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PostPosted: Jul 27th, '18, 13:44 
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Hi,
I'm deciding whether to stock my pond with Southern or Western Pygmy Perch to use as host fish for freshwater mussels (velesunio ambiguus).
It's hard nailing down what the differences are - from what I can glean/infer:

- Westerns are better at controlling mosquitos
- Westerns are algae eaters whereas southerns are not
- Since the range of the southerns overlaps with that of velesunio ambiguus, it may be a better host fish

I'm hoping someone with some experience can chime in here...


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PostPosted: Jul 28th, '18, 10:16 
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Hi Prag,

maybe someone will answer but there will not be a lot of experience with Pygmy Perch as they are not a typical AP or aquaculture fish. You question is quite specific - and you seem to know more than most already.

A few people have tried mussels but couple of the WA ones are not around the forum these days.
Nocky is one to read, covers both but bit limited and no longer around (he has couple old threads)
eg. http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/vie ... f=2&t=3483 (use advanced search)
Couple active people do use mussels and are around every now and again - but non-WA.
Try the search box on mussels. You will also get a couple more hits with Pygmy Perch.

My opinion is that as these are not food fish then omnivores are a good option.
They will pick around and keep the tank under control - so that leans towards the Westerns.

As you are in WA I suspect your choice will be made for you on what you can source.
I doubt the southerns are even available ?

Maybe they will co-habitat ? But you may not want that.
My understanding is that they are difficult to breed so perhaps that is less of an issue.
In the wild they tend to co-habitat with other species in some pretty small pools.

beyond that Google gives a few hits as there are a few people having them in eco-ponds...

I work around the rivers in the Pilbara and love seeing the various native fish in the small pools and scours - would love to have a pond/tank along same lines but too cold down here in Perth.

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Last edited by dlf_perth on Jul 28th, '18, 10:38, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Jul 28th, '18, 10:34 
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I have VA mussels in my AP system. Started with about 15. From memory, it was about 3 years ago (there's a photo in my main system thread).

Just recently I realised that many of them were dead (shells empty). I'm not sure if they died of natural causes (maybe reached life expectancy) or not. But all of them lasted at least a couple of years - in a sump tank with catfish and Murray cod and in my main tank with jade and silver perch.

I got them because I was overstocked at the time and had lots of fish waste in my water. I heard they were good at "polishing" the water. Not sure they made much difference... at least nothing really obvious and maybe the solids I was seeing were too large for them to clean up anyway.

I've never seen any tiny ones... so it doesn't look like they were able to spawn (or whatever it is they do) - or maybe the fish I have are not appropriate hosts.

Not sure if any of that is helpful... definitely not relevant to the pygmy perch question.

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PostPosted: Jul 28th, '18, 11:09 
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Thanks for your reply dlf_perth.

It was actually Nocky's posts that brought me to this forum via google.

I've done a lot of googling but there's little specific information mostly, I suspect, because noone has looked into it.

A lot of what I'm surmising is based upon what is *not* being said.

For example, many people (including government departments) advocate using westerns for mosquito control but there's little mention of it when it comes to southerns.

Similarly with the algae, although it's possible that southerns do eat algae and noone has noticed.

I'm in Perth too - the weather here should be fine since the range of both species includes SA which is colder.

The southerns can be ordered online with no restrictions that I can see.

Cohabitation shouldn't an issue - I'm planning on putting in pygmies, yabbies and mussels (which are supposed to get along), and some ramshorns and glass shrimp (which breed easily enough to offset any predation).

I'd like to put in some riffles as well if someone ever figures out how to get the damn things to breed.


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PostPosted: Jul 28th, '18, 19:43 
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Dangerous Dave wrote:
in a sump tank with catfish and Murray cod and in my main tank with jade and silver perch.


Dangerous Dave wrote:
I got them because I was overstocked at the time and had lots of fish waste in my water.


It might be predation, although from my limited reading it could be excess nitrates.

Bit of a downer actually, I'm really looking forward to this working!


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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '18, 06:40 
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Don't be too discouraged. If high nitrates are particularly bad for VA, my system is the worst place they could be. My nitrates have been off the charts for most of the last few years. Fish don't seem to mind and plants seem to do OK.

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '18, 11:46 
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>> The southerns can be ordered online with no restrictions that I can see

doubt WA laws allow for interstate posting, so would have to be a local WA supply.

The Pygmy Perch will be fine - Perth and SW is their range.
I suspect in AP they may be small nutrient producers.

Western Pygmy Perch are relatively easy to come but but pricey unless you can find a breeder willing to sell at bulk rates. I think they go OK in dams and most breeding will probably be small dam/large pond based.

>> because noone has looked into it

often it reflects that it is not a high yielding option (for AP at least).
eg. bream, cobbler etc fall into same category.

I think the hard sell on mosquito feeding is to try and build a response for the eco-ponds and frog benefits in everyday ponds and a small attempt to wean people off goldfish. And probably as a niche option for local pond-fish industry. But I see little mention of breeding or even general information about multi-species eco-ponds, even among the disciples. Of course suppliers would prefer to sell fish at $6-8 each.

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