Orangespotted Sunfish “Lepomis Humilis”

Orangespotted sunfish

Last updated on June 27th, 2022 at 05:27 am

The orangespotted sunfish is a species of freshwater fish that is endemic to the United States. It is a small fish, typically measuring no more than six inches in length. The body of the sunfish is deep and compressed, with a large mouth and protruding lower jaw.

The dorsal fin is long and pointed, and the colors range from yellow to greenish-gray, with orange spots scattered throughout their skin. The orangespotted sunfish is a migratory species that live in small creeks and streams, as well as shallow lakes with sand or mud bottoms.

They are commonly found in areas of Kansas where there are sandy and muddy bottoms. Spawning occurs from April to May when the males build a nest in shallow water near the shoreline. The females lay their eggs in the nests, and then the males care for them until they hatch.

The orangespotted sunfish is a popular game fish that can be caught on light tackle using lures and flies, and also by fly fishing in small streams. The best way to catch this sunfish species is with a bobber rig or on a light line using live minnows.

The orangespotted sunfish has declined in some areas of its habitat due to loss of suitable spawning locations caused by impoundment, stream channelization, and pollution. However, it remains a common fish in other areas of its range, including the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas where is considered to be one of the most abundant species.

Origin and descriptions

Orangespotted sunfish

The orangespotted sunfish, scientifically known as Lepomis humilis, is a freshwater fish in the Centrarchidae family. It can be found in the United States and Mexico with a restricted range in Canada. The color of its body ranges from olive green to dark brown on top while the bottom is yellowish-white. Orange spots are found on the dorsal fin, operculum, and sides of its body.

Males are larger than females with a maximum size of up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length while the female-only reaches around 11 inches (28 cm).

The sunfish is listed as “least concern” by International Union for Conservation of Nature due to its wide distribution and frequency.

Species profile

Orangespotted sunfish

The orangespotted sunfish is a small, brightly-colored fish that can be found in most of the United States. This species is easy to identify by its orange spots and red fins. These fish typically grow to only about six inches long, making them a popular choice for aquariums.

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They are found in the southeastern United States, from Florida to Texas. They prefer coastal waters where they can find a mix of open water and vegetation to hide among throughout their lives.

As juveniles, they feed on small crustaceans such as shrimp or insect larvae that fall into the water. As adults, orangespotted sunfish feed on a variety of invertebrates and small fish.

These species are most active during the early morning or evening when they come out to feed, but will retreat back into the vegetation at any sign of threat from predators such as larger fish or birds that might be looking for an easy meal.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the orangespotted sunfish is Lepomis humilis

Color and appearance

Orangespotted sunfish have a bright color with orange spotting over their bodies. Their fins and tails have the same colors, but can be red instead of orange depending on where they live.

They typically grow to about six inches long as adults, though some individuals may reach up to nine inches in length or more.

These fish have a large mouth with thick lips that they use as protection when hiding among underwater plants or debris such as rocks and logs. The jaws of these fish are strong enough to crush crustaceans like shrimp or insects easily, making them an opportunistic feeder.

The orangespotted sunfish can survive in temperatures ranging from 64 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, making them comfortable despite their location along the coast of North America where ocean water is cooler than other places on land. They are also able to tolerate lower oxygen levels due to being adapted for living among vegetation that traps air bubbles close to the water’s surface.

This species is easy to identify by its orange spots and red fins.

Orangespotted sunfish range and habitat

The orangespotted sunfish are found in the southeastern United States, from New York to Florida and as far west as Illinois. Its range forms a border along much of its northern extent with that of the banded pygmy sunfish (Elassoma zonatum). The southernmost part of its range extends into Mexico, where it is found in the Rio Grande drainage and coastal rivers of Tamaulipas.

Corydoras similis (Smudge Spot Cory)

The orangespotted sunfish inhabits pools and backwaters of small to medium-sized rivers. It is also found in swamps, lakes, ponds, canals, and ditches with plentiful vegetation for cover. The substrate may be composed of mud or sand overlaid with leaf litter; the fish often bury themselves in the bottom material if frightened.

Orangespotted sunfish size

The orangespotted sunfish attains a size of up to 12.0 centimeters (cm) (about five inches) total length, but is more typical at around nine cm in length. The largest recorded specimen was 11 cm long. They are reported as weighing anywhere from about 14 grams (g) (0.49 ounces) to 45 g.

