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Bluegills In The Aquarium

Bluegills In The Aquarium

Bluegill © Steve Gordon
By: Steve Gordon
Common Name: Bluegill
Latin Name: Lepomis Macrochirus
Origin: Throughout the US and Northern Mexico
Temperature: 65-75°F (19-24°C)
Ease Of Keeping: Easy
Aggressivness: Moderately Agressive
Lighting: Low
Adult Size: 6-7 inches - 17cm
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Feeding: Cichlid pellets, worms, crickets, minnows
Spawning Method: Egg layer
I have kept a bluegill in my 45 gallon tank at home for about 9 months now. I caught him at a lake near my house along with a baby large-mouth bass. At the time I caught them, the bluegill was about 3 inches long and the bass was about 4-5 inches long.

I had kept many different types of cichlids in the same tank over the years, so it was already set up well. The setup is black tahitian moon sand substrate, flat rocks set up to create many caves, some driftwood, a 100w heater, 3 hang on the back filters (various types) and a small powerhead for water movement. Resident in the tank were a 4 inch common pleco and 2 apple snails.

When first introduced, both fish were skittish and shy. The bluegill actually jumped out of the tank before I could fit some plastic strips over the open spaces in the hood. I kept the lights off for the first few weeks as well. At first, the only food they would eat was minnows (rosie reds). Eventually though, I have been able to get them to love large floating cichlid pellets. As the bass was bigger, he dominated the tank. But, the bluegill did not back down from direct confrontations. He would raise his dorsal fin and flare his gills if directly challenged, then both fish would back down.

The bluegill is still very shy, and will retreat to a cave or other shelter when someone approaches the tank, but he reappears once you've stopped moving. He is very agressive at feeding time. He strikes the floating pellets very hard and splashes water all over if the lid is open. He's a very cool fish and not much harder to care for than similar-sized cichlids such as convicts or firemouths.
Name : Stewie
Comments : I also have kept bluegill sunnies. They are impressive fish with lots of character. I did not find mine to be shy as every time you would walk by he would follow you and "beg" for food.

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Comment : I've had my bluegill for probably 5 years or so. He's about 7 inches long and resides in our 55 gallon aquarium. I feed him cichlid pellets and worms from the garden. I can't keep a live plant in there with him either, he eats them down to the nub. I've got to get a big pleco like that or something to eat the algae, he eats anything I throw in there that's marginally smaller than him. He demolished a 3" crawfish like it was nothing!
Posted by Cynthia on 2008-11-08
Comment : I am very interested about keeping one, but didnt know the difficulty in doing so... Your article has eased my skeptisism and am looking forward to obtaining one. Nicholas Wilson Montgomery, AL
Posted by Nicholas Wilson on 2008-11-03
Comment : I have had a bluegill for about 6yrs. He/she lives in a 55gal with a 12" pleco. They both love to tear up the plants. They are very spoiled eating worms (from my fingers) crickets, froz squid and grasshoppers (in season). The pleco prefers Romaine lettuce.
Posted by blackraptorbc on 2007-08-12

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