Rating Sunfish Aggression

DRC

Exodon
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Mar 31, 2018
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I’m in the process of putting together a mixed species Sunfish tank. One of the issues I have to consider is the aggression level of various species and why they are aggressive. Of course every fish is an individual with an individual temperament, but generalizations still help increase my chances of having a long term successful tank. There aren’t a lot of detailed care sheets compared to traditional tropical fish, but I have pieced a little bit together. Green Sunfish apparently are the devil, but Orange Spotted and Warmouths aren’t considered too bad.
What would be very helpful to me would be for those who have kept Sunfish in the aquarium to rate or comment on the aggression level of the various species. I would also like comments concerning the cause. Does it only show up as a breeding behavior, is it tank dominance, or are certain fish just psychopaths. Stereotypes usually exist for a reason, but I would also like to know if your opinions are based on the species reputation or if it is a personal observation/experience.
 

Deadliestviper7

The Necromancer
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Aug 6, 2016
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Make green sunfish are the most aggressive, it's more territorial.

Sunfish tend to guard a foot wide area.

Given enough room they can get along with a variety of species including oscars, various cichlids, goldfish, koi etc

Redaear sunfish are mostly peaceful.
Green sunfish can be anywhere from ok to pure evil.

Most of the other sunfish tend to be more like Central American cichlids in temperment
 
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itrebebag99

Plecostomus
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Mar 16, 2017
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Depends on the individual fish. There might be some chasing, at first but considering the little raspy teeth sunfish have, I doubt too much serious damage will be done. Once a hierarchy is formed, I'd imagine that the aggression won't bee too bad. In general though, I've had sunfish that are a little bit nippy, but nothing too serious, especially if they are being kept with other tough sunfish.
 

Gill Blue

Piranha
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Apr 28, 2011
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Everything I've read about red eared sunfish, until DV7's post, is they are by far the most aggressive. That's why I skipped them when stocking my tank. I've been planning on getting them when my current batch of sunnies die off figuring they could hold their own against the texas cichlid.

I've got bluegill, several types of longears, greens, pumpkinseeds and warmouth. Compared to my texas cichlid they're all pretty laid back.

In my tank the missouri longears were most agressive with the others fairly wimpy except for breeding when the 2 male central longears got nasty, but only around their nests.

My bluegill have been pretty laid backed but I talked to someone on here whose BG were the nastiest fish in the tank, far more than his longears.
 

J. H.

Redtail Catfish
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itrebebag99

Plecostomus
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I mean, they can bit a little bit nippy and chase each other around, but it usually isn't too serious. Sunfish have short, sturdy fins, and are very tough, so unless you overcrowd, I wouldn't be terribly concerned about aggression. As I mentioned before, this does depend somewhat on the individual fish. Sunfish don't latch on like a cichlid, and they don't have terribly impressive teeth or jaw pressure like a catfish, so you will probably be fine.
 
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MultispeciesTamer

Piranha
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Many many years ago I ordered a bunch of fry from Zimmerman, one of the first years he started selling. O spots and red spotted sunfish. Around 0.5" or under 4 of each or something like that. I never intended to keep them together for a prolonged period, but put them in QT together. By the end the first week the largest red spot had managed to chase and kill all other sunfish but one orange spotted. The two were doing fine then one day I came home to the last orange spotted dead from apparent bullying as well (torn fins, etc). I ended up keeping that single red spot in a species only 29 gallon for about 8 years before he passed away. His name was Grumpy Gills as he was not afraid to charge the tank at anyone and flare his gills. Cool beautiful fish he got to around 7.5" or so.
 

Deadliestviper7

The Necromancer
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Many many years ago I ordered a bunch of fry from Zimmerman, one of the first years he started selling. O spots and red spotted sunfish. Around 0.5" or under 4 of each or something like that. I never intended to keep them together for a prolonged period, but put them in QT together. By the end the first week the largest red spot had managed to chase and kill all other sunfish but one orange spotted. The two were doing fine then one day I came home to the last orange spotted dead from apparent bullying as well (torn fins, etc). I ended up keeping that single red spot in a species only 29 gallon for about 8 years before he passed away. His name was Grumpy Gills as he was not afraid to charge the tank at anyone and flare his gills. Cool beautiful fish he got to around 7.5" or so.
Bit large for a 29 tho
 
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MultispeciesTamer

Piranha
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Bit large for a 29 tho
Oh for sure, but I wasn't about to devote a bigger aquarium to a species only tank for him, wasn't a super active fish. It was his little home territory. Much like flowerhorn in personality.
 
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