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Acclimation of Adult Lepomis to Aquarium Life


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#1 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
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  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 14 January 2015 - 01:38 PM

I've heard that fully grown or adult sunfish don't adapt to tank life nearly as well as when they're smaller (for obvious reasons) but what if adults were put in a larger tank with more room like a 150 or a 180, would they still sulk around of would they adapt ok? I'm asking because I might get a school of sunfish going when I get a tank of this size soon (in addition to my female green) and I know of multiple spots all within 2 hours of me to catch BULL sunfish like a friend'a very well managed private pond or my marina in Lake Erie. As much as I love raising fish from a small size, I'd also like to see a school of small-pan-sized bluegills with nuchal humps schooling in a 180. I'm fine with just ordering juveniles and growing them up but it's not often that sunfish grow to be bull sized in aquaria, at least not that I've seen.
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#2 Sunfish Catcher 321

Sunfish Catcher 321
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  • Illinois

Posted 14 January 2015 - 01:57 PM

The biggest one I had success with was 4 in But died in power failure

#3 centrarchid

centrarchid
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Posted 14 January 2015 - 05:02 PM

You can grow most to sizes in aquariums that are seldom realized in nature and often in far less time. They are difficult to keep as pretty but can be done. Getting them on quality varied diet with good water quality is critical. Also managing for stress caused by a new environment helps. I like to get them into tank in good shape and hand feeding under low light levels until they approach me when I approach tank. Using freshly hatched brine shrimp can help even with the largest adult Lepomis sp. We have done the numerous times with good growth track even before fish leave quarantine.

Growing them to bull size from fry is easier than spitting. You have to aim a little with tank capacity and be prepared for a some to not make, especially if they are pushed to hard. We even start with larvae and them up to nearly 8" by the time they are 6 months old with bluegill using only commercial feeds once through metamorphosis.
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#4 Evan P

Evan P
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  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 15 January 2015 - 12:25 AM

I don't want to tell you what to do with your own tanks, but trust me, a tank full of mean, angry, dull sunfish like Bluegill never ends up being as cool as you expect. I had a 125 I absolutely resented because it was a boring sunfish community. Little fish or true community mixes are far more fun in the long run. Imagine a 180 full of Enneacanthus, topminnows, shiners, and some kind of slackwater darter.
3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#5 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
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  • Ohio

Posted 15 January 2015 - 12:39 AM

I agree with Centrarchid. In my 240 I have grown some darn big sunfish. I thought about submitting one of my long ears for a record, just to beat Brian Zimmermans true state record. Which sadly has finally been beaten legitimately.

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#6 centrarchid

centrarchid
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Posted 15 January 2015 - 09:59 AM

If done properly you can get some very dynamic activity in a 180 gallon tank such as multiple males hunkering down together on one end of tank to spawn in a miniature colony. You will not consider them to be dullards. Bluegill IMO best of the bigger species although redear can do as well, especially when males of populations where base breeding coloration approaches black. Smaller species I have familiarity with that also might provide some dynamic action would include orange-spotted sunfish and bantam sunfish (should be and Enneacanthus sp.) as both will create tight colonies leaving bulk of tank volume for non-nesting fishes. Other species have males that would be prone to being problematic if breeding mode realized. TO make the breeding colony approach work, keep only about 1/2 dozen males in it and condition a females only tank nearby. Periodically transfer some water from female tank to big tank and watch for setup of nests. Some minnows that spawn in sunfish nest could also be kept in big tank at all times. If males do not nest, then make sure lighting, especially at night is sufficient.

I have gotten two nature centers to adopt approach as an interactive teaching tool.
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#7 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
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  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 01 May 2015 - 08:47 AM

Has anyone successfully kept Lepomis in a group of 4? I'm working on stocking plans for a big display tank and I'm trying not to put to many fish in it with all the fish in already planning for it. If not I'll find somewhere to put the creek chubs I was going to stock in it.
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#8 centrarchid

centrarchid
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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:53 PM

Yes.  In research and display.  Tank size structure important.


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