Physics dictates that as water temperature increases, its ability to hold oxygen decreases. Requiring highly oxygenated water, freshwater trout species naturally inhabit areas of higher elevations, where the water remains cool year-round. As a general rule, older trout will not prosper if suddenly confined in a small enclosure. Young trout, however, can be raised in a fish tank provided the water temperature and oxygen content are regulated to fill their needs.
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Things you need
- 40-gallon aquarium
- Chlorine remover
- High capacity water filter
- Aquarium chiller
- Trout fry
- Trout pellets
- Aquarium net
Set up the tank in a spot where it will not need to be moved. To keep the biological load on the water to a minimum, you will need at least a 40-gallon tank with 5 gallons of volume per fish. For example, a 40-gallon tank will hold up to 8 trout, but 10 trout would require a 50-gallon tank.
Rinse the gravel in clean water. Spread the gravel over the bottom of the tank to a depth of 2 inches.
Fill the tank with water. Add a chlorine remover approved for fish to the water according to the manufacturer's directions.
Place a high-capacity oxygenating water filter in the tank. Choose a filter rated to turn the water over at least 6 times every hour. This requires a 40-gallon tank to have a filter capable of recycling 240 gallons per hour. Clean the filter regularly according to the manufacturer's specifications.
Install an inline water cooler according to the manufacturer's instructions. An inline cooler will pump water from the tank and cool it to a specified temperature before returning the water to the tank. In the wild, trout live in water temperatures from just a few degrees above freezing to the upper 60 degree range, with an optimum temperature range from 10 to 16.7 degrees Celsius. Set the cooler to approximately 56 degrees to allow for fluctuations at each end of the temperature range.
Place a thermometer in the tank. While trout can survive in extremely cold water, the fish will suffer if water temperatures reach much above 70 degrees.
Add trout, up to 8 inches in length, to the tank. Place the plastic bag filled with the water the trout arrived in into the tank for 15 minutes to allow the temperature of the water in the bag to equalise with the temperature in the tank before releasing the fish.
Feed the fish daily. Drop food pellets into the tank until the fish cease feeding aggressively. Stop feeding once the fish begin ignoring the pellets. Remove any uneaten pellets from the water with a net.
Tips and warnings
- Check local laws, as it is illegal in some states to keep wild trout in captivity.
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