Monday, August 21, 2006

Mosquito Fish for Sacramento

My mosquito-eating fish had babies! I started with three Minnow Shiners about four years ago in my pond. They're quick, clever and eat mosquito larvae, similar to the more locally known Gambusia affinis.

Gambusias are free from the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control but you'll be required to have a technician come out to inspect your pond or water source.

Last year, at my request, a Mosquito Vector technician inspected my pond for mosquito larvae. Because I already had three hungry Minnow Shiners, he noted that I was mosquito larvae free. So, I didn't get any of those free Gambusias. (I had hoped he'd leave me with a few to raise and compare with the Shiners but apparently they just don't dole them out just because you want one. He said my Shiners would do the job.)

I don't know how they compare to the Gambusias, but a Shiner's lifespan is 7-9 years. My four-year olds are about 5 inches long now. They are live torpedos darting about the pond, delighted in annoying my two big Koi. Not nearly as quick on their fins as the Shiners, the Koi occasionally get a teasing poke in the sides by these little whipper-snappers. Otherwise, they all get along well.

I've heard the Gambusias can be aggressive with each other. But, I don't know that much about them to make a fair comparison, except they both eat mosquite larvae. I've never seen the Shiners go after each other except in the heat of passion, which is often and pretty funny to watch. My female Shiner looks pregnant again. So I'm loading up the babies I already have to live at Crystal Aquarium and be sold as pets and/or mosquito fish - they'll do double duty.

My Shiner babies were an unexpected surprise. Ken and Vicky, the owners of Crystal Aquarium have graciously offered to feed them and sell them, since I have run out of space in my pond to care for them. They are wonderful people, through the years helping me in countless ways with my fish problems without having to spend much money. They are also on my list of Favorite Sacramento Businesses.

Most of my Minnow Shiners are now living at Crystal Aquarium, where you can pick them up for 4 for $1.

Crystal Aquarium
50390 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95822