Planning A Native Tank

GetItSahn

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My father has decided he would like to start a native tank with fish from our local ponds and such. The first thing he said was he wanted a fish that eats other fish lol so the plan would be to capture the thousands of little minnows and use them as food since that's what they would be eating in the wild any way.(unless this is a terrible idea, please tell me if it is)
 
The tank will be anywhere from a 29 to a 55 (55 is the biggest he will buy so the species need to be able to go in there comfortably). Some fish we have in mind are what we call sunfish, bluegill, crappie, small/large mouth bass, maybe a smaller turtle?, or pretty much any native fish that come from our ponds here in Virginia. Would this tank need to be heavily planted and if so, with native plants or standard aquarium plants? I figured we'd have alot rocks and driftwood to make it look like the bottom of a pond or lake.
 
Any suggestions would be great to hear as my dad called me yesterday and said he wanted this and asked how I could make it happen. He's paying for it all but he hasn't had an aquarium in 15 years and alot has changed so I'm taking care of everything as far as compatibility and cycling, not a bad deal eh?
 

Barb-barian

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Crayfish! They are native to the US not sure on Virginia but it seems like it would be. The fish you are looking at can get sizeable so would have to go with the 55g. This is based off research on their wild counter parts so they probably wont get as big but would be a good guess to see the approximate size.  Very cool idea would love to see how this works out.
Just a cautionary note but I would be careful about feeding wild minnows to your fish because feeding sick fish to fish will make the healthy fish sick. Could set up another take to house them before feeding and will help to control this but I can imagine you would run into the same problem at a LFS
 
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GetItSahn

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We have so many wild crayfish in our ponds but that's one of a bass's favorite foods so I doubt they could coexist in such a small environment. I was hoping I could slide with a 29 but 55 DOES seems to be the best bet. As far as the minnows go, wouldn't the fish be eating those minnows in the wild anyway? I figured if they ate them in the wild they could eat them in a controlled environment.
 
Thanks for your feedback Barb-barian!
 

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