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Willie's Sunfish (Hook-n-Line Sunfish) UPDATE
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2011.04.09(Sat)17:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Changed food from Hikari Cichlid Gold floating pellets to New Life Spectrum Thera +A. I was hesitant because of price, but I am more than pleased with the results. These are dense sinking pellets, and I have drastically cut down on the amount the I am feeding and growth in these fish has been tremendous (even with cool water temperatures this past winter, and significantly less food). Each fish has become much more robust in the last few months.

The orange color seen in previous pictures is now a deep auburn or red color. This is likely contributed to maturity, new diet, and a new light bulb with a much more red and blue spectrum. Here are some of these fish with and without flash (no photoshopping). Most of the dollar sunfish are now sexually mature, although I will not try to to breed them (no time or tank space!). I may try to in a few years when so that I can keep a line going. If / when I decide to do this, I will certainly let yall know in case anyone would be interested in having some - I plan on still being part of this community a few years from now Very Happy

Pardon the water - this was just after a large water change.
Warmouth in front of the three male dollars (all waiting for food to drop). Warmouth is still smaller than the largest male dollar, and about the same size of the second largest male. Aggression has been minimal.


Male dollars with and without flash.


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silent_rock_faery
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Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.04.10(Sun)2:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow, beautiful colours! They are looking very vibrant!
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jsuereth
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Joined: 22 Aug 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

PostPosted: 2011.04.10(Sun)19:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking good. Do they like nibbling on the Java Fern?
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2011.04.13(Wed)18:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks yall.
Jsuereth -- No, they don't eat any of the plants. Occasionally I'll mix in some greens or algae pellets just for variety, but they are more on the carnivorous side of omnivores.
The struggling java fern you see is just from having an awful brown algae / diatom takeover in the tank. Consequently, the java ferns started falling apart. I had what looked like Java fern going through a lawnmover with all the shredded pieces floating around and stuck in filter intakes. I battled it for months, but seems to be subsiding (I just haven't scraped scraped it off the ferns since I got it somewhat controllable). I think a change in light spectrum helped, but I am still not algae free. Hopefully the java fern will recover. It used to look so lush and green and now it is nothing but tattered leaves with diatoms scattered about.
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2011.04.14(Thu)12:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

My husband and I were talking about native fish the other day, because I now have a keen interest in setting up a NA native tank... but apparently owning game fish is illegal in Wyoming. I haven't looked too deep into it, but I was a little sad. If its true, I'm going to have to stick to exotics. Sigh!

Your sunfish are looking stunning!! I'm still a bit amazed at their amazing coloration. Beautiful!
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jsuereth
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Joined: 22 Aug 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

PostPosted: 2011.04.14(Thu)17:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, the algae battle does not sound fun. Luckily the tank/fish still look great!

Have you thought about using a plant with emergent growth? I started letting mine grow out of the water and it's been pretty helpful.
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2011.08.02(Tue)10:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy birthday tank and fishies! I moved two years ago to continue my education and this tank came back with me. I set it up in mid August 2009, and all my dollar sunfish hatched around July 2009 - making my fish and my setup just about 2 years old.

Here are some pics of the 2 year old dollar sunfish and their warmouth tankmates. I am pretty sure the dollars have maxed out in total length, though they will likely put on some girth in the coming years if I don't breed them. The largest male is right at 4.5 inches (a maximum for the species), the second male is about 3 inches, and the 3 females are 2-2.5 inches. The older wamouth is around 5 inches now, and I added two more 2 inch warmouth several weeks ago.

I am now sold on crowding fish to reduce aggression. I usually am the kind of guy that tries to mimic habitat, and stock fish very lightly. However, when dealing with one of the most aggressive sunfish there is (pound for pound) I have tried what others suggested. Dithers did not work. So what did I do? I put in more sunfish.

At one point, several months ago, my bull dollar beat up every single other fish in the tank (except the large warmouth). The result was tattered fins, missing scales, and me worrying that I might lose some fish to secondary infections. Good water quality and diet must have prevented any infections... I went to the fish lab where we are holding some fish from a previous study that are no longer needed, and scooped up two more young, spunky warmouth and plopped them in the tank. The sunfish are now crowded, and do not have the space to build nests or set up territories. I have heard that this methods works quite well for cichlids too, and I'm sold.

Enough boring background, let's get to the photos!


Boss hogs, the largest male dollar and warmouth sunfishes.


Dollar male


Largest wamrouth with young warmouth (bottom right), female dollar (top left) and smaller male dollar (left)



And let the reaming begin... here is my small, overstocked, totally inappropriate tank.

Excuse the algae and bubbly water. This is definitely not a display tank. I only scrape the front glass to remove algae then do a water change.

I used to have a decent aquascape, but this current setup seems to be better for the fish - I have the tank separated with giant pieces of driftwood (now overrun with java fern so that you cannot even see wood at all) so that fish can swim along the back glass as well as the sides, front and middle. This way not all fish are forced along the front glass. This also reduces aggression simply because the fish don't have a good line-of-sight with any one fish at a given time. This photo may say differently, but it is just because they think they are going to get fed.
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.08.03(Wed)4:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice how you're allowed to take home past experimental subjects.

I also think you underrate your tank. Very Happy Little bit more java fern growth on the back left and it will look pretty good IMO. Toss in an easy carpet plant if they don't dig and I reckon it'd look perfect.
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2011.08.03(Wed)11:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Uni!

A friend of mine has been examining which fish species are good hosts for freshwater mussel glochidia (larva). If no one knows about the life-cycle of freshwater mussels, it is quite interesting and I encourage you to read about it. For her PhD, my friend has been raising threatened and endangered mussels and using wild-caught fish to see which species are good hosts... At the end of each trial the fish must be euthanized (it cannot be returned to the wild). We will keep some fish for a while (some go into our 'pet' tank in the fish lab, some go home with colleagues, but most are killed).

The tank was really something to look at at one time. I used to concentrate on plants, now I tend to concentrate on the fish and reducing aggression. With my current stock, a nice-looking aquascape often leaves too much openness in the water column and aggression seems to increase.

The tank actually already looks more balanced. I found some loose fern behind all that driftwood, and moved it to the left side just as you were suggesting (although I haven't read your post til now) Razz
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coryfan
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Joined: 11 Feb 2006

PostPosted: 2011.08.04(Thu)14:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a nice, full red color on the Dollars. They look like tropicals. Also do they always stare out of the front of the tank like that? Funny it is like they are watching you in the aquarium.
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