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Ninespine Stickleback (Pungitius pungitius)
August 14, 2010
3:19 pm
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Colin
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ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius)

Here are a few shots from today of the UK's smallest freshwater fish and it's only known from a handful of sites in Scotland. These fish are from the only known inland Scottish population which I discovered in 2004 while looking for great crested newts (under license /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" /> )

First thing I did was to worm these fish and luckily they have moved onto Tetra Prima rather than live-food quite only. They are in my "pond tank" on a windowsill /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

cheers
Colin

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and chasing prima...

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August 14, 2010
3:55 pm
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oaken
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Very nice!

August 14, 2010
3:56 pm
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Eyrie
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Are they only scarce in the UK, or is this an endemic species?

Mature, sensible signature required for responsible position. Good prospects for the right candidate. Apply within.
August 14, 2010
7:36 pm
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kim m
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I've been thinking about setting up a tank for some for some time...they are widespread in Denmark and found everywhere in flowing water at least on the west coast. At my new house there's a stream with a lot of them.

I didn't know they were uncommon i Scotland, but that makes them interesting for you to have a go at /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

---------------------------- Best regards, Kim Kastberg
August 14, 2010
8:21 pm
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andy rushworth
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Very nice ! great pics Colin .

August 15, 2010
9:12 am
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Colin
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cheers /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I dont know why they are uncommon in Scottish inland waters? I think that they can be found more readily in brackish coastal water though.

Here is a link to the NBN Gateway which I use quite frequently for work... not always 100% but it often gives a good representation of distribution at a glance

http://data.nbn.org.uk/gridMap.....p#topOfMap

So far these wee guys have been quite interesting to keep, not a aggressive as the 3 spines for sure!

August 15, 2010
12:27 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Very cool Colin! Is this a freshwater population?

Cake or death?
August 15, 2010
12:47 pm
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Colin
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yeah totally freshwater, they are only found in one pond and a 1km stretch of a burn as far as i can find. The pond is actually a SUDS system from an industrial estate made about 10 - 12 years ago...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....tainable_u...rainage_systems

and i think that they were probably introduced with the Phragmites reed bed? Could be that young fish/eggs etc maybe came in as it was being planted???

best guess anyway

August 15, 2010
8:02 pm
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Colin
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Okay, so here are some pics of their tank -

Its an 18x16x18 lxhxw which has about 3" of garden soil in the bottom of the tank and a fine covering of black sand. Most of the plants are native pond plants such as greater spearwort, arrowhead, cinquefoil, burr-reed and a few others. No filter, no water movement and only natural sunlight. No algae problems!

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August 16, 2010
12:09 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Now THAT is a biotope tank. /cool.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="B)" border="0" alt="cool.gif" />

Cake or death?
August 16, 2010
7:52 pm
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Hokum
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Lovely interesting tank, i remember catcing these all the time as a child in somerset in the rhynes. Out of interest do you have to keep the water cool? I was thinking of keeping 3 spined sticklebacks before going for my hillstream loach.

August 16, 2010
8:16 pm
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Colin
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keep cool? Nah, it's Scotland LOL

warmest I have seen the tank is about 68F and that's a south facing window! The lowest I have seen so far since May is about 60F.

i know they are not as pretty as many fish I could put in a tank but they are interesting and I am looking forward to seeing some courtship and spawning next year. It's also as equally interesting to see how the plants do with the garden soil and watch what plants do well and what plants not so well.

I have also added some local Gammarus and Asselus just for the hell of it LOL

cheers
C

August 18, 2010
11:12 am
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Martin Tversted
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Yes, it relatively common in Denmark. Especially near the coast, but also know from various inland populations.There are some variation among their breeding colouration.
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Some other pops have solid orange fins.

Martin

August 18, 2010
11:14 am
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Martin Tversted
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When I need plants planted out in an aquarium I always use garden soil. It usual takes 3 months to fully funktion but then there no need to change it for years.

August 18, 2010
6:41 pm
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Colin
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That's a really dark specimen, so far all of mine are just silver - i hope to see more colour in the spring if they decide to spawn /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

garden soil is great - and certainly a LOT cheaper than these bagged aquarium soils!

August 19, 2010
6:30 am
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Bluedave
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What a great little set up Colin, i love it.

Were these a lot more widespread a few years ago? I'm sure we used to catch these in a stream near our house in Berkshire when I was about 7or 8 - or do you think that was another type of stickleback?

August 19, 2010
8:30 am
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Colin
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Hi, thanks /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I have no idea about their distribution down south, one of the links I posted to the NBN site should be able to give you an idea of Berkshire. I think they are just much less common up here.

In the UK you can also find the 3 spine stickleback which is very common and then there is also a 15 spined species but that is marine. Out of interest though the 3 spine and 9 spine can both be acclimatised to marine water and some of the biggest 3 spines i have ever seen were marine.

It's also a useful way to rid them of parasites as they cant adapt to the osmotic change.

Hopefully before the end of the summer I am going to have a wee go at getting some more of the 9 spines, plenty space in the tank... will try and remember to get pics of their pond in the wild too

August 19, 2010
11:47 am
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Bully
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Great looking tank, and fish! Looking forward to seeing them in breeding condition. There's a good population of threespine stickleback at the St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff. I was there earlier this year and you could plainly see the males holding territories, and their breeding colours were intense and beautiful /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

QUOTE (Colin)
Out of interest though the 3 spine and 9 spine can both be acclimatised to marine water and some of the biggest 3 spines i have ever seen were marine.

The adaptability of sticklebacks, and their evolutionary traits, have made them interesting to science as it seems that they are used in a fair bit of evolutionary research.

August 19, 2010
4:11 pm
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Hokum
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QUOTE (Bully @ Aug 19 2010, 12:30 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
The adaptability of sticklebacks, and their evolutionary traits, have made them interesting to science as it seems that they are used in a fair bit of evolutionary research.

Aren't they related to pipe fish?

August 20, 2010
7:40 am
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Colin
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yes, but i am not sure how closely? I have also seen Indostomus being sold as 'armoured stickleback' before. (definitely something I'll try soon /cool.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="B)" border="0" alt="cool.gif" /> )

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