NANFA-- Re: FW: Black Banded Sunfish
Mon, 3 Jun 2002 00:32:48 EDT

Bryan Murray writes:
> I am thinking of setting up a tank(s) for black banded sunfish (enneacanthus
> chaetodon). Has anyone had luck keeping/spawning these lovely little
> sunfish? Any help regarding water, substrate, plants or food etc. would be
> appreciated. I have kept natives before but have read that blackbanded can
> be tricky and hard to breed.

I keep Enneacanthus chaetodon. I was given eighteen YOY from New Jersey in
> October 2000. They got their own thirty gallon tank with an Aquaclear 200
> and lots of Vallisneria spiralis. The val grows strongly and shades out
> the glare from the lights. I use tap water originating from the Potomac
> River- I'm in Maryland. GH usually about 7 and KH about 5.

They grew well on brine shrimp, black worms, and bloodworms. Last spring I
put six of them outside in a 450 gallon pond, well planted.

I didn't get to observe them as much as I would have liked, but at one time
in August I saw five babies at one time. I would assume there were at least
ten in there. Also in the pond were one pair of Lucania goodei and two pairs
of Fundulus Chrysotus.

When I drained the pond in October, all the adults were present and healthy
looking, but I found only one baby. He was very small for October- smaller
than my thumbnail. I put him in a five gallon tank with the fifteen or so L.
goodei fry that I caught with him, and he grew fast on white worms and
grindals. I had been hoping that he would learn to take flake food unlike
his parents, but no such luck. That one survivor is now almost as big as his

This year I will remove young sunfish as soon as I see them and raise them

For reference, the pond was filled with half tap and half rain water in the
winter and never got water changes, only natural rainfall. I imagine that pH
dropped steadily all summer long, but I never tested it. Will try to this

As an aside, the only problem I have had keeping these fish has been frequent
"popeye". At first I euthanized them, about one every four months. Now I
treat with Mardel's "TriSulfa". Some people swear by Maracyn Two, but it
didn't work for me.

Good luck keeping them. They are very pretty and peaceful, and always get
compliments, even from non-fish people.

Pierre Gagne
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