Bluegill Sunfish (Lepomis Macrochirus)

Bluegill sunfish

Last updated on August 5th, 2022 at 08:42 am

Bluegill sunfish are one of the most popular species in the aquarium hobby and with good reason. They are hardy fish that tend to be quite colorful, and they can tolerate a wide range of water conditions – as long as you provide an appropriate home for them.

They are popular freshwater fish kept in ponds or aquariums due to their striking coloration and hardiness. These fish are native to North America but have become popular worldwide due to their ease of care, hardiness, and good taste when cooked properly. For all of these reasons, they’re also sometimes referred to as bream or sun perch in certain areas of the United States and Canada.

Bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) is an important food source and popular game fish in North America. In the wild, they’re usually found in warm bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, and rivers. While many people keep them in aquariums, some may prefer to have them in their ponds or lakes instead to help keep populations of other fish down to size.

Origin and descriptions

Bluegill sunfish

Lepomis macrochirus, also known as bluegill sunfish, is native to North America, they can be found throughout much of Canada and parts of northern United States. The vast majority of these fish are raised in freshwater ponds; however, there are some populations that live in both fresh and saltwater.

In general, bluegills have brown backs with creamy-white bellies. Their tails have a distinctive red spot, though it can become difficult to see as they age. Although their natural habitat is often shallow water, they’ve been bred to thrive in deeper bodies of water such as reservoirs and lakes.

Once grown, adult bluegills weigh an average of one pound. Because of their relatively large size at maturity compared to other panfish species, anglers commonly catch bluegills for sport fishing purposes, many people prefer them over sunnier or crappie because they are easier to catch.

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Species profile

Bluegill Sunfish are freshwater fish belonging to the family Centrarchidae in the order Perciformes. They are native to eastern North America and can be found in ponds, lakes, and other bodies of freshwater where there are plenty of plants and algae to eat. Bluegill makes great pets and has been kept by aquarists for many years!

The bluegill sunfish, also known as a bronzeback, is one of over three hundred species of freshwater fish found in North America.

Of these, bluegills are particularly beloved by anglers and makeup nearly half of all game fish caught in North America annually. Native to the eastern United States, they thrive in warm freshwater and are often spotted on lakes and ponds. They can grow up to 12 inches long and can weigh around 2 pounds, but typically grow between 5-8 inches long.

They spawn between April-June depending on geographic location. A true omnivore, bluegill sunfish will eat almost anything; their diet includes larval insects and crustaceans, as well as algae and plants that grow in still or slow-moving water.

Bluegill scientific name

The scientific name of the bluegill sunfish is lepomis macrochirus

Bluegill habitat

The bluegill sunfish is a freshwater fish native to North America. It typically lives in small ponds, lakes, and streams, but can also be found in slow-moving creeks and river backwaters. The habitat should be heavily vegetated with plants of various sizes that are capable of supporting its weight when it perches upon them.

Bluegill size

The Bluegill sunfish size ranges from 4 inches (10 cm) to about 12 inches (30 cm) in length and weighs around 0.5 pounds.

Bluegill tank size

Due to their big size, the minimum recommended tank size is 55 gallons (208 liters)

Tank requirements

Lepomis macrochirus thrives in a 55-gallon tank with lots of plants. As they do best when they are kept in groups, place five bluegills in your tank and monitor their activity levels. If there is little movement or disruption, add another bluegill. This ensures that you’re creating an environment conducive to their behaviors and minimizing stress on individual fish.

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Make sure you add rocks or decor specifically for them to hide under so they can feel safe during feeding time. Also, provide some pieces of driftwood, roots, or logs for them to bask upon; bluegills love dark spaces where it feels safer.

Finally, ensure your water temperature stays between 76–82 degrees Fahrenheit. Since bluegills live at such high densities, be prepared to change 25 percent of their water once every week. They require specific pH levels as well: keep their tanks around 7.2–7.5 if possible. It’s also wise to regularly remove any uneaten food and perform partial water changes.

