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Overly Agressive Bluegill

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#1 Sullow

  • NANFA Guest
  • Indiana

Posted 11 July 2017 - 02:33 PM

I'm new to the forum, but I'd joined in hopes for some help here. I got a select few bluegill and added them into a custom 180 gallon tank in hopes to start a community of native fish. I began with several (4-5) bluegill and a few long ear sunfish. I noticed that although the same size, one of the bluegill (we named Bird) has utterly murdered every fish in the tank. I tried adding a barrier of sorts to let him see other bluegill I added a week down the road, and he showed aggression through the divider. I don't want to have rehome this bluegill, but I can't have a 180 with just a bluegill in it... any suggestions are welcome.

#2 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:13 PM

He may be very set in his ways. I have a colony of tilapia breeders for producing fingerlings for aquaponics. The male is a Wami tilapia and the females are Mozambique. This hybrid grows very fast and produces all male offspring. The Wami male was expensive and obviously integral to this project, but he was Satan. Nothing I tried would keep him from shredding the fins of female tank mates. Drastic situation here called for drastic measures. I am not suggesting that you do this, merely illustrating a point. How bad do you want to keep this problem fish? I needed to keep mine, so I took a pair of fingernail clippers and removed his top lip. Solved the problem. He recovered quickly, eats and acts normal. Just doesn't have the ability to shred fins anymore. I don't want to do it again, and I would not have done it had he simply been a pet, I would have rehomed or went a different route.


 I hope you find a good solution. Adding more structure, removing "Bird" and rearranging the tank, adding more fish, all may be helpful. Josh Blaylock has a Coosa bass that simply wont tolerate any tank mate. He even tried a gar, believing that the major difference in behavior would make the gar an unlikely target. No such luck. Good thing he likes the bass enough to give him his very own tank. Good luck to you.

The member formerly known as Skipjack

#3 littlen

  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 12 July 2017 - 06:47 AM

You could,.....eat....it?  Part of the fun of keeping sunfish are the dynamics of each group/species.  Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.  I'm not trying to be vague or anything.  It is just that though.  You could try the same setup again with #'s of each species and it will work fine.  Or you'll experience another situation where one dominates the rest.  

Matt's suggestion is a classic go-to with aggression and works a good portion of the time.  If it doesn't, try getting different species.


What sizes were your fish when you got them?  Start with juveniles and let them grow up together.  Maybe that'll give you some peaceful times before breeding aggression/territorial disputes start.

Nick L.

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