Fish in the house

Late summer 2006 a band of racoons wiped out the koi pond I had in the front yard and all the fish and frogs that called it home. I don't even want to think about how much the fish were worth (but one 12-14" AA koi is about $300). I had about fifteen of them, all tame as dogs. I opened the front door one morning on the way to work, the pond is murky brown, all the water plants are ripped out and there are koi parts strewn all over the front yard. Muddy racoon prints everywhere.

So I bought a big aquarium. It's a 168 gallon glass tank. I've wanted another local/native/North American species tank for years now. I've had several large tanks since I was a kid. Sunfish are some of the prettiest warm water fish around, and usually adapt very well to tank life. Also, I'll add some small bullheads and maybe a couple crayfish.

Nice big green sunfish (lepomis cyanellus), center, most of a bluegill, upper right.

Big bluegill (lepomis macrochirus).

Big bluegill a few weeks later. He has a pleasant tank disposition for a large male. Small redear in front.

Green sunfish x bluegill hybrid behind the redear. This is a natural hybrid from one of the local old graval quarry ponds.

Two small redear sunfish (lepomis microlophus), bit of a bluegill.

A beautiful little redspotted sunfish (lepomis miniatus). This one is from east Texas, Colorado River, near Columbus.

redspotted sunfish

A small longear sunfish (lepomis megalotis), also from the Colorado R. at Columbus, TX.

dollar sunfish

Woody (felis catus) sits on his custom tuck 'n' roll ottoman, and finds it all very fascinating.

woody the cat

More tank additions. These two tiny sunfish below (and others) were relocated from the ex-koi pond in the front yard during liner repair. I bought them from Jonah's and threw them in the pond last fall after the koi disaster to control mosquitos. After capture, they spent the rest of the night in a 5 gal bucket inside the house, acclimating to the inside tank's water temp. The tank's green sunfish, with their large mouths and carnivorous ways, have been relocated to the pond.

Blackbanded sunfish (enneacanthus chaetodon) next to some lily pad stalks.

black banded sunfish

A few months later he's decided it is springtime and has staked a claim to the lily pad root/rhizome as his nest. In the shot below, he is fanning the nest area.

Black banded sunfish

Bluespotted sunfish (enneacanthus gloriosus), very shy, difficult to get a good pic of this one. He hides out most of the day, only coming out when the auto-feeder dumps some goodies.

bluespotted sunfish

Another bluespotted sunfish, very small (1"), foraging in the gravel.

Bluespotted sunfish

Another bluespotted sunfish.

Bluespotted sunfish

Some more sunfish species. This is a small bantam (lepomis symmetricus), facing you, and a juvenile warmouth (Lepomis gulosus) peeking in, hanging out under the lily pads.

Bantam Sunfish

A juvenile western dollar sunfish (lepomis marginatus), another juvenile warmouth in back..

Western Dollar Sunfish

Another juvenile western dollar sunfish.

Western Dollar Sunfish

A small warmouth, the wester dollar above nipped that small piece out of his tail.


Algae was starting to become a nuisanse in the tank. I had increased the watts per gallon to about 3, and added a CO2 injection system to help the plants along. This tank is well established now, and there is plenty of nutrient in the substrate for the plants. There is plenty in the water for the algae, too. With the added CO2 it started creeping over all the rocks and growing on the anubias leaves. So, I could either dose the tank with antibiotic (for the BGA), Hydrogen Peroxide (handy for ich, too), or add some algae eaters and let them work it out.

American Flagfish (jordanella floridae).
I added half a dozen of these Florida natives to see what they could do with the algae. After -one- day, there are several large bald patches on the rock tops. Look behind the fish, those rocks were solid green 6 hours before the pic was taken. Amazing.

American Flagfish


The fish are getting bigger...

Redspotted sunfish. The more northern (Missouri) redspotted sunfish (pictured below) don't seem quite as brilliantly colored as the east Texas redspotted populations (scroll up a ways). Rather drab, in fact.

redspotted sunfish

Warmouth showing "at rest" colors. At feeding time, they take on a stunning leopard-mottled patern.


This shot is just before feeding, the two warmouths are coloring up in anticipation, redspotted and dollar ready, too. Big Florida Flagfish in background.


Bantam, the friendliest fish in the tank.

bantam sunfish

Western Dollar Sunfish. This particular dollar is the most aggressive fish I've had. Intimidating longear sunfish twice his size.

western dollar sunfish


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