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About Sturgeon

KEEPING STURGEON GUIDE

Basic pond conditions:

This is just a guide because no two ponds are the same and water parameters will fluctuate.
Numbers and sizes of fish, size of pond and filters, even food types all change the balance of water keeping, these are basic guide lines to give you an idea of the water parameters sturgeon will be happy in.

Parameters:

PH: 6.0 – 8.5

Total hardness 50-400ppm

Oxygen 8mg/L
(minimum in summer)

Ammonia (NH3) 0.01 mg/L
Nitrite (No2) 0.01 mg/L
Nitrate (No3) 100 mg/L

Temperature 2c – 22c

Feeding:
Sturgeon are bottom feeders that eat meat, yes they are meat eaters.
Sturgeon DO NOT eat algae and clean the bottom of the pond.
Feed Sturgeon every day a minimum of 4-5% of their body weight. It is better to feed them little amounts but often rather than one big feed per day. Feed throughout the year on sturgeon high protein sinking food/pellet. We use coppens and havent found any better food out there to date.
we suggest 44 – 45%  protein content and above because we have grown sturgeon on food with more and less protein percentage. Sturgeon food with less than 44% protein in our opinion do not grow as well. Its standard food and due to malnutrition been the main killer of sturgeon do not scrimp on the protein content to save a few quid. Purchase real sturgeon food and they will grow big, strong and lean not short and fat, like they become if fed on the basic trout pellets.
Best to buy specially made Sturgeon food,
we recommend feeding in the morning evening and before you go off to bed or just after dark due to them being dusk till dawn feeders and very active at night.

Lack of food is the main issue for sturgeon stress and fatalities.
They must be fed daily!
If you miss a feed here and there, okay it happens, try feed daily especially when below a size of 12 inch.
Signs of malnutrition in sturgeon are,
Starting to bend..this is too late, the sturgeon or sterlet is dying and will die from starvation. Although swimming upside down on the surface is a regular sight in juvenile sturgeon as they are always hungry.
To see this behaviour above a size of 12 inch the sturgeon is at least very hungry, up its daily intake of food. Little but often is better.
Sucking the mucus off another fish or sucking the sides of the pond also indicates the sturgeon is starving or at least very hungry.

Sturgeon do not eat algae or clean the bottom of the pond.
Sturgeon will sift through debris in your pond trying to find insects or missed food
but do not to eat the dead leaves and plant debris.
The benefit with sturgeon being a true bottom feeder is the constantly stirring up the debris on the bottom of your pond and this all ends up in the filter leaving a cleaner pond bottom for ponds without bottom drains.

Sturgeon are friendly placid fish that can live along side other species of pond fish including koi, goldfish, orfe and tench etc.
With no issues or problems at all.
Be aware of the larger fish at 4-5ft plus swallowing the odd fingerlings.. But saying that all fish will pick out the weak and finish them off.

We normally  see ponds with 10 fish and only 1 sturgeon for example and we always wondered why..most people we have asked mentioned the size sturgeon can reach, a very valid point, you must build a suitable size pond, while calculating your pond build also plan for a few sturgeon as most ponds 8/10 will end up with a sturgeon in it, we say plan for two at least because a lonely sturgeon is not a very happy one in our experience.

They are social, sleep/rest together, feed together, swim together and new studies have shown they will communicate with one another with a deep rumbling sound. Sturgeon are a lot more at ease with a few other sturgeon or sterlets about.

Sturgeon or at least our Sturgeon are pretty much bullet proof, another good reason to purchase from KC. Sturgeon kept within good quality water will put a lot of other fish to shame health wise.
Sturgeon health issues can arise but if fed daily in good water with plenty of aeration you shouldn’t have any issues at all.
Rarely bothered by parasites in the garden pond and are immune to most fish diseases and viruses, although as vectors they can carry disease unaffected.
We keep only Sturgeon and Sterlets.

Unfortunately most chemical treatments for ponds have not been tested on sturgeon, just mainly koi, so beware and take precautions when using PP, Formalin products for fish. Algae treatments can be harmful to sturgeon and sometimes be fatal due to stripping the water of oxygen, causing lack of air issues for sturgeon. Take them out and place in QT/hospital tanks while treatments take place if possible..every pond should have some sort of QT/hospital tank. Some treatments are pictured with “safe for sturgeon” but do not trust if unsure, as marketing does not care for your sturgeon becoming ill or even surviving the treatment.
Some treatments will starve the sturgeon of oxygen and others with metals don’t sit well with sturgeon and some may kill them within 20-30mins once in the pond.

I’ve been asked a few times which treatments are safe for sturgeon, we always say none, there is one or two that maybe safe but this could be due to it been weak and of no benefit anyway, or claimed to be made safe for all fish, Personally i do not trust these treatmens with mine and you should be careful too.
This goes for all types, Sterlets, Sturgeon and the giants Huso.
Best to take Sturgeon and Sterlets out while treating the pond and salt bath the sturgeon if you feel the need.

Sturgeon are anadromous fish meaning they spend parts of their lives in the wild in both
sea water and fresh water. They live in seawater and spawn in freshwater. So a salt bath would be good for them once in a while.
Sterlets are considered only to dwell in freshwater in the wild.
So lets say Sterlets are freshwater fish.
A salt bath is fine but a lower Salt content would be better for Sterlets.
2oz salt per gallon of water for sturgeon.