Remember that male bluegills are much smaller than females — about two inches long compared to females’ three inches — but males become aggressive when breeding season begins!

Bluegill sunfish tank mates

Since Bluegill sunfish can grow fairly large, they should be kept with other fish of similar size. Smaller fish like neon tetras and betas could be eaten by hungry bluegill, but more aggressive species such as African cichlids or barbs may bully them.

In tanks where live plants are present, bluegills also can eat small snails or shrimp that may be roaming on your plant’s leaves.

Some good tank mates are Zebra danios, Bullheads, other varieties of Sunfish, Bass, tiger barbs, and silver or black mystery snails.

Bluegill sunfish breeding

Bluegill sunfish

As with most fish species, Lepomis macrochirus begins breeding when it is one year old. Males are more brightly colored than females and build nests in shallow water above weed beds. The male chases away other sunfish before building a nest that he often guards to ensure that only he fertilizes eggs deposited by females.

Studies show that Bluegill Sunfish can produce up to 350 young per season. Fertilized eggs hatch into fry after some days and then begin their life process of maturity through development known as metamorphosis or sequential hermaphroditism; in which juveniles transform gradually into adult form.

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The Breeding trigger for Sunfish is completely unknown so far as there has been no studies done to determine what causes them to breed at any certain point except for heat. It’s believed that sunfish breed between February and May, but they have bred throughout the year whenever it’s warm outside if there is no extended period of low temperatures.

Since Lepomis macrochirus primarily inhabits ponds, rivers, lakes, and creeks, you should make sure you set up your aquarium to simulate these habitat conditions. Use substrates like river rocks or pebbles for excellent filtration on your tank’s bottom.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Bluegill sunfish are not aggressive fish by any means, but they are territorial and will defend their feeding territory from other fish. It is best to keep them in a single species tank with no other fish. The only time I have had Bluegills get aggressive towards each other was when I kept them in small tanks with too many members of their own species.

Bluegill care information

Bluegill sunfish

Lepomis Macrochirus, or bluegill, is a small member of a family of fish that includes trout and salmon. The bluegill is also sometimes referred to as sunfish due to its habit of remaining in shallow water all day long during periods of hot weather.  These are mostly freshwater fish but are found near shorelines where they can swim into deeper bodies of water when necessary.

They have mouths with fleshy lips on both top and bottom which allow them to suck up food from aquatic plants, rocks, and insects. Their diet consists mainly of aquatic animals such as insects, worms, crustaceans, and mollusks; however, their feed can change depending on what food source is available at any given time.

Water with a pH from 7.0-8.5, Hardness from 6-18 degrees dH, and a temperature from 65 -75 F is good for the fish. Use an air pump and stone to add oxygen to your tank. The more oxygen, the more active your fish will be! A heater isn’t necessary for tropical bluegills because their native water is warm enough year-round.

Lepomis macrochirus (Bluegill)

Bluegill diet

They are omnivores. They feed on a variety of things, including invertebrates, insects, crayfish, and snails. They are also scavengers; they will eat just about anything they can fit in their mouths if it’s dead. That includes aquatic vegetation like duckweed and water lilies.

Bluegill lifespan

Bluegill sunfish

The average lifespan of the bluegill sunfish is 5-6 years with good care.

Parasites and diseases

Though not as susceptible to disease and parasites as other species, bluegills can be vulnerable to several different parasites. Fish lice, anisakid nematodes, and trematodes can all cause significant problems for these fish if not caught early.

If you notice small white spots on your bluegills’ skin or see tiny worms moving through their intestinal tracts, it’s time to treat them for parasites. Some anglers also use a dewormer called praziquantel against internal flukes. All of these treatments are available at pet stores.

Do Bluegill sunfish make good pets?

Bluegill sunfish are often a good choice for an aquarium because they tend to be fairly hardy, and they get along well with each other. However, it’s important to realize that bluegills are not very large, so if you want a big fish in your aquarium, you should look elsewhere. Bluegills make excellent pets for children who are capable of taking care of them properly. Additionally, their bright color is sure to please the young eyes.