Orangespotted sunfish tank size

The orangespotted sunfish is a peaceful fish that should be kept in an aquarium of at least 20 gallons. It can coexist with other small, peaceful fishes provided there are many hiding places among the rocks and vegetation for each species to claim as its own territory.

Life cycle

The orangespotted sunfish has a lifespan of up to six years. Spawning occurs from May to September, with the peak occurring in late June and early July. The male constructs a nest by fanning out a clump of vegetation or digging a depression in the substrate. He then guards the eggs and fries until they are able to fend for themselves.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

The orangespotted sunfish is a peaceful fish. They can coexist with other small, peaceful fishes provided there are many hiding places among the rocks and vegetation for each species to claim as its own territory.

Orangespotted sunfish care

Orangespotted sunfish

The orangespotted sunfish’s care requirements are not very complex. This fish is comfortable in most community tanks and does fine with other peaceful tank mates as long as it has enough space to swim around without bumping into them. Cichlids will likely harass this fish, but this can be prevented by having a more aggressive fish to protect it.

Their diet should consist of a high-quality flake or pellet food formulated for small tropical fish, along with the occasional live feeder shrimp or insect larvae.

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What they eat

The orangespotted sunfish is an omnivore, but it prefers to eat insects and larvae. It will also accept flake foods, freeze-dried bloodworms or tubifex worms (these are usually available in pet stores that sell fish), live brine shrimp, or other small invertebrates like snails (the tank should have a snail population for the sunfish to feed on).

Tank mates

The orangespotted sunfish is a peaceful fish and can be kept with other small, non-aggressive community fish. It should not be kept with any cichlids, as they will likely harass it.

Water conditions

Orangespotted sunfish are a hardy species that can thrive in a variety of water conditions. They prefer slightly acidic water with a pH of six to eight, but they can tolerate a much wider range of pH levels and temperatures. This makes them an excellent choice for ponds and lakes that experience a wide range of conditions throughout the year.

If you are looking for a hardy, versatile fish that can thrive in a variety of water conditions, then the orangespotted sunfish is a great choice. With its wide range of tolerances, this fish can adapt to almost any situation.


Orangespotted sunfish

In the wild, orangespotted sunfish breed in shallow water. In a tank setting, they will spawn on flat rocks or broad leaves of floating plants.

If you are looking to breed orangespotted sunfish for yourself or your pond, then it is best to place them in an environment that closely mimics their natural habitat. With a little bit of TLC, you can have these fish spawning in your tank in no time.


Orangespotted sunfish have a lifespan of five to ten years, which is slightly longer than other species in their family. This makes them an excellent choice for those looking for fish that will last throughout the entirety of childhood.

Parasites and diseases

Orangespotted sunfish are a hardy species that is not prone to many diseases or parasites. However, they can still get sick if their water conditions are not optimal.

They are susceptible to a variety of parasites and diseases. These can include:

  • Trematodes: a type of parasitic flatworm that can cause extensive damage to the liver, heart, and other organs
  • Gyrodactylus salaris: a common parasite that can lead to ulcers and lesions on the skin
  • Mycobacteriosis: a bacterial infection that can cause problems with their digestive system and even organ failure. This disease is very rare in wild-caught orangespotted sunfish, however, it more frequently affects captive-bred specimens.

Orangespotted sunfish are also susceptible to fungal infections such as hole-in-the-head disease.

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If you are having trouble keeping your sunfish healthy, then take a look at your water conditions and make the necessary adjustments. With a bit of work, you can have them thriving in no time.


Orangespotted sunfish are preyed upon by a variety of predators. These include:

  • Bass: both largemouth and smallmouth bass love to eat orangespotted sunfish
  • Catfish: many different catfish species enjoy a good meal of sunfish
  • Herons, egrets, and other wading birds: these birds will eat fish that come within their reach
  • Snakes: some snakes such as watersnakes and garter snakes can survive on a diet of sunfish exclusively! This is not the norm, but it does happen.

If you want to keep orangespotted sunfish in your pond or aquarium, make sure they are well-protected from predators. You can do this by using a variety of methods, such as netting, fencing, or habitat modifications.

Does it make good pets?

Orangespotted sunfish can make good pets for the right person. They are hardy, easy to care for, and fun to watch.

However, they are not suitable fish for everyone. Some people may find them too aggressive or feisty. They can also be quite messy, so you will need to be prepared to do some weekly maintenance to keep your aquarium clean.


Orangespotted sunfish are a great choice for a pet fish. They are hardy, easy to care for, and fun to watch. If you have any questions about keeping them healthy, please contact your local aquarium specialist.