Frozen fish for Belonesox belizanus
by Alan Dunne
If you have ever wanted to keep the Belonesox belizanus but was put off by the amount of live fish you would have to feed it! Well so was I until I had a 3 foot tank full of Goodea atripinnis and guppies and I found that Alan Rothwell had 2 young fish about 1 inch long.
I set up a 2 foot tank for the little monsters and then collected the 2 fish at Western Super Mare festival of fish keeping 95, that Sunday night I settled the two fish down in their new home. Once I had released the monsters into there tank I added a couple of feeder fish to the tank and was amazed that the pike feed almost immediately, from then on the fish were feed twice a day with a fish about half the size of the pike. At about 2½ months the pike started to sex out and turned out to be two males, then a shop in Portsmouth had some 6 inch females and I obtained a nice female.
So far all was fine but after 6 months my fish stocks stared to deplete very quickly.Any spare fish was now going to this pike, I had to change her diet, I tried river shrimps (live) but she had other ideas as one of the two small pike (now 3½ inch fish) disappeared, a 4 inch giant danio went the same way, and she even killed my gibbiceps (but she could not eat the heavily armoured pleco).
At this stage most revert back to the live foods.
I gave her a few days of live foods then starved her for 2 days. Taking a single strand of cotton I tied a double knot, then threaded the other end thorough a sowing needle then pushed the needle thorough the back of a lance fish (frozen) under the dorsal fin, then pulled the cotton thorough the fish until the knot gets to the fish then with a small tug pull the knot just thorough the skin and into the flesh, put the lance fish in the tank with the pike then gently pull and twitch the fish around the tank, don’t do it to fast as if you spook them then they will not feed for a while.
After doing this for 2 days then the male was feeding perfectly, the female was not so easy and had just started to feed after 2 weeks but the fish had to look natural with no sudden movements, the male on the other hands was much easier to feed all you had to do is drop the lance fish in and he would eat it on the drop, this is the one thing the female would never do. After watching my fish for awhile I noticed that the males would switch to feeding on frozen fish much easier than any females would. The fry has to be feed on life foods, from day one they can be feed on daphnia, adult brine shrimp or you can try finely chopped fish but you can’t beat live fish. Only after they are two to three month old can you start to wean then over to dead bait without suffering poor growth. Below is the results of a feeding trial I have carried out on the young fry born to my female.
1 fish, born on 17 August 96 was feed on only live foods, after 8 weeks had reached 1½ inchs and start to sex out to a male. 2 fish (same age) were feed solely feed on finely chopped pieces of fish. They took till January 97 to sex out and had only reached around 1-1½ inches. Most of food wasted as you can’t hang the food in the water and once the pieces of fish had reached the bottom the Belonesox took no further interest in them and they had to be siphoned out to avoid pollution.