Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arizona Project

Methods for Headwaters and Roundtail Chub Culture (Gila nigra and Gila robusta)

January 2005 - May 2007


Participating Agencies

  • Quick Response

Headwaters chub Gila nigra and roundtail chub Gila robusta are endemic to the American Southwest. Populations of these fish have been reduced or extirpated throughout its range due to loss and modification of aquatic habitats and the introduction of nonnative species. The ability to culture Arizona’s threatened native fishes for recovery efforts is lacking for many species, yet is a critical need for the proper management and conservation of this fauna. The natural-history strategies and requirements of these chub species are poorly understood. Culture techniques and requirements are virtually unknown for this species. The limited information available on culture techniques and general life-history of roundtail and headwaters chub is a deterrent to the recovery of this species. The future of roundtail and headwaters chub may someday depend on hatchery propagation to help restore the species by providing specimens for restocking of formerly occupied habitats and supplementing faltering populations. Because of the lack of quantitative information on the culture techniques and requirements for roundtail and headwaters chub, we have the following objectives for our study: (1) Establish a brood stock of roundtail and headwaters chub; (2) Determine effective methods to spawn roundtail and headwaters chub in captivity; (3) Determine best methods to grow-out roundtail and headwaters chub in captivity; (4) Test how selected chemical and physical conditions (e.g., temperature, photoperiod, dissolved oxygen, water depth, fish density, substrate, type of feed, etc.) affect the spawning and growth of roundtail and headwaters chub. This experiment is currently being conducted at the University of Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station and the University of Arizona Main Campus. Headwaters chub have been successfully spawned and experiments were concluded on feed type, density and temperature effects on growth. We were unable to spawn roundtail chub in aquaria. A thesis and final report is currently being concluded.