First imported into Europe in 1877, this stunning species with its reflective blue speckling is the most frequently kept of all the sunfish species. Tough and adaptable, it is capable of becoming established in most temperate habitats, so it is essential to ensure that it neither escapes nor is released into nonnative waters. Such cautionary advice applies not just to the Pumpkinseed but to all other sunfishes and similarly adaptable species. Since the Pumpkinseed can attain a substantial size, it will outgrow most average-sized aquaria, a factor that requires consideration prior to purchase.
- Widely distributed along the Atlantic drainages of the United States; also introduced into other areas of North America, Canada, and Europe, where it has become established in a number of locations.
- Up to 16in (40cm) but usually smaller.
- Generally peaceful but territorial and aggressive during breeding.
- Livefoods preferred, but deep-frozen, freeze-dried, and other commercial formulations accepted.
- Spacious, with large open swimming area; heavily planted with cool- water species, and with numerous hiding places and a coarse sand or fine gravel substratum. Neutral to slightly alkaline, medium-hard water is preferred. Temperature range: 39-72° (4-22°C).
- Lowering water level to around 6in (1 5cm) seems to enhance chances of success. Eggs are laid in a depression dug by male, who also defends the brood.