We report successful captive spawning and rearing of the highly endangered Moapa Dace, Moapa coriacea (approximately 650 individual fish in existence at time of this study). We simulated conditions under which this stream-dwelling southern Nevada cyprinid and similar species spawned and reared in the wild by varying temperature, photoperiod, flow, and substrate in 14 different spawning and rearing treatments in a propagation facility. Successful spawning occurred in artificial streams with the following characteristics: water flow directed both across the bottom gravel substrate into a cobble bed and across the upper water column; 12–14 fish/stream (0.016–0.026 fish/L depending on water level); static water temperature of 30–32°C; photoperiod of 12 h light and 12 h dark; gradual replacement of water from their natal stream with on-site well water; a combination of pelleted, frozen and live food; and minimal disturbance of fish. Nevada Department of Wildlife now uses these techniques successfully to produce fish in a culture setting. Identification of the effective combination of factors to trigger spawning in exceptionally rare fishes can be difficult and time consuming, and limiting factors can be subtle. Sufficient numbers of available test fish, close study and replication of wild spawning conditions, careful documentation, and patience to identify subtle limiting factors are often required to effectively rear and spawn fishes not previously propagated.
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Vol. 106 • No. 4