Thursday, December 8, 2011

Logperch, Ashys, and Sunfish, Oh My!

The transition from our hatchery facility in Cohutta, GA, to our recirculating facility in Chattanooga, TN, has been quite the adjustment for TNACI this year. As the Lake Sturgeon project is winding down for the year, we are expanding the number of species we work with and taking on new projects. A greenhouse onsite has been converted into fish grow-out and propagation space. Currently there are three species living there with more to come soon.

The new TNACI fish propagation area, currently housing six separate recirculating systems making up 19 fish enclosures.
:Conasauga Logperch in the Conasauga River during the collection trip for the brood stock for the breeding project. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Calhoon)

In partnership with Conservation Fisheries Inc. (CFI), we are housing Conasauga Logperch and Ashy Darters! The Conasauga Logperch are part of a cooperative effort (also with US Fish and Wildlife Service and Georgia Department of Natural Resources) to assist the wild population of this species by developing techniques for a captive propagation and reintroduction program. In 2010, we helped CFI collect a group of broodstock. Amazingly, CFI produced a bumper crop (over 700!) of little guys in the first year of the program. So 120 of them are growing strong at TNACI until they can be released.

As for the Ashy Darters, they were part of a different program to learn to breed this species - which was obviously also successful! These darters will be held through the winter until they go to the Tennessee Aquarium for exhibit.

Two young Ashy Darters.
The three species in the genus Enneacanthus are another group we’re starting to work with in the new greenhouse facility. Blackbanded Sunfish are being held in a heavily planted system in hopes that the natural sunlight, temperature fluctuations and vegetation will optimize breeding for this species. There are many more plans for this space in the works. It is exciting to plan for the future and have the facilities to accomodate new conservation opportunities that will benefit freshwater species in the Southeast!

Blackbanded Sunfish in our breeding tank.

See a video of the Blackbanded Sunfish eating on our Facebook page!!/pages/Tennessee-Aquarium-Conservation-Institute/151884801512568

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