Fish for mosquito control for Frog Ponds in Melbourne

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Peter Hohaus
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Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Fish for mosquito control for Frog Ponds in Melbourne

Postby Peter Hohaus » Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:06 am

I was just having a poke around your frog web site and saw the page
on mosquito control and thought I put in my "two bobs worth"
In general small native fish can be readily obtained from the
St Kilda Aquarium (148 Barkly Street, St Kilda) and from
Blackburn Aquarium, 294 Middleborough Road and many other
reputable aquarium suppliers in Melbourne. I certainly would not use gold fish.

Species such as Pygmy Perch, Murray River Rainbows, Western Carp
Gudgeon, Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon, Spotted Galaxias and Common Galaxias
etc are commonly available and most aquariums seem able to order all of
these in (they all seem to use the same master supplier).

Varieties such as Silver and Golden Perch and Murray Cod are also offered by
innocent shop assistants, but these should be avoided for frog ponds (I was
accidentally sold a Murray Cod mixed in with a batch of Pygmy Perch,
by a well intentioned shop assistant).

I believe Craig Cleeland has actually done experiments where he has put tadpoles
in with native fish and observed what happened. He seemed to find that
Murray River rainbows were particularly aggressive and I got the impression
from him that they'd eat anything they could get into their mouth.

In general I think it's a good idea to minimise the number of fish in a
frog pond and to provide lots of plant cover. If people aren't purist about
it, a few zebra danios would do the job just as well as the native fish and
every aquarium sells those.

I put into my pond Murray River Rainbows, Pygmy Perch, Purple Spotted
Gudgeons, Smelts. I haven't done "scientific observations", but from my casual
interactions I would leave out the Gudgeons and Rainbows second time around.
I raised some spotted galaxias (Galaxias maculatus) in a tank to see how they behaved
and felt that they were far too aggressive to put into a frog pond....they would instantly
devour any live food I introduced to the tank, but I never tried their reaction to tadpoles.
I suspect they would have gone the way of the water boatmen, shrimp,daphnia etc....

I also have western carp gudgeons in my water pots around the garden.
Gudgeons are extremely tough in the event that the water over heats. They certainly
clean up the mossies, but I don't know how these behave with tadpoles.

Perhaps we should fund a researcher at ARC to check it out ie reputed
"frog friendly species" vs reality of what gets eaten under which conditions.....

Personally I like pygmy perch, but, again, I haven't stress-tested these. Certainly they
were very well behaved in my observation tanks and don't seem to cause
any obvious problems in my frog pond, since we have tadpoles growing quite happily
in the pond. Pygmy perch breed easily, but seem not to get "out of control".

Our frog pond is fairly large for a suburban garden and it's heavily planted, so fish
and tadpoles can easily hide. A trick we use to check what’s going on with the fish
population is to put in a bowl of aquatic “black wormsâ€Â￾. Most aquariums sell these.
We leave the bowl for 20 minutes at night and then shine a light on the bowl.
That way you can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on with the fish.

Galaxiella pusilla are a little native fish Melbourne Water are testing for use
for mosquito control these days (well according to an article in the Melbourne Age).
They're so tough they can survive buried in mud when the water dries up.
I haven't found these commercially available yet, but I'm looking around.

Cheers, Peter Hohaus
Last edited by Peter Hohaus on Sat Aug 02, 2003 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Peter Hohaus
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tadpole
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Victorian Fish

Postby Peter Hohaus » Wed Jul 09, 2003 7:39 pm

Here are some useful references for the fish which have been
discussed as suilable for Melbourne ponds.
They also make fine aquarium fish.

Mosquito fish are the BAD Guys: Gambusia Control Homepage
http://www.gambusia.net/ Never introduce these fish.

Dwarf Galaxias (Galaxiella pusilla)
http://www.ifc.tas.gov.au/fact_sheets/g ... silla.html

Southern Pygmy Perch
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/southern-pygmy-perch.html

http://216.239.53.104/search?q=cache:ww ... alis&hl=en

Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/purple.html

Western Carp Gudgeon
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/wcarpgud.html

Australia Smelt
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/Species ... fm?ID=6511
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/smelt.html

Murray River Rainbow Fish
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/rainbow.html

Spotted Galaxia
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/galtrutt.html

Climbing Galaxias
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/brevipinnis.html

Common galaxias
http://www.nativefish.asn.au/common_galaxias.html

Freshwater Mollusks (Snails and Clams)
http://members.aol.com/mkohl1/FWshells.html

Smith
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Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:37 am
Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Postby Smith » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:40 am

Hi, just wanted to say thanks for your post. This is exactly the kind of info on mozzie controlling fish I've been looking for. I'm leaning towards getting some smelt for my small backyard pond in Kew.
Cheers
Laura

Sean
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Posts: 183
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:38 am

Postby Sean » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:48 pm

Here's some more information written by our forum member Nathan Litjens:

http://www.runwildtv.com/how-we-do-it/i ... ly-fishes/

8)

edit: if it is small you might want to look into oxygenation if you haven't already.

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Nick Thorne
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 12:12 pm
Location: Lilydale, Victoria
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Re: Fish for mosquito control for Frog Ponds in Melbourne

Postby Nick Thorne » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:59 pm

Peter Hohaus wrote:Galaxiella pusilla are a little native fish Melbourne Water are testing for use
for mosquito control these days (well according to an article in the Melbourne Age).
They're so tough they can survive buried in mud when the water dries up.
I haven't found these commercially available yet, but I'm looking around.


Whilst these guys would be almost the perfect fish for frog pond use in Melbourne, they are listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act and are totally protected in Victoria. It is illegal to hold them, or gather them from the wild without a specific permit from DSE, which is very unlikely to be granted for a backyard pond. This is a pity in my opinion as getting these guys into the aquarium trade might help with preventing the species from going extinct.

As for the surviving water drying up, the latest research has shown that this was a myth and what was happening in reality was that the fish were re-colonising from adjacent areas after the water returned.

G. pusilla do not take handling very well and are easily stressed by netting (even soft aquarium type nets) and easily lose scales which is often followed up by catastrophic infection. Hopefully, if a strain could be established in captivity this trait might be bred out of them, but getting permission to be able to even try this is likely to be problematic. This species is particularly vulnerable to predation from damnbusia and are subject to fin nipping and general harassment from that species.

BTW, my avatar is a G. pusilla.


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