NANFA-- first native tank, pumpkinseeds

Paul Cezanne (
Sat, 20 Apr 2002 11:40:35 -0400

I'm about to start on my first native species tank. It is very important to me to collect my first species, this is part of the joy of it for my wife and I.

We live in Eastern Massachusetts, right outside Boston. From reading the Peterson's Field Guide and David Schleser's book (and speaking with him at the NEC conference a week ago) we've decided that we would like to collect and keep pumpkinseed Sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus )as our first first.

The seem to be available in this area and from what I've read are a decent species to keep.

We are somewhat lucky in that we were recently given a complete 125 gallon setup. We would like to use this for our native tank.

I have a million questions, I'll try to ask some of them here but I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of things.

I have read the brief thread at so there is no point in reposting those wonderful articles.

I'm going to assume I can find this fish. My first trip will be to Spy Pond in Arlington just because 2 years ago I say something that from above may have been pumpkinseeds. (They could have been another sunfish, I might get out there tomorrow for a catch and release just to identify what is there.)

So assuming that they are there, how many should I collect? (Complying with local laws of course...). The "1 inch per fish" rule says about 10 to 15, depending on where looked up the maximum size. I would like them to breed, but that presents its own set of problem which I've not entirely thought through yet.

Should the tank be planted or not? I've read that it should and I've read that they are hard on plants. One web page even suggested weekly replantings! I'm pretty sure I'm not ready for that level of work.

If I do collect a large amount, say 15, and they are small, say 2 inches, should I worry about cycling the tank? Remember, the tank is huge, 6 feet long. I have 2 Fluval 404s as filters and 2 36" florescent tubes for lights.

How deep should the gravel be? I've read 6 inches for sunfish and I've read 2 inches. I don't know how much I have, I still haven't set up the tank yet. (It is in the back yard being leak tested.)

I read that these both take flake or pelleted food and that they won't. I don't mind feeding microworms and white worms to my other fish, but big earthworms etc do make me a little squeamish.

Well, I guess that that is enough babbling for now. I'll sit back and listen.


pZ -- Paul Cezanne
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