Lake Ellesmere Biotope (NZ Natives)

Lake Ellesmere is a large lake South of Christchurch that has been a big part of my life over the years. I have spent hundreds of hours fishing for Brown Trout and chasing mallard Ducks at various locations around the lake so when I had a 3 foot tank spare it seemed like a good idea to turn it into a cold water natives tank with plants and fish from Lake Ellesmere.


Gobiomorphus cotidianus – Common Bully x 3
Galaxias maculatus Inanga (Adult Whitebait) x 5
Carassius auratus – Goldfish x 5
Paratya curvirostris – Glass Shrimp  (removed as Inanga ate most of them)

Ghost Shrimps from lake Ellesmere

Common bullies from lake Ellesmere.

Inanga (Whitebait) from lake Ellesmere

Goldfish - Wild caught specimens from Lake Ellesmere.

Unfortunately the Inanga turned out to be very predatory and ate most of the glass shrimps and the smaller bullies, so the remaining shrimps were removed to a tank of their own.   I hope to find a Giant Bully to add to the tank, but so far all the large bullies I have found have just been large common bullies.   The Goldfish were caught as tiny 3mm fry  at the mouth of a creek flowing into the lake, I suspected they were goldfish but wasn’t sure so i grew them out in a tank of their own until they were large enough to put in with the Inanga. They will outgrow the tank in a year or two which may be the incentive i need to put a pond in the garden.

 My first effort at introducing fish to this setup was nearly a disaster as within 3 days the fish all developed a serious case of whitespot (parasite infection)…   not something I expected from wild caught fish as I had never associated whitespot with natives, (thinking it was only a problem with Tropical fish and occasionally goldfish.) but upon doing some research apparently it is very common for wild caught NZ natives to come down with whitespot, so the parasites must be endemic.  Any fish added to this tank are now quarantined for 2 weeks first, and they invariably come down with a whitespot infection which I treat with strong salt baths.

Whitespot on Bully
Whitespot on Bully
Whitespot on Inanga
Whitespot on Inanga










I have tried a few different native aquatics without a whole lot of success, I need to do a serious upgrade on the lighting and redo the substrate with aquabasis.

Elodea canadensisOxygen weed – Goldfish Ate most of it.
Potomageton crispus – Summer Temps too high most rotted, might do ok with winter temps and better lights.
Glossostigma elatinodes
Not enough Light all died off.
Lilaeopsis ruthiana – 


180 litre 900×300 tank
Juwel internal Filter
Koraleia wave maker