Sturgeon species :
Click on the name in red for more information :
More information :
The Beluga Sturgeon (Huso huso) is the largest growing sturgeon species. Small juvenille Belugas are commonly available now but you should think very carefully before being tempted to buy one and be certain that you can provide a suitable home for a very large predatory fish and can afford the food bill. It may look cute in the shop now but it will grow very fast and you will find it very difficult to rehome when it outgrows your pond. It would be better to find a species that will be able to grow to maturity in the pond you have. Please check the other species pages on this site to help you identify which ones would do best in your pond.
Keeping the Beluga Sturgeon with smaller fish/animals is risky as it lives by one rule:
'If it fits in my mouth I can eat it'. Also, a fondness for wild fowl can upset the local ecology. Extra oxygenation in the summer months is essential so an air pump system is a must. Beluga Sturgeons do not tolerate strong treatments such as formalin.
The Diamond Sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) is often sold as a hybrid but is a true species.
It is the most popular sturgeon seen for sale but is really not suitable for small ponds.
It can reach 2.3m and 110kg in the wild but 1.25m and 15kg is nearer the mark in ponds.
It grows very quickly, only second in growth rate to the Beluga.
The Diamond Sturgeon is very pretty when small but often loses its white pattern to become a grey/black colour.
The Diamond Sturgeon does not tolerate low oxygen or temperatures over 25C very well at all. Extra oxygenation in the summer months is essential.
Diamond Sturgeons do not tolerate strong treatments such as formalin. A poor fish when under 20cm in length as it can suffer from White Sturgeon iridovirus (See Health Issues), so only buy larger specimens.
The Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhnchus albus) is very rare and almost never seen for sale in the UK. This fish was sold a decade ago but in recent years none have been imported.
From North America, the Pallid Sturgeon is found through out the freshwater parts of the Mississippi and to the delta where it meets brackish water.
The Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) is the smallest growing native American sturgeon species.
The maximum recorded size is 1m in length and 4.8kg in weight but 50 - 85cm and up to 2.5kg is more usual.
The Shovelnose Sturgeon is not as commonly available for sale in the U.S. as the White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), which grows far to large for most garden ponds but is nevertheless often seen for sale as an aquarium fish!
The Shovelnose Sturgeon's adult size makes it a much more suitable choice for pond keepers and a good alternative to the Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus), especially for would be sturgeon keepers in the U.S where true Sterlets are hard to find for sale.
Natural hybrids occur in the wild between the larger Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) and the Shovelnose Sturgeon which both spawn in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
The Siberian Sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) is one of the most common species seen for sale, it is easier to breed than other species and it grows very quickly with very few health problems
A. baerii is often sold under the common name of "long nose" or "longnose sturgeon", which is somewhat unhelpful in species identification because some other species on sale have equally long or even longer snouts. The Siberian Sturgeon grows very quickly and will soon out grow the average pond.
The skin is brownish grey to black in colour and the ventral (under side) is whitish, sometimes with grey spots. The Silver Siberian is seen for sale occasionally and, if you can afford it, makes a very beautiful silver grey specimen although they do sometimes darken with age.
A good fish for the larger pond as it grows very quickly and is hardy. It will go with bigger fish without any problems and is not a threat to other smaller fish. Extra oxygenation in the summer months is essential. Siberian Sturgeons do not tolerate strong treatments such as formalin.
The Stellate Sturgeon is also known as Stellatus or the Starry Sturgeon. Once very rare, there are a number of breeders now.
The Stellatus is a must for the sturgeon collector. This species does not tolerate low oxygen levels so extra oxygenation in the summer months is essential.
Sturgeons do not tolerate strong treatments such as formalin. The Stellate Sturgeon is more likely to jump out of the pond than other sturgeon species so make sure there is a net or barrier.
7- White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) :
The White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) is found on the west (Pacific) coast of North America from Alaska, Canada down to California. While the White Sturgeon produces good caviar it is a bit oily.
Hybrid sturgeons, as with many animals, are bred to get the best from both parents and hopefully leave the bad behind. A very common sturgeon hybrid is a Bester, which is a cross between a Beluga and a Sterlet. This hybrid offers the growth of the Beluga and the early age of sexual maturity from the Sterlet (the good) and it leaves behind the bad, the Beluga's cannibalistic tendencies and the slow growth and poor caviar of the Sterlet.
- Beluga (Huso huso) x Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) - Bester
- Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Adriatic (Acipenser naccarii)
- Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Siberian (Acipenser baerii)
- Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus)
- Siberian (Acipenser baerii) x Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus)
- Siberian (Acipenser baerii) x Adriatic (Acipenser naccarii) - Baccari
Natural hybrids often occur in the wild, as many species share the same spawning grounds. One common natural hybrid is a cross between the Pallid (Scaphirhynchus albus) and the Shovelnose (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) which both spawn in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. In the Volga River natural hybrids include a cross
between the Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) and Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) and a cross between the Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) and Stellate (Acipenser stellatus).
All sturgeon species can be crossed with each other but not all hybrids are fertile. Sturgeon species can be divided into two groups according to the number of chromosomes.
Group one is diploid, having ± 120 chromosomes:
- Acipenser nudiventris
- Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus
- Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi
- Acipenser ruthenus
- Acipenser stellatus
- Acipenser sturio
- Huso dauricus
- Huso huso
- Polyodon spathula
- Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi
- Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni
- Pseudoscaphirhynchus kaufmanni
- Scaphirhynchus albus
- Scaphirhynchus platorynchus
- Scaphirhynchus suttkusi
Group two is tetraploid, having ± 240 chromosomes:
- Acipenser baerii
- Acipenser brevirostrum
- Acipenser dabryanus
- Acipenser fulvenscens
- Acipenser gueldenstaedtii
- Acipenser medirostris
- Acipenser mikadoi
- Acipenser naccarii
- Acipenser persicus
- Acipenser schrenckii
- Acipenser sinensis
- Acipenser transmontanus
Hybrids of species within the same group are fertile but cross breeding between the two groups produces triploid (160-180 chromosomes) hybrids which are sterile. Fertile hybrids can be cross bred again to produce even more variation, which makes the task of identifying hybrids quite difficult.
Sturgeon beluga hybrid and albino sterlet