The mudminnows (Umbra) are relicts from the ice age and nowadays found only in remainings of their initial territory. Three species are still extant, two of them in North America and one in Europe. The European species (U. krameri) is in danger of extinction due to habitat destruction.
Mudminnows are inhabitants of extreme biotopes: swampy areas with changing oxygen content, gross temperature differences and very low pH. In former days they were popular aquarium fish. Today mudminnows are among the absolute rarities in aquaria due to their unspectacular coloration.
Even if it doesn´t look like it: mudminnows are relatively close relatives to pikes (Esox). However, they stay much smaller, reaching hardly 10 cm. Most of them stay even smaller than this. Mudminnows can breath through their swimming bladder and so they can take all oxygen they need from the air.
We can offer now Umbra pygmaea as German bred. The species originates from North America, but can be found today in larger parts of Europe, too, where it has been released. U. pygmaea is very similar to the endangered U. krameri and so many reports for U. krameri may refer in truth to the introduced species. Even if it was as long ago as before 1913 that U. pygmaea was released in German waters, one should always keep in mind that it is absolutely forbidden to release any animal from captivity in the wild, may it be a member of a foreign or a native species.
Mudminnows can be kept very easily in captivity. They fit both for aquaria and garden ponds. It is good for them if peat as ground is offered. Heaters are not only unneeded, but even harmful. Mudminnows are thus perfect fish for people who have to save electricity. They feed readily on any kind of frozen and live fishfood. Sometimes they can be quarrelsome to conspecifics, so the tank should have a lot of hiding places.
Females grow bigger than the males. Mudminnows take parental care. Females built nests between dense vegetation and tend very aggressively eggs and larvae. For breeding it is necessary to hibernate the fish at low temperatures (4-8°C, less than 8 hours light per day). They start spawing at 13°C and longer photo periods.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer
|Angaben zum Tier|
|Herkunft||Nachzucht / bred|
|Verfügbare Größe in cm||3-4|