Might be getting rid of some longear sunfish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Might be getting rid of some longear sunfish

I currently have a sunfish tank, and I might be adjusting the stock some time soon. Does anyone want some longear sunfish? They get about 5-6" long, and they're rather pretty when happy. You can Google them to get an idea, they're very camera-shy. They're cichlids, so they're a bit territorial, but they aren't hyper-territorial and they don't usually bother anything that isn't another sunfish. They have fairly small mouths, so they can't eat anything larger than a gambusia.
I may have up to four smallish ones available. They're native fish, so I can't legally sell them, but it's legal for me to give them to someone for no monetary gain. They're about 3" long at the moment.
A single longear can live in about a 30g. Since they're territorial, a group needs something more like a 65g. They can live in a community tank, so long as the other fish aren't timid.
I don't know how many males and females I have. I have one I'm fairly certain is a male, one I'm fairly certain is a female, and two I'm not certain about.

For those who aren't interested in my rambling, here's the basic longear care sheet:

Maximum size: 5-6"

Needed tank size: 30g for one, 55+ for a group

Food: Not convinced that pellets are food. Will take rehydrated freeze-dried food, frozen food, and chunks of thawed shrimp. Rehydrated pellets might tempt them, but I only have one type of pellet available (can't have wheat in the house) and they don't like it. Massivore pellets are supposed to be good for color-boosting sunfish. Freeze-dried krill also tends to boost their color level.

Temperature requirements: Not quite tropical level. 76F and below, if possible.

Aggression level: Territorial to similar fish. Males establish nest area and defend it from everything, subordinate males and females may chase each other but ignore non-sunfish.

Can eat: Gambusia and smaller, will tear crayfish and shrimp apart.

Suitable tankmates: Goldfish, koi, most smallish native fish, not-horribly-aggressive cichlids, basically just durable things that won't eat them. Not suitable tankmates for easily scared things or tiny things.

Level of cover needed: They need a couple of spots to duck into, and you'll need line-of-sight barriers if you have multiples. They have brighter colors when they don't think they're in open water, but they don't need much cover.

Planted tank suitable: Yes, kind of. Dominant males dig nests about a foot across, and will uproot any plants in their spot. They don't eat plants, though they're big enough that anything delicate might get uprooted if they dash through it.

These guys are suitable for cichlid tanks, as long as the cichlids aren't the ultra-aggressive type that like to tear everything apart. They'd also be fine in a big goldfish tank- though NOT with fancy goldfish. They'd probably outcompete fancy goldfish. If you have a big goldfish tank with common goldfish, these guys would fit right in.
Anyone interested?

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My current project, a 65 gallon aquarium stocked with vernal pool fauna.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 09:32 PM
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Longear sunfish are not cichlids. They belong to the family Centrarchidae which include species such as bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed... I catch a whole bunch every year through the ice every winter here in central michigan. They can grow well beyond 5-6" and need more than 30-55 gallons and IMO a biotope tank of at least 125 gallons or more.

As a game fish, for their size, they are very aggressive. I think of a sunfish as the cat of the lake. Meaning, they will pick at anything they can overpower and are very curious until they age and gain experience, In the wild anyways. During breeding, males become very territorial and will attack anything that comes close to their beds. Your experiences may differ but these aren't the usual aquarium fish and tank mates should be carefully thought out. I've caught 3" sunfish on 4.5" rapalas with 2 treble hooks. Awesome fish though and they can get very colorful. Good luck with your ventures.

All else fails they taste fantastic fried and crispy
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 10:46 PM
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Basically what this guy said^. But their ecological niche, diet, etc. is very similar to CA and SA cichlids, so you wouldn't be wrong describing them as such.

What can you tell me about their compatibility with convict cichlids, white cloud minnows, platies, and banana lilly plants?

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-27-2015, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry for late response, the thread said it had no new replies.

@RyRob, you're probably catching Northern longears. They hit 7-8", easy. These guys are a Southern strain of longear, and they don't get big at all. Biggest I've ever seen is under 6" long, and I've seen quite a lot.

Convict cichlids should be alright in a suitably sized tank, they seem to have pretty similar attitudes. In anything under 55g, it would probably end badly. What's the tank like?
They'll ignore smaller fish like platies, though not as small as white clouds. White clouds are tiny, a fully-grown longear would probably try to snack on smaller white clouds.
They completely ignore plants.

I have two 3" sunnies, one 3.5" (possibly female) sunnies, and one 4" alpha-male sunny who need re-homing. The alpha has pretty decent coloration, though not at the moment- there's a larger alpha in the tank, and said larger alpha just finished beating the smaller alpha up. Smaller alpha has shredded fins and dull-ish colors, but is otherwise healthy. Three smaller sunnies are a tad shredded around the edges from when I was catching them (the alpha male owns the best hiding spot and chased them out when they tried to hide), but they're healthy.

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