Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis)

brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

The brook trout, or Salvelinus fontinalis, is an attractive and easy-to-care-for freshwater fish suitable for nearly any freshwater aquarium. A native of the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, the brook trout has been introduced to much of the rest of the United States. This species is not endangered and reproduces easily in both natural and artificial environments, making it one of the most common fish species found in North American waterways.

They are an excellent fish for beginner aquarists to keep in their fish tanks because they are hardy and easy to take care of, plus they look great!

They are the most popular species of trout in North America. In addition to being beautiful and hardy, brook trout can survive well in polluted waters and are extremely adaptable to different environments and changing conditions. As with any other type of pet, it’s important to care for your brook trout properly in order to keep it healthy and happy for years to come.

Here are some tips on how to care for your pet brook trout.

Brook trout description

brook trout

Brook trout are native to North America and are part of the char family. Also known as eastern brook trout, they’re considered very delicate when compared with other fish. Brook trout live in freshwater rivers, lakes, and streams; they’re typically brownish with red spotting on their sides and back.

Although they are cold-water fish, they do not thrive well in areas where temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, unlike many species that require specific temperature conditions and water features such as rapids or rock bottoms, brook trout can survive in a variety of conditions.

They are naturally small fish with slender bodies that reach lengths between 6 inches (15 cm) and 25 inches (64 cm). However, some wild specimens have been found to be over 34 inches (86 cm) long.

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Their weight range from one pound (0.45 kg) to 7 pounds (3.2 kg), and they have an average lifespan of four years.

Species profile

Brook trout belong to the family Salmonidae, along with other salmon species and trout. They have an olive-green back and sides, and a pinkish-orange belly, with dark spots on their backs. These fish grow up to 25 inches in length but reach maturity at between 8 and 10 inches long.

They are native to coldwater streams throughout North America, from Newfoundland south through Ontario all the way down into Georgia in some places. Brook trout inhabit small rivers and cool brooks, where they are known as brookies by locals; these areas provide a perfect habitat for these sporty fish to thrive.

Brookies can be found near large rocks that create pools of deep water during high flows; as well as fast-moving water around rocks where insect life is plentiful.

Brook trout scientific name

The scientific name of the brook trout is Salvelinus fontinalis. Other common names include speckled trout and brookie.

Brook trout habitat

They are native to eastern North America and populate clear, cold streams and lakes throughout much of Canada and parts of the northern United States. They’re typically found in water ranging from 4 to 20 feet deep but often live much deeper than that. Brook trout prefer shallow water so they can easily hunt insects on rocks or vegetation. They don’t like living in murky or slow-moving waters because it limits their opportunities for hunting.

Brook trout size

This freshwater species can vary in lengths between 6 inches (15 cm) and 25 inches (64 cm). A maximum length of around 34 inches (86 cm) has been recorded, with a weight of around 6.6 pounds (3.1 kg).

Tank size

Due to their large size, the minimum recommended tank size is 250 gallons (946 liters).

Tank requirements

Brook trout require a tank of around 250 gallons, the water temperature must be between 72 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also consider installing aeration in your fish tank as it will help oxygenate the water and lower carbon dioxide.

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Furthermore, It is advisable to place some rocks or plants within your aquarium; they not only make your aquarium more appealing but also provide places where you can hide waste as well as increase surface area for gas exchange (and thus lower carbon dioxide levels).

In addition, these decorative additions provide shelter for smaller fish. Once you have finished setting up your tank with all decorations and accessories, then your next step is to install biological filtration via media such as sponges or ceramic noodles.

These filter materials are beneficial because they act as a home for beneficial bacteria, which convert toxic ammonia into less harmful nitrite ions and finally into non-toxic nitrate ions which are then removed from the aquarium by regular partial water changes.

These fish do not need any special substrate either; they will do fine with just gravel at their disposal. It is also important to keep a tight-fitting lid on your aquarium so that these fish do not jump out.

Tank mates

Because brook trout are so small, they are less likely to compete with other fish. Smaller fish of similar size make great tank mates. Bluegill and largemouth bass have also been known to live peacefully with them.

Some other good tank mates are darters, shiners, and sculpins. If you want even more color in your tank, try using live plants as well.


brook trout

The breeding process starts when the males tickle females using their pectoral and pelvic fins, causing them to release eggs. In no time at all, they are fertilized by males. Males may then guard these eggs until they hatch. Eggs are incubated in shallow water – normally less than 6 inches deep – where there is plenty of oxygen available.

Depending on water temperature, incubation can take from two weeks to six weeks; at higher temperatures, it takes less time for eggs to hatch into larvae. When hatched, larval fish eat mostly algae and small insects such as midge fly larvae.

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Once hatched, brook trout live four to eight years if left undisturbed (under natural conditions). Larvae change twice while maturing before becoming young adults. They typically begin life with spots or blotches along their sides that eventually disappear.

While still developing, young brook trout stay near shore around woody debris, submerged logs, and stones that protect them from predators such as bigger fish, raccoons, and birds such as herons that hunt for frogs and fish along shorelines.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

They are an aggressive species. Although they’re not as aggressive as brown trout, brook trout are still predatory fish and will take advantage of any opportunity they can get. Be careful when releasing your catch because it may try to attack your hand or net. In general, you should be wary of their sharp teeth, which are used for hunting small prey.

General care information

brook trout

Brook trout thrives in water temperature around 25°C (77°F). The optimal pH range is 6.2–7.8, and hardness should be below 10 dGH. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 0°C (32°F) but they will enter dormancy at that point.

However, if you’re keeping them with rainbow trout or brown trout which are native to colder climates than brookies, then they won’t go into hibernation until winter comes. Brook trouts require clean, well-oxygenated water.

A minimum depth of 2 m (6.5 ft) is ideal but they can survive at depths of up to 3 m (10 ft). Brook trout grows quickly and reaches market size after just two years; however, like all fish, its growth rate slows down once it reaches adult size. Like other salmonids, it does not have scales so it does not have any protection against bacteria in your tank other than its slime coat.

Brook trout diet

Like any fish, Salvelinus fontinalis has a natural diet; it’s highly important that you keep your fish on healthy foods and away from any dangerous contaminants. Feed them live flies, tiny crickets or waxworms, or any other small insects that you find locally. If your local water has plenty of algae in it (and many do), you can feed them algae as well.

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brook trout

On average, this species can live for 2 or 3 years with proper care and good water parameters.

Parasites and diseases

Parasites are external organisms that live on or in their host and either draw their nutrients from that host or use it as shelter. Diseases, on the other hand, are caused by infectious agents and lead to an abnormality in body function, tissue structure, and/or metabolism. It is important that you keep your fish parasite-free because parasites can weaken your fish.

Common parasites include trematodes, cestodes, nematodes, and copepods. They are more common in wild-caught specimens but can be found in aquariums. It is important to quarantine all new fish before introducing them into your tank.


Large fish, raccoons, eagles, etc. are all capable of preying on brook trout. To keep them safe from these predators, it’s a good idea to release them back into areas where there is no swimming access.

Do they make good pets?

The brook trout is not typically considered a good pet, although they can be tamed and raised from eggs in an aquarium environment. Some people believe that wild brook trout make better pets than captive-bred fish due to their adaptability and intelligence.

While brook trout are cold-water fish and prefer sub-freezing temperatures, they can become stressed if kept in conditions that don’t fit their biology. If you have an aquarium with a brook trout, make sure your tank stays between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 and 20 degrees Celsius). Changing more than 10 percent of your water each week is one way to help keep the temperature regulated.