Sturgeons are a fascinating species of ancient fish, known for their distinct armor-like scales and long, spindle-shaped bodies. After more than 150 million years, you’d think they’d grow tired of the same old look, but sturgeon are some of the most stubbornly unchanged animals on earth! The Lake Sturgeon can live for more than 100 years, supplement their poor eyesight with taste-testing whiskers and sport armor-like skin that’s as tough as it is smooth to the touch!
While they may not be the typical choice for home aquariums due to their potential size and specific care requirements, these majestic fish can be a captivating addition to large, properly equipped setups. If you’re considering keeping a sturgeon in an aquarium, there are several important factors to take into account. This includes understanding the species suitable for home environments, ensuring the right water conditions, providing sufficient space, and catering to their dietary needs. It’s also crucial to familiarize yourself with any legal considerations surrounding sturgeon keeping in your region. With careful planning, proper maintenance, and a commitment to their wellbeing, it is possible to create a thriving environment for these incredible creatures. Join us as we delve into the unique world of sturgeons in aquariums, where we aim to promote responsible and enriching fishkeeping experiences.
Sturgeon in Aquarium
1. Species Suitable for Aquariums:
Sturgeons are fascinating, ancient fish species that come in various sizes. Not all are suitable for home aquariums due to their potential size. The Beluga and Atlantic Sturgeons, for instance, can grow several meters long, unsuitable for any home aquarium. Smaller species like the Sterlet and Shovelnose Sturgeons are more suitable, though they still require a substantial amount of space.
2. Tank Requirements:
Sturgeons are bottom-dwellers and require a substantial amount of room to move. In some instances, they may even be raised in a pond to provide them with enough space. Whether in a large tank or a pond, the environment should have several hundred gallons capacity even for the smaller species. It should also have a soft, sandy substrate to replicate their natural habitat and prevent any possible injuries. Ensuring such living conditions is vital to maintaining the health and wellbeing of these fascinating fish.
3. Filtration and Water Conditions:
Sturgeons require a strong filtration system due to their significant waste output. Regular water changes and monitoring of water quality, including pH and temperature, are vital for their health. Sturgeons generally prefer cooler, well-oxygenated water. The specific parameters can depend on the species, so it’s important to research and meet their individual needs.
Water conditions are crucial for sturgeons’ health and wellbeing in an aquarium. Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects you need to consider:
- Temperature: Sturgeons prefer cooler water. The optimal temperature can vary by species but generally ranges from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s important to research the specific temperature needs of the sturgeon species you’re keeping.
- pH Level: Sturgeons require a pH level between 7.0 and 8.0. A balanced pH level is essential for the fish’s overall health and helps maintain a stable environment in the tank.
- Water Hardness: Sturgeons prefer moderate to hard water, with a hardness level between 8 and 25 dGH (German hardness).
- Filtration: Sturgeons produce a lot of waste, so a powerful filtration system is necessary. This helps keep the water clean and free from toxins.
- Aeration: Sturgeons need well-oxygenated water to thrive. Make sure your tank has good aeration, either from the filter output or with the use of air stones or air pumps.
- Water Changes: Regular water changes are important to maintain water quality. Generally, a change of 10-20% of the water every week or two is recommended, depending on the size of the tank and the number of fish.
- Nitrates and Ammonia: As with all fish, high levels of nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia can be harmful to sturgeons. A quality filtration system and regular water changes can help control these levels.
Remember, monitoring your water conditions frequently is important. Regular testing allows you to ensure that everything is within the appropriate range for your sturgeon and make adjustments as necessary.
4. Diet and Feeding:
Sturgeons are omnivores, feeding on a diet that includes small fish, crustaceans, worms, and plant matter in their natural environment. In an aquarium setting, they can be fed high-quality sturgeon-specific pellets, along with occasional offerings of live or frozen foods for variety and extra nutrition.
5. Legal and Ethical Considerations:
In many areas, there are legal restrictions on keeping sturgeons due to conservation concerns. Always check your local laws and regulations before acquiring a sturgeon. Also, consider the ethical implications of keeping such a large and potentially long-lived creature in captivity.
6. Breeding Sturgeons:
Breeding sturgeons in a home aquarium is complex and requires precise environmental conditions. Their mating rituals typically require a lot of space, specific water conditions, and exacting care of the eggs and fry. As such, it is usually not feasible for most hobbyists.
Keeping sturgeons in aquariums is a significant undertaking that requires a deep understanding of their needs and behavior. However, for those willing to invest the necessary time, resources, and commitment, it can be a truly rewarding experience, bringing a piece of the ancient aquatic world into your home.