The garden pond and sturgeon:

Plants in the pond such as long grasses, reeds and iris type plants can be an issue for very small sturgeon and sterlets because they cannot swim backwards and can become trapped. The five rows of scutes running along the full length of their body, blanket weed can be very dangerous for small sturgeon if it grows out of control. Heron or saftey nets can pose a similar problem of snagging sturgeon if left hanging on the waters surface so beware of this too.

A heavily planted pond can be trouble for sturgeon, during hot summer nights where the plants stop producing oxygen and produce carbon dioxide instead, the content of oxygen in the water is very low due to the high temperature. Air pumps or a waterfall should be installed as a precaution.
Sturgeon prefer 8-11mg/L content of dissolved oxygen,
Koi live happily with an oxygen content of 6mg/L.

Fish breath air, not water.

So to quickly remind ourselves,
Feed daily the right type of high protein sinking food.
Plenty of aeration/oxygenated water
Be careful if treating the pond or other fish with chemicals and check the label, if its not safe for orfe its normally not safe for sturgeon.
If you’re still unsure, remove Sturgeon from pond and place in qt/hospital tank while treatments are used.

We hope this basic guide has helped you understand a little more about Sturgeon and Sterlets and how to keep them.

Written by
Mark Addey
Sturgeon Guy 

Different Sturgeon Varieties

Here is a table of the different breeds of Sturgeon that can be found.

Common Name Latin Name Nicknames
Adriatic Acipenser Naccarii Italian Sturgeon
Amu Darya Pseudoscaphirhynchus Ramufanni Great shovelnose Sturgeon
Atlantic Acipenser oxyrinchus American Black Common Sturgeon
Beluga Huso Huso Giant Great Sturgeon
Chinease Paddlefish Psephurus Gladius Sword Sturgeon
Chinease Sturgeon Acipenser Sturio Baltic European Sea Sturgeon
Dwarf Sturgeon Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni Small little Amu-Darya Sturgeon
Green Sturgeon Acipenser medirostris Barbell Sturgeon
Gulf Sturgeon Acipenser Oxyrinchus Densotoi Densotoi
Hybrids Huso Huso x ruthenus Bester, Dexter Sturgeon
Hybrids Coloured sturgeon Harlequin, Leopard Sturgeon
Kaluga Huso Dauricus Great Siberian, Manchurian Sturgeon
Lake Sturgeon Acipenser Fuluenscens Rock sturgeon
Paddlefish Polyodon Spathula Spoonbill
Pallid Scaphirhynchus Albus Pallid
Persian Sturgeon Acipenser Persicus Persian
Russian Sturgeon Acipenser Gueldenstaedtii Azov-black sea, Diamond back, Danube Sturgeon
Ship Sturgeon Acipenser nudiventris Fringebarbel, Spiny, Thorn, Bastard Sturgeon
Short Nose Sturgeon Acipenser brevirostrum Little Sturgeon
Shovelnose Sturgeon Scaphirhynchus Platorynchus Sand Sturgeon
Siberian Acipenser Baerii Lana River, Long nosed Sturgeon
Stellate Sturgeon Acipenser Stellatus Starry, Star, Sevruga, Stellatus Sturgeon
Sterlet Acipenser Ruthenus Starlet, Albino, Sterlet
White Sturgeon Acipenser Transmontanlus Columbia, Oregon, American White, Pacific Sturgeon
Yangtze Acipenser dabryanus River, Jangtze, Dabrys Sturgeon

About Sturgeon and Sterlets.

Sturgeon are practically unchanged from the fossils found over 200 million years ago, some fossils dating back to the carboniferous period.
The family of sturgeon are known as ACIPENSERIFORMES.
This includes Sturgeon, Sterlet, Huso and Paddlefish species.
They as a fish have not changed or evolved much at all since primitive times. Sturgeon have a cartilaginous skeleton as five rows of bony plates or scutes as they are more commonly called, running the full length of their bodies. The head is long, pointed and in most cases quite flat, with a row of four barbels underneath just before the ventrally located mouth. The mouth has no teeth and sturgeon feed with a sucking motion. Sturgeon are perfectly developed for dwelling at the deep depths.
Today there are some 26 species. Unfortunately all types are on the endangered list, and some critically endangered.
These fish survived the meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs.


More recently dams, overfishing and pollution have taken its toll on the sturgeon populations in the last century making them the number one most endangered living creature on the planet.


These fish are my favourite fish of all fish and this inspired me to set up a sturgeon farm here in the UK, personally I couldn’t think of a more rewarding job. We keep many types some are hybrids of Sturgeon and Sterlets, which are bred and raised on sturgeon farms, Not from the wild and in turn help the wild stocks regain some headway against poachers and being caught and sold on the black markets.
For their:
Caviar,
Meat,
Leather,
Isinglass,
All products from sturgeon.

With farms around like us at KC we can supply the ornamental trade with these stunning, fascinating fish, 100% disease free, very healthy and with no impact on wild stocks.

Unfortunately we’re still living in a world where some people still treat sturgeon very badly, just a fish that is easy to sell and they don’t care about the health of the fish at all. Without naming these people, KC can say we have visited a few of these places within the UK and we were disappointed to see very poor care for sturgeon and sterlets is still happening in this day and age. Buy from us to be sure of a hassle free transaction and the highest quality of sturgeon. 

 

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