Hello everyone. I have a 55 gallon tank with minnows and darters and I would the next fish I collect to be sunfish. There are 4 species I want to get involved with; they are flier, pumpkinseed, banded sunfish and bluespotted sunfish.
I have done some internet research but I have lots and lots of questions that only aquarists experienced in keeping various sunfishes would be able to answer.
For starters, I live in Maryland so if anyone has collection tips or places to go in Maryland that have healthy populations of these species, any advise along those lines would be greatly appreciated.
Second is tank size. For the fliers and Pumpkinseed I am considering a frag tank type of setup, planted, around 125 gallon. I think a frag tank would be good because these species seem to always be comfortable in shallow areas. I know that plants can be difficult with these fish, so I was wondering if there are any plants that work even moderately well in this situation. Also, do fliers and pumpkinseed tend to hybridize or should I keep them separate?
Third thing I was wondering is what species can I keep with them? I'm assuming I can put a few banded sunfish in with bluntnose minnows and central stonerollers, but would they pester the tessalated darters if I introduced them to my current setup? Would it be OK to mix the previously mentioned minnows and darters with pumpkinseed and/or fliers? On the other hand, would a redfin pickerel eat the bigger sunfish if those were mixed together?
Snails? Will any snails have a chance with fliers?
Also, on a more general level, what are the best ways to reduce aggression in these fish?