What do smelt fish look like? How do they behave? What else do you need to know about smelt?
What do they look like?
Smelt are good-looking small fish. They are dark olive green in color on their backs and silver on their undersides. Many smelts have quite a few dark spots on their sides and fins. Another distinguishing feature of smelt are the pearly covers on their gills and their forked brown tails.
Smelt have large mouths and teeth. They have mature teeth on both their tongue and their jaws. These fish grow to be about half a foot to a foot long. They reach sexual maturity at the age of two years and have normal lifespans of four to five years.
How do they behave?
These fish like to be with others of their kind. While they can be left on their own, they would much prefer to be in schools.
When these fish spawn, they don't necessarily find only one mate. The males seem to breed with as many females as they want. Males generally are ready to spawn a few weeks before the females are each year. Breeding generally takes place in the spring. The fish don't build nests. They simply lay about 20,000 to 50,000 eggs per female and let the young care for themselves.
What else do you need to know about them?
Smelt prefer to eat other fish. And believe it or not, the adult smelts are known to eat young smelts. Parents actually are known to eat their own offspring. Young smelt are often transparent. You can see through them up until the point they've grown to at least two inches in length. Young smelt like to eat insects and small shrimp.
Smelts are known as predators about not only their own kind but upon small trout and other types of fish, including minnows. If you're going to have a tank with smelt, be careful what other kinds of fish you want to maintain with them.