Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis Marginatus)

Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis Marginatus)

Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis Marginatus)

Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis Marginatus)

COLDWATER CASEFILE: Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis Marginatus) Do you like the idea of keeping the beautiful North American sunfish like Pumpkinseeds, Bluegills, and Longears but don’t have a tank big enough or are dissuaded from keeping them because of their aggressiveness? Then I have the perfect solution– try raising the Dollar Sunfish! They have the brilliant coloring of their large cousins but they are less than half their size. And while males can be semi-aggressive with each other, they can easily be kept in a coldwater community tank with darters, madtoms, daces, shiners and loaches. The mouths of the dollar sunfish are too small to alliw them to eat their tankmates. A 100 liter tank,aka 30 gallons, can house a male and a group of females. In a larger aquarium with broken line of sight, you can keep more than one male. They will initially skirmish as they set up territories but will eventually develop a pecking order and problems will rarely occur. Other fish and the female dollars can pass through the territory without incidence but it will be vigorously defended from other males. At breeding time, the males develop a beautiful orange/red hue and their normally bluish fins take on an emerald hue. If you are working with wild caught adults or sub-adults, you will need to feed them a steady supply of small invertebrates like mosquito larvae, small chopped earthworms, brine shrimp, crushed snailsetc. You will be able to train most of them to eventually take frozen alternatives however they will never recognize flakes or pellets as food. However, if you get tank raised fish (which are available–this fish breeds readily) or catch the fish when they are less than 3cm/ 1 inch, they will learn to eat dried food as well.
Origin: Southeast USA from North Carolina to Florida and west to Texas.
Size: 10cm/ 4inches– usually less.
Temperature: Room temperature is fine
Feeding: As mentioned above.. small ivertebrates. These fish have a tendancy to prefer to feed from the surface so small insects like baby crickets, houseflies, and small moths are options.
Habitat: Set them up in a well planted tank with areas of open sand that the males can defend. Driftwood and stones can also be used for decorating and defining territories. Use clumps of floating plants to reduce lighting. The filtration should be good but avoid producing a strong current. These fish live in weedy oxbows and still ponds in nature.
Breeding: Males dig a pit in the sand and attempt to lure the females to visit it by dazzling displays of color. Breeding is temperature dependent stopping if the water temperature climbs above 26°C/ 80°F or falls below 21°C/ 70°F. Breeding can be continuous for several months so it is best to keep more than one female per male in the aquarium. They are very easily pond bred.

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