and Feeding Of Sturgeon
the Sturgeon to the Aquarium
Sturgeon fingerlings are brought, in September, from the Grand Rapids
Fish Hatchery to Frontier School Division Office in Thompson There
they are placed in a large aquarium (150 gallons) to slowly acclimatize
them to warmer, room temperature water and to eating blood worms
which they will be fed all winter. From the aquarium in Thompson
they will e distributed to all the schools involved in the Sturgeon
Sturgeon fingerlings are usually shipped in a large plastic bag,
which has been inflated with pure oxygen. Because they are now from
an aquarium, (in Thompson) they should already be near the same
temperature as the aquariums in the schools. Sturgeon, like all
fish, cannot tolerate sudden changes in water temperature. The plastic
bag of sturgeon fingerlings should be placed in the aquarium and
left for about 30 minutes so that the temperature can equalize.
After that time, check the temperature of both the aquarium and
the bag. If they are within two degrees Celsius, pour the sturgeon
from the bag into the tank.
sturgeon will be fed bloodworms. Bloodworms are the natural food
in the wild. They are the aquatic larvae of a mosquito like insect,
which may occasionally be seen in large clouds along rivers or lakes.
Unlike mosquitoes, they do not bite.
the first four weeks sturgeon should be fed three times per day.
On weekends feeding only once or twice is acceptable, but they must
be fed every day! Sturgeon, which go off, their food
will starve to death over a period of weeks. Remember to feed them
only blood worms as we have found that sturgeon have proved to be
very unique in their eating habits. Once they are accustomed to
bloodworms they will eat nothing else and will starve, rather than
eat some other foreign (to them) food material.
five or six fingerlings, start with one cube (approximately a teaspoon)
of blood worms at each feeding. Thaw the frozen bloodworms in a
cup of aquarium water. Once it thaws, pour off the stained water
and the little broken bits, which float up. Throwing this waste
material out makes it easier to keep the aquarium clean and the
water clear. Then, add more water and pour the bloodworms into the
avoid plugging the filter by sucking food through the intake, turn
it off during feeding. Do not forget to turn it back on! The sturgeon
may die if the filter is left off over night.
sturgeon will eat only a certain amount of food at each feeding.
After about fifteen minutes they have eaten all that they are going
to eat and they will ignore the leftovers completely. They will
eat again only when they get a fresh feeding. The main disadvantage
to using fresh food is that it is difficult for the filter to deal
with both the waste products generate by the sturgeon and the breakdown
of large amounts of leftover food. To avoid fouling the aquarium,
leftover food must be removed approximately fifteen minutes after
the sturgeon are fed. The easiest way to do this is to use a scoop
net to strain the leftover food from the tank. This is why it is
important to not have any gravel in the aquarium.
the sturgeon grow they will need more food. Watch the amount left
over after each feeding. If there is a lot, reduce the size of the
feeding. If there is almost none, increase the size of the feeding.
Watch and make sure that all of the sturgeon get something to eat.
Typically some of the fish will start to grow faster. If there is
not enough food, they will get almost all of it and the smaller
sturgeon may start to starve.
they were in the hatchery, the sturgeon were given a salt bath every
week. Salt bathes are usually given to treat gill fungus. If the
fungus develops to the point where it is visible on a young sturgeon,
it is usually too late for treatment and the sturgeon will die.
Sturgeon in aquariums should also be given a salt bath every week
for at least the first four weeks. After that time the frequency
of salt baths may be reduced.
give a salt bath, put four litres of aquarium water into a container
such as an ice cream pail. Add two level tablespoons of uniodized
salt to the four litres of water and stir to dissolve. Our schools
use only salt supplied by Natural Resources. Gently move all of
the sturgeon from the aquarium into the salt bath. Leave them there
for a maximum of five minutes. Watch them carefully all of the time
that they are in the salt bath since it can be stressful. The sturgeon
may become quite agitated when they are added to the salt water,
but they should calm down. If a sturgeon does not calm down, or
starts to have problems maintaining its equilibrium, return it to
the aquarium immediately.
the salt bath, take one cup of salt water and add it to the aquarium.
This is a good idea for the health of the sturgeon. The presence
of salt ions in the water also helps reduce the toxicity of the
nitrites. Nitrites are produced as the waste products excreted by
the sturgeon break down. Until the filter is fully established (a
process taking about 40 days) nitrite levels can become very high
and can even kill the sturgeon. A small amount of salt in the water
is important protection against nitrite toxicity.
baths may be considered a universal panacea for any problem that
the sturgeon fingerlings are having. It is almost the only treatment
option available for a sick sturgeon. A salt bath may be given to
a sick sturgeon at any time (not just once a week). They can even
have more than one in a day; however, they should still only stay
in the bath for five minutes. It is not entirely clear why a salt
baths help. One theory is that it may help maintain ion levels in
the sturgeon's blood in the same manner that a saline intravenous
injection does for a person who is in shock.
carefully at the sturgeon, which you are raising in your aquarium.
These fish came a long way for us to learn from them. Few people
have the opportunity to see sturgeon when they are this young. The
most noticeable feature is the five rows of sharp scutes, which
run along the length of each fish. The scutes are hard and sharp
and are an important defense against predation. By the second year
the scutes will have developed to the point where the sturgeon are
as dangerous a bag full of razor blades. It is hard to imagine how
even a pike could eat one. As they grow the scutes continue to become
larger and stay very sharp. As they mature the scutes will remain,
but the sharp projecting hook will disappear. This reduction in
the protection the scutes offer no longer matters since the sturgeon
are too large for any other fish to eat by this time.
scutes of a small sturgeon are so sharp that one once seriously
damaged an inflatable boat. Fisheries staff were tagging sturgeon
early in the spring, shortly after the ice went out. They were pulling
their net into their boat and did not feel any sturgeon in the net.
A small sturgeon, only about 50 cm long, was pulled over the side
of the pontoon cutting a large slash in it. The boat immediately
started to collapse and they were lucky to reach the shore before
the boat sank.