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The Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) is a species of freshwater fish sometimes referred to as bream, brim, or copper nose. It is a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae of the order Perciformes. It is native to North America and lives in streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. It is commonly found east of the Rockies. It usually hides around, and inside, old tree stumps and other underwater structures. It can live in either deep or very shallow water, and will often move back and forth, depending on the time of day or season. Bluegills also like to find shelter among water plants and in the shade of trees along banks.

Bluegills can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and about 4 1⁄2 pounds. They have very distinctive coloring, with deep blue and purple on the face and gill cover, dark olive-colored bands down the side, and a fiery orange to yellow belly. The fish are omnivores and will eat anything they can fit in their mouth. They mostly feed on small aquatic insects and fish. The fish play a key role in the food chain, and are prey for muskies, walleye, trout, bass, herons, kingfishers, snapping turtles, