by Robert Paul Hudson
Elassoma gilberti, a fairly newly identified fish, is native to Florida and Georgia, and is finding it’s way to the aquarium. It’s maximum size of one inch makes this a great addition for the “nano tank”.
The males turn dark blue while spawning. When not spawning coloring varies from dark gray with blue fins and specs.
Females are dull gray and brown.
The Gulf Coast Pygmy Sunfish is a peaceful fish, however it is difficult to keep even with fish of the same size because they are frightened by other fish, particularly any blue fish. For this fish blue is the color of male domination, and another blue fish will be seen as a dominate male causing the the males to hide or never color up, therefore to see your fishes spawning colors, they should be kept in a sole specie tank.
These pygmies will not eat flake food and respond best to live foods, however they have been known to take frozen bloodworms and mosquito larvae. Feed these guys live grindal worms and blackworms, thawed frozen bloodworms, daphnia, microworms, and newly hatched aquatic snails. They will also eat amphipods, coepods, and small insects. They are bottom foragers and will not take any floating food.
These beautiful fish should be kept in a well planted aquarium. Males pick one plant and densely planted area as the center of their territory and for spawning, usually about a square foot. The male spends his time patrolling the territory and dancing for the females attention, wiggling their dorsal, anal, and caudal fins to show off their bright blue colors.
It takes three or four days for the eggs to hatch and the male then stops defending the brood and is ready to spawn again. If well fed these fish will spawn continually year round. Most people feed the fry micro worms. When the male fry reach a size of half an inch, they will start to show their colors.
Although some breeders recommend the fish be kept in soft water, Elassoma gilberti have been found to spawn in a variety of water conditions. I would avoid very hard water if possible.
The average life span is 1 to 3 years. Spawning and rearing fry is relatively easy. There are currently two breeders on Aquabid selling this fish.