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View Full Version : Does any one keep pumpkin seed sunfish?



snail
09-01-2010, 01:56 PM
I have a wild caught pumpkin seed. Well I'm not sure you could call him caught, I picked him up on the bank of a pond that was drying up and took pitty on him. I wasn't sure he'd make it as he was not strong the first day but has piked up seems very happy with his new home, eating out of my fingers after a couple of days. I've really fallen for his personality and lovely colors. It's a bit hard to find accurate info on keeping this fish so I'm just wondering if any one here keeps sunfish?
He's a bit over 3 inches and I have him in a 40 gallon tank(no heater) for now but I have an 80gal tank not in use that I can move him to if I he starts growing. I'm not really sure how big he'll get as there is a lot of variety in info there. It would seem I can expect 8 inches in a tank but they can get much bigger. Any way just wondered if any one has experience on this fish or at least other sunfish?

DrNic
09-01-2010, 02:09 PM
A friend of mine who lives on a lake has a really nice 125G setup with sunfish. At the moment he has 2 pumpkinseeds, 2 bluegill and 2 calico in the tank. He's also heavily planted it with local plants and has a few small perch and a catfish in there as well. It pretty much looks like the bottom of a lake and is surprisingly colorful.

He feeds the fish a mix of foods but I believe the staple food he uses is high quality koi pellets (not sure which brand he uses). He supplements with some color enhancing food as well as some brine shrimp and bloodworms. He also tosses in some frozen shrimp about once a week that the perch and catfish go nuts for.

Crispy
09-01-2010, 02:18 PM
quality pellets and earthworms are his best diet. does he eat pellets?

snail
09-01-2010, 05:41 PM
No, he won't eat pellets or flakes. He takes them into his mouth but spits them out again. I've been feeding him mostly on chopped up bits of fish, which he loves. He also eats small snails when he gets the chance. The first thing I got him to eat was those freeze dried shrimp things like you get for terrapin but I don't know if they are good for him or not. He will suck in anything i give him from my fingers but if it doesn't taste natural enough he doesn't seem to think it's food and it comes right out again.

I had two fish to start with but the other one wouldn't eat anything that wasn't alive and my husband is squeamish about live food. He was also larger and bullied the other one and hid when ever I came near so after a couple of weeks I decided to let him go in an out door pond, where I think he will be happier.

Thanks for the input, I'm interested in anything anyone has to say as although he seems to be a hardy easy fish I don't really know anything about sunfish.

philmin9
09-08-2010, 01:37 AM
I kept assorted sunfish for almost 5 years. Feed him live food, small minnows, bloodworms, brine shrimp, etc. He can be pellet trained if you catch him as a fingerling or under, but if he is over 2 inches long, sorry you are out of luck. These little ones are tough as hell, and meaner than any cichlid you can put them in a tank with. Ounce for Ounce the toughest fish out there. But great fish to keep. I loved em.

snail
09-08-2010, 09:32 AM
I kept assorted sunfish for almost 5 years. Feed him live food, small minnows, bloodworms, brine shrimp, etc. He can be pellet trained if you catch him as a fingerling or under, but if he is over 2 inches long, sorry you are out of luck. These little ones are tough as hell, and meaner than any cichlid you can put them in a tank with. Ounce for Ounce the toughest fish out there. But great fish to keep. I loved em.

I'm really happy to get a reply to this from some one who has kept pumpkin seeds. I'd kind of worked out he's not going to eat pellets but that's ok he's not fussy as long as it's meaty food, just makes for a bigger bio load but he has the tank to himself any way. Can't really blame him I'd not eat pellets either!

They sure are tough, just to start with it had been living in a stinky muddy little pond, more like a puddle for quite some time and when I found it it seemed to have spent the night out of the water lying on the mud. He has no fear of me, even when i put my hands in the tank fo cleaning, he comes to see what I have to feed him.

I have a couple of questions for you. How big did your pumkin seeds get? Did you keep them on their own, in pairs or with different types together? I'm thinking that more than one is going to cause problems but I'd be interested to hear your experience.

coolingeffect
09-08-2010, 04:22 PM
ive kept redear before (identical care) they will eat pellets if given time. They are very much like cichlids in the fact that they are always hungry and have a bit of an attitude problem. I fed mine a mixture of live (crickets, worms, occasional feeders, crayfish) and hikari cichlid gold pellets. It took them a while to get on the pellets but they are constantly hungry and will learn to take a meal in pellet form.

snail
09-08-2010, 04:40 PM
ive kept redear before (identical care) they will eat pellets if given time. They are very much like cichlids in the fact that they are always hungry and have a bit of an attitude problem. I fed mine a mixture of live (crickets, worms, occasional feeders, crayfish) and hikari cichlid gold pellets. It took them a while to get on the pellets but they are constantly hungry and will learn to take a meal in pellet form.

That's interesting. Do you have to 'starve' them so that they take pellets or just keep offering?

philmin9
09-08-2010, 05:21 PM
A well cared for pumpkin seed can get big, probablt over a foot long and pound or two in weight. Keeping them in groups is a good idea as long as the ratios are right. Too many males, and they fight. To many females and they fight. Just right and they fight. They have more than a little bit of an aggression problem, they are loud, proud, and more than happy to push each other around. You just have to have a tank big enough to give each fish a hiding spot.

snail
09-08-2010, 05:37 PM
I have read that they don't tend to get very big in an aquarium but I have the feeling that it could often be to do with not getting the best care. Will one on it's own be happy. He seems fine. If they really do grow that big you'd need a huge tank for a group. I also think it is hard to tell males from females unless you see them mating or building a nest.

philmin9
09-09-2010, 05:46 PM
A lot of guys i talked to would keep school in big tanks. Say 4-5 in a 125 or 150. Check out Nanfa.org, they have a board there. And it is solely for natives

UncleWillie
09-17-2010, 01:22 PM
In a 40, I would not add anymore sunnies. If you post a pic we can help you in determining sex. You may be able to add a few larger minnows thats are fast and he will not try to eat them. If you plan on any more sunfish, you will definitely need to move it to a larger tank (in time you may need to move him anyway). They grow very fast up until about 5 inches then slow down a good deal. You i've had sunnies that were really hard to train to pellets (my avatar), but most have learned very fast (I think it was because other fish already trained were in the tank, and once the watched them, they realized they weren't going to eat anything if they let the other fish eat what I was offering). May green sunfish and dollar sunfishes were the easiest to train. I suggest not offering it any other foods except pellets for a while. If you have him putting them in his mouth and spitting out you have already made progress. For really picky fish, I also am a fan of making one big mushy ball of softened pellets and frozen bloodworms - eventually lower amount of worms and it will eat pellets only.

Most fish have taken to pellets quickly at young age, but your fish may be a bit more difficult. I have a new warmouth that hasn't eaten anything in 2 weeks, and has yet to learn from his tankmates to accept pellets. So am in the same boat again :(

snail
09-17-2010, 04:59 PM
Thanks for the input, I'll keep trying with pellets.