Bittern | The pond fish that lays its eggs in the freshwater mussel
Chris van der Velde
All about the bitterling
- What kind of fish is the chub?
- Chub in the pond
- The special relationship between a chub and the freshwater mussel
- Reproduction of the bitterling
- The bitterling in combination with pond plants
What kind of fish is the chub?
The chub is a freshwater fish belonging to the Cyprinidae (carp-like) family. It is a small fish commonly found in freshwater streams, rivers and lakes in Europe and Asia. The bitterling is named for its slightly bitter taste, which comes from the substances secreted in its skin as a defense mechanism against predators.
Chub in the pond
If you want chub in your pond, you should keep in mind that the carps like to swim in groups and they need hiding places, this you create by planting enough aquatic plants in the pond. The bitterling is an omnivore and eats a variety of foods, including insect larvae, small crustaceans, worms and algae(floating algae, filamentous algae). During the winter months, bitterlings feed mainly on algae and other plant nutrients. In addition, it is important to supplement the bitterling with balanced fish food that contains sufficient vitamins and minerals. In addition, the bitterling is sensitive to pollution and changes in water quality, so it is important to set up your pond properly set up to maintain the water values stable, then testing of PH values and the like is unnecessary.
The best fish food for the chub
The special relationship between a chub and the freshwater mussel
There is an interesting relationship between the bitterling and some species of freshwater mussels. The bitterling feeds on small pond animals and insect larvae growing on the mussel shells, while the mussels benefit from the protection the bitterling provides against natural enemies. In addition, the bitterback chub helps disperse mussel larvae. The larvae of freshwater mussels have a life stage as parasites on fish, attaching to the gills or skin of the fish. The bitterling is a suitable host for these larvae, allowing them to spread to new areas. This relationship between bitterch and freshwater mussels is thus important for the food supply, protection and reproduction of both species.
Reproduction of the bitterling
The reproduction of the chub is remarkable because this fish species depends on freshwater mussels for reproduction. Between April and September, females lay their eggs in the gill cavity of a live freshwater mussel. This mussel then closes its shell to protect the eggs from predators and environmental factors. The mussel also provides a good environment for the eggs to develop. The larvae remain in the mussel until they are about 1 centimeter in size and fully developed. Then the young chub emerge from the shell of the mussel and swim away to further develop and grow up in the waters.
Pond plants as hiding places for the chub
Pond plants are a must if you want the pond fish chub to feel at home in your pond. This is because the chub uses pond plants as shelter for itself and for its mussels in which the carp-like fish has laid its eggs. - Simon
Pond plants for the bitterling
The bitterling in combination with pond plants
If you want chub in your pond, it is important to provide plenty of hiding places, in the form of pond plants and possibly rocks. Good choices are floating plants such as water lilies or hornwort. These plants have hard leaves and are less attractive for the chub to nibble on. Water plants with a dense structure, such as crabgrass or waterweed, may be suitable as hiding places for chub.
Frequently asked questions about the bitterling
The bitterling is found in still or slow-flowing water, such as ditches, canals and ponds.
A female chub can lay between 500 and 2,000 eggs per season, depending on her size and condition. The number of eggs can also vary depending on factors such as water quality and food availability.
Simon van der Velde
Pond specialist and aquatic plant grower since 1986
Simon's vision is to let nature do its work in your pond. No need to buy all kinds of measuring equipment and water improvers. If the fish are swimming nicely and the plants are growing well, then the water in the pond is of good quality. With a good planting plan and the right approach, you can save a lot of money and maintenance, and ensure a clear, biologically balanced pond that becomes more beautiful every year.