Gulf Coast Pygmy Sunfish

  1. Marco Rodriguez

    Marco Rodriguez Valued Member Member

    Hi!

    I saw an image of these fish and they are awesome. I have been googling all I can and can't find any advice on them other than that the males color changes depending on dominance/ territory and that it's best to feed live food. Does anyone have any experience? Is live food really the only option or can they eat other food as well. What pH? What temp? What substrate etc. I know heavily planted but I can't even find which plants are best

    Thanks so much :)
     
  2. chromedome52

    chromedome52 Fishlore VIP Member

    There are seven species of Elassoma, but none that I recognize as "Gulf Coast Pygmy Sunfish". Exactly which species are you looking at?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Marco Rodriguez

    Marco Rodriguez Valued Member Member

    Elassoma gilberti
     
  4. chromedome52

    chromedome52 Fishlore VIP Member

    It is indeed, a beautiful species. We have a couple of local breeders who have spawned and raised them, and yes, live food is an absolute necessity for pretty much any of the Pygmy Sunfish. Fine substrate if you use it, but it is not necessary. Water should be soft, pH around 6.5, temps in the low 70s F, or 20-23C. Small tanks are possible if you only have one male; makes it easier to find him than a bigger tank. I believe they had 2 males in a 10, with 3-4 females. P.ants were Java Moss and Guppy Grass, in thick clumps. There are similar native plants like Nitella (?) that we don't see in aquaria as much as we used to.

    Species was just described in 2009. That's because previously it was thought to be a population of E. okefenokee, it's closest relative. There are very minor differences in appearance, and a couple of meristic characters that separate them, as well as the molecular (DNA) data. It has recently become "cool" to get Pygmy Sunfish, but they are not easy fish to keep. They sometimes have a tendency to be shy in aquaria, so that you don't see them much. However, a male in nuptial coloration will find a more open area to show off, and it is worth the effort to see one of these little guys displaying.