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What would you keep with longear sunnies?

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#1 Betta132

  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 11 February 2015 - 06:29 PM

I have a green sunfish baby that I found in a feeder tank. I won't be keeping him, since the greens get a bit aggressive, but he's cute and I'm now wanting to keep sunfish. I'm considering blackbandeds, since they're little, but we have longear sunnies in the rivers around here and I like the looks of them. Let's say I had some longear sunnies in a lightly-planted 65g. What could I keep with them?

Fish I like:

Shiners. We have blacktails all over the place around here, but I think they're a bit too active for this tank. Are there smaller shiners I could try?

Pearl gouramis. 5-6" long, peaceful shoalers, pretty things.

Glowlight tetras. Basically neon tetras, usually about an inch long. I know most sunnies would probably eat them.

Checkerboard cichlids. 3" or so, bottom dwellers, shoalers, very peaceful.

Leaf-fish. 3" or so, eat anything they can fit in their mouth (which is anything under 3"), hard to wean off live fods- would have to find one eating frozen.

Ctenopoma species. Similar to leaf-fish, wouldn't get one that gets over 4" long. Aside from the gobbling, leafies and kin are peaceful, they just kinda hover around.

African butterflyfish. 4"ish, stick to the surface, eat all small fish, peaceful aside from being gulpers.

Danios of various types. Most are a bit under 2" long, very fast, very hyper. There are giant danios, but I think they need more room.

Spotted headstanders. 3" or so, peaceful, stand on their heads, don't really appreciate boisterous-ness.

Skirt tetras. About 2" or so, tall-bodied, can be a bit nippy if there's too few of them.

I do NOT plan to keep all of these, but I'm wondering if any are suitable as tankmates for longear sunnies. Right now I'm just poking fish ideas, really.

#2 jeffreyconte

  • NANFA Member

Posted 11 February 2015 - 07:25 PM

I keep sand and red shiners with my sole large male longear. Sometimes he chases them around the tank, but they're too big for him to eat and too fast to catch (juvenile shiners, on the other hand become a tasty meal for him). My tank has few plants but a large piece of driftwood that he has claimed as his own. Overall, I think that shiners work well.

#3 gerald

  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 11 February 2015 - 09:15 PM

Green and longear sunfishes are pretty similar aggression-wise IME.  Yes large shiners especially Cyprinella species or chubs (Nocomis, Semotilus) may do well with Lepomis sunfish.  Checkerboards might mix OK with blackbanded but probably NOT with Lepomis sunfishes.  There are other more appropriate forums out there for tropical fish advice.

Gerald Pottern
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel

#4 Betta132

  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 12 February 2015 - 11:48 AM

If longears aren't really suited for communities, I might not get any. Too bad, they're pretty... maybe I'll dedicate a 30g or such to them later.

What about orangespotteds? They're small, and they seem to cohabitate well with small fish in the river. Rivers have way more space, of course, but the oranges still seem friendlyish.

#5 butch

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 12 February 2015 - 05:34 PM

I kept a group of Northern Longears with large golden shiners and fully grown red rosy minnows with no issues. They do eat smaller fathead minnows tho.

#6 smbass

  • Board of Directors

Posted 13 February 2015 - 09:48 AM

Your local blacktails and their very active nature along with large size would actually make good tank mates for longears. In general I think that group of shiners,at least the larger species of the Cyprinella genus, make good dither fish for longears and most Lepomis. The exception of course it the two that have a mouth to take them out, greens and warmouth.

Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage

#7 Betta132

  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:36 AM

Would shiners have enough swimming room in a 65g, though? I don't want them to be cramped.

Is there anything bottom-dwelling that would work? Perhaps a larger variety of corydoras? A small type of catfish? Some kind of madtom thing?

#8 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 13 February 2015 - 01:51 PM

Yes... if you mean a 36 by 18 foot print tank, then some Cyprinella shiners would be fine.


I wonder if a logperch would work in that setup as a larger bottom dwelling darter?  Or even better, what about a Nocomis chub...not exactly a bottom dweller... but they do tend to hang out lower in the water column (at least until feeding time).

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#9 Betta132

  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 13 February 2015 - 09:29 PM

Really? They're quite hyper.

Hmm... Google time. 

"In Texas, nongame fish may be taken by seine, cast net, minnow trap, or dip net."

Dipnet capture of small lightning streaks? Challenge accepted.


I'm near the San Gabriel river, and we have both the longear sunnies and the blacktail shiners. Anybody have any suggestions of something else that lives in Central Texas and would be compatible in this tank?

Still deciding if I want to make this a tank for native Texas fish or a tank for other fish.

What would be a good number of each to keep? The largest blacktail shiners I've seen in our river are about 3 1/2" long. I know they can get bigger, but that seems to be more or less adult size.

Edited by Betta132, 13 February 2015 - 09:33 PM.

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