Tucson's First Aquarium Society


The bluenose shiner (Pteronotropis welaka) is a species of freshwater fish in theCyprinidae family. The bluenose shiner is a slender minnow, 2.1 inches in length, with a compressed body, a pointed snout, and a terminal to subterminal mouth.  This species exhibit striking sexual dimorphism.  The male shows a bright blue snout and greatly enlarged dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins.

It is found only in the United States, mostly in Florida and parts of Alabama.  The habitat is deep, slow-moving coastal creeks and small to medium streams and rivers and prefers deep pools with slow current rather than shallow areas.  They are strongly associated with aquatic vegetation including Sparganium, Sagittaria, and bladderwort.  

Bluenose shiners may be found in the Pearl River, Apalachicola River, and St. Johns River but is apparently not found in Escatawpa River and Perdido River.  It is known to have a fragmented population and so has a spotty distribution in Chippola river, Choctawhatchee River, Yellow River, Conecuh River, Alabama River and Tombigbee River.  

It is believed that Bluenose Shiners eat large amounts of filamentous algae but has a primary diet of insects and rotifers.  

he bluenose shiner is found in very soft water, at a pH of from 6.4 to 7.0, often at a temperature of 50 to 78°F. However, in a home aquarium, they will survive at a pH of 8.4 and a temperature of 80°F, they will do best in conditions closer to those of their natural habitat.  Experience has shown that they live about 2 to 3 years in a home aquarium.

In the wild, the species exhibits insectivorous feeding activity by quickly darting to the surface to devour any unlucky small insect that happens to fall on the water. Otherwise, they lie in wait for any morsel that may float their way in the prevailing current of the stream, thereby avoiding predation by wading birds. In captivity, the bluenose shiner readily accepts flake foods. Live foods are relished also and are especially useful when conditioning adults for spawning.

Spawning takes place in the spring, when adults form shoals in shallow areas to deposit their eggs into the nests of the longear sunfish, Lepomis megalotis. In fact, if you frighten a male sunfish away from his nest, bluenose shiners rush in and engage in a rapid, frenzied spawning which is over in a matter of seconds. 

In the aquarium, the males engage in a fins-flared, Betta-like display of their dorsal, ventral and anal fins, then rapidly circle each other in a 360° arc for several seconds. After this, the entire school of males and females may participate in spawning, scattering eggs all over the substrate of the tank. Although the large dorsal, ventral and anal fins of the males are generally held in a relaxed, folded condition, males will briefly flick their fins open to entice any females to spawn. However, the males will only display their fully-flared fins to a rival male.

In 2013, the conservation status was changed from Data Deficient to Vulnerable. It is threatened by streamside vegetation removal for agricultural and urban development and overcollection for the aquarium trade.

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus/Species: Pteronotropis welaka
Common Name: Bluenose shiner

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