'm also planning to build a paludarium for her once she's big enough, and I actually have room (hopefully the latter within a year). The idea being to replicate the natural environment as best I can.

That brings me to a conundrum...

The most commonly available fish I'm aware of that would be close to what would be found in the snake's range is the fathead minnow (which does exist as an introduced species in California). However I know that any fish that ends up in the paludarium's water feature is going to get et at some point or another, and fatheads have the same thiaminase problem as goldfish (although if mice are her main food source and the minnows are just an occasional snack that might not be as much of a problem). Others I need to watch for because they'll just end up being a very expensive meal, or may harm the snake directly (so I'll be staying away from any kind of catfish).

So basically what I'd be looking for is:

1) Something either native to the snake's range, or "close enough" it could act as a substitute (IE, I'm using Silver Falls Dichondra as ground cover in the terrarium I have right now because the native Dichondra isn't easy to come by, but it's a similar enough plant).
2) Something that will breed readily either in situ or in a secondary tank (perhaps using the sump I have planned as a breeder, so it's tied to the same water system as the water feature itself) so I can replenish the population if necessary. ESPECIALLY if the fish itself is going to cost a good couple bucks each.
3) Something that won't harm the snake when it inevitably gets nommed.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Since mice will eventually be her main food source (assuming I can get her converted. And no one figures out how to make readily available feeder frogs a thing) would it be ok to simply use the minnows since she'll have an alternative source for thiamine?
Ambaryerno is offline  
Login to remove ads
Old 06-29-19, 08:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Nov-2018
Posts: 113
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

As a current garter keep and a former native fish keeper, I don’t think you have any native fish that can sustain a supply either in the tank or in a separate tank. Guppies are going to be the easiest to breed and keep.

Good luck.
MnGuy is offline  
Old 06-29-19, 08:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep-2016
Posts: 25
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

Well, like I said I'm not expecting the fish to be the main food source, but something I can offer periodically between mice. So as long as it breeds easily in captivity it would still work for my purposes.
Ambaryerno is offline  
Old 06-30-19, 09:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Nov-2018
Posts: 113
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

All the natives are going to be egglayers, which are a lot of work to raise and much slower than livebearers to reach eating size. It’s important to check local laws about collecting and buying native fish.

Good luck.
MnGuy is offline  
Old 07-02-19, 09:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep-2014
Posts: 1,249
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

Endler's livebearers are easier to raise than guppies, they don't eat their young. Once you have a good breeding population established they'll run amok. If you need something larger sailfin mollies are a good option. The snake isn't going to care whether the fish are native species, they all small and taste like fish regardless of the origin.
__________________
8.6 Dominican red mountain boas, 1.1 carpet pythons, 3 ATB, 1.1 climacophora, 1.1 Russian rats, 1.1 prasina, 1.1 speckled kings, 2.2.1 corns, 1.1.1 black rats, 1.1 savu, 1.1 Stimson's, 1 spotted python, 1.1 Boiga nigriceps, 3 Olive house snakes, 1 Sonoran mountain king, 0.1 Sinoloan milk snake, 0.1 Dione rat snake.
toddnbecka is offline  
Login to remove ads
Old 07-03-19, 06:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep-2016
Posts: 25
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddnbecka View Post
The snake isn't going to care whether the fish are native species, they all small and taste like fish regardless of the origin.

Yes, I get that. But it DOES matter a bit more if my intent is to reproduce a slice of the ecosystem for aesthetics.
Ambaryerno is offline  
Old 07-03-19, 11:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Nov-2018
Posts: 113
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

I admire your interest and effort in establishing a native vivarium, but the reality is that there are no livebearers native to California (although mosquito fish and sailfin mollies have become established in native waters), and livebearers are the easiest to raise to feed garters and the best option for a self-sustaining population because they breed rapidly and the young can often live in the same tank with their parents given enough hiding places and plants.

If you want to keep native fish in the same tank with your garter, it would have to be an egglaying species, and your snake will eat them all before they can reproduce anyway. You would have to raise the fish in multiple separate tanks, because the fry of egglayers cannot live with their parents, and their sheer numbers often require separate tanks for good water quality. It is no easy task to care for the tiny fry of egglaying fish.

If you want a native snake vivarium and a native fish tank, they will have to be two separate enclosures.
MnGuy is offline  
Old 07-03-19, 11:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep-2016
Posts: 25
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

Quote:
Originally Posted by MnGuy View Post
I admire your interest and effort in establishing a native vivarium, but the reality is that there are no livebearers native to California (although mosquito fish and sailfin mollies have become established in native waters), and livebearers are the easiest to raise to feed garters and the best option for a self-sustaining population because they breed rapidly and the young can often live in the same tank with their parents given enough hiding places and plants.

If you want to keep native fish in the same tank with your garter, it would have to be an egglaying species, and your snake will eat them all before they can reproduce anyway. You would have to raise the fish in multiple separate tanks, because the fry of egglayers cannot live with their parents, and their sheer numbers often require separate tanks for good water quality. It is no easy task to care for the tiny fry of egglaying fish.

If you want a native snake vivarium and a native fish tank, they will have to be two separate enclosures.

Well, like I said in my OP, I do already have a plan in place for a separate tank to actually do the breeding in if necessary.
Ambaryerno is offline  
Old 07-04-19, 02:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep-2014
Posts: 1,249
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

IME breeding fish for feeders needs to be done in a separate tank. A breeding group kept with any predator will simply be eaten faster than they can reproduce. Some years ago I had a 40 gallon aquarium that was terribly overcrowded with hundreds of endler's livebearers. I placed a baby Carapo knife fish into the tank, thinking it would have a long-term food supply with all the breeding adults in the tank. After a couple weeks I moved the last endler's from the tank, there were 13 of various sizes remaining. Granted, a predatory fish is more efficient than a snake, but even trying to feed a baby water snake from a separate tank of livebearers quickly showed me the impracticality of the idea.
__________________
8.6 Dominican red mountain boas, 1.1 carpet pythons, 3 ATB, 1.1 climacophora, 1.1 Russian rats, 1.1 prasina, 1.1 speckled kings, 2.2.1 corns, 1.1.1 black rats, 1.1 savu, 1.1 Stimson's, 1 spotted python, 1.1 Boiga nigriceps, 3 Olive house snakes, 1 Sonoran mountain king, 0.1 Sinoloan milk snake, 0.1 Dione rat snake.
toddnbecka is offline  
Old 07-04-19, 04:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Feb-2019
Posts: 263
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

OP has already mentioned several times that he plans to use a separate tank for breeding y'all XD
Veronica is offline  
Login to remove ads
Old 07-05-19, 07:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep-2016
Posts: 25
Country:
Re: Native Alternatives to Guppies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
OP has already mentioned several times that he plans to use a separate tank for breeding y'all XD

Ha! I know, right? It was right in the OP that I have plans in place that will allow me to breed in a separate tank if needed. AND I'd mentioned it a couple times since, lol.
Ambaryerno is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On




All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:16 AM.

Powered by vBulletin®
©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2002-2020, Hobby Solutions.

right

SEO by vBSEO 3.1.0