A Guide to the Fish within UK Waterways

There are a range of different fish which are native to the UK waterways.  Here is a guide to the different species you might find!

Carp: carp are found in the majority of UK canals and can grow to large sizes.  They are easy to spot due to their dark brown and bronze colouration.  They have a large, rounded body and strong fins.  There are three major strains.  The common carp are fully scaled, mirror carp are partially scaled and learther carp have practically no scales at all!

Roach: the roach makes up the largest numbers of fish within our canals.  Roach are a shoaling fish, silvery grey in colour.  They are often confused with Rudd.  You can be sure by counting the lateral line scales (rudd have 40-55) and check the shape of the mouth – rudd have upturned mouths.

Pike: the pike is a spectacular predator! They have large, bony heads with upward looking eyes, a broad, flat snout and large mouth.  They have a lot of sharp teeth! A torpedo shaped body allows for speedy movement!

You can find out more about fishing within our canal network over at the canal and river trust.

 

Getting Your New Tank Up & Running

There are several things to consider when setting up a new aquarium in your house.  Here are our step by step tips for making an amazing aquarium!

Choose a good fish tank: your tank needs to be big enough to accomodate the fish you want!  You might want to speak to a specialist as they will help you decide how much water you’ll need to work with the fish you want.  They can also help you figure out plants, decor and other bits and bobs to go inside.

Get an aquarium stand!  This is important as most pieces of furniture like desks or tables just aren’t strong enough to support the weight of a fully stocked aquarium!  An aquarium stand is designed for the dimensions and shape of your tank and will definitely be strong enough to hold up the weight of all that water.

Choose the location.  Out of direct sunlight is a good idea, as it away from any air vents or draughts.  Maintaining a constant temperature is vital for your fish.  Make sure the floor is strong enough to support the weight of your tank and try to find a spot near to electicity outlets. You don’t want to have to stretch cords out to reach the plug socket!

Where to Place Your New Aquarium

Building a new aquarium is exciting for families, allowing you to stock it with interesting and unusual breeds of fish as well as plants!  The main concern people have however, is finding the most appropriate location within their home to place their new tank.  There are a few things to consider when placing your new tank.

  1. No direct heat source – it is important to keep your tank away from sunlight and heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators etc.  The heat can affect the life of the fish!
  2. Sturdy cabinet – you must place your tank on a purpose built aquarium cabinet, as these are strong enough to support the weight of a fully stocked tank.  Just using a table or shelf will not always be strong enough!
  3. Away from dangers – you need to keep things like cables, electricity points and pets away from your new tank!

Feeding fish in an aquarium

Not sure what you should feed your fish? Is it a meat-eater, or a vegetarian? This list of feeding types will answer that question for you.

Carnivores

Carnivores are meat-eating fish. Some prefer live prey that they can hunt down and kill before eating, such as other fish or insects. Here are some common carnivorous fish, and what they prefer to eat.

 

Hatchetfish – Prefers live foods but will accept freeze dried and flake foods.

Killifish – Eats small live foods, can be trained to accept flakes.

Knifefish – Eats live foods exclusively

Halfbeak – Prefers live foods, but will eat flakes.

Frontosa – Accepts all types of meaty foods.

Electric Catfish – Prefer live foods, but can be trained to accept freeze dried tablets.

Bettas – Prefers live foods but will accept flakes and freeze dried.

Banjo Catfish – Prefers live foods, but can be trained to accept freeze dried tablets.

Archerfish – Eats live foods exclusively.

Herbivores

Herbivores require a diet of all, or mostely, vegetable matter. True herbivores do not have a large stomach, and therefore must eat more frequently. These fish are primarily vegetarian, and should be fed accordingly.

Molly – Algae-eater that also eats vegetables such as spinach. Will also accept insects and flakes.

Farowella – Eats vVegetable tablets and algae.

Pacu – Prefers fresh vegetables, will eat vegetable flakes and fruits.

Silver Dollar – Feed fresh vegetables, vegetable flakes and tablets.

Tropheus – Acccepts algae, plants, spirulina, vegetable flakes.

Getting the Right Plants for Your Tanks

Aquarium owners should know that aquarium plants available in shops can be “true aquatic plants” or “non-aquatic plants”.  True aquatic plants can be used in aquariums and are able to be put full submerged into the water.  Non aquatic plants are better used in terraniums.  Often, these plants are labelled properly, however there can be mix ups!

Do not assume that just because a plant is displayed fully submerged in water that it is a true aquatic plant for aquariums!  Sometimes, people deliberately choose non aquatic plants because they like the look of them, knowing that they will not last long submerged under water.  It is a good idea to know which plants you have bought so you can expect them to not last for long!

Taking Children On Your Next Fishing Trip

If you have ever taken children on a fishing trip with you, only to find it is a complete disaster and not at all fun, this post is for you!  It is possible to keep your child’s attention and catch enough fish to make it enjoyable for the whole family.

Begin with the right fishing equipment.  There is no point in getting silly little kids fishing rods – you’ll end up spending more time untangling the thing than actually using it!  Simply go for an ultra-light rod and reel.  Get the shortest one you can, but not less than 5 feet.  A spool of good quality line and some torpedo style flotats will be good.  Get someone at your local tackle shop to spool the reel for you and attach the float so that it can slide along the line to the desired length.

Find a good pond to fish at.  It is a good idea to go for one which is quiet, kids can get quite excitable with casting and you don’t want to annoy too many others!

Fishing in the Spring Time: Tips for New Fishermen

The spring is a great month to get out and about on the water, so here are our top tips for making the most of the new season.

The number 1 rule in spring is to simply get out on thwe water as much as you can!  There is a wonderful saying that even the worst fishing day is better than no fishing day at all!    You should also keep a close eye on the weather report – days of unexpected warmth or sunshine are good opporunities to get out and go fishing.

Whilst out, keep looking for the sunnier spots.  The cold water will warm up quickly once the sun brightens up in spring, so more fish will be attracted to the warmer shallows.

Use smaller, more brightly coloured lures during spring, when the water can be muddier or murky.  This helps the fish to see them better, and the smaller lures will seem like less of an effort to chase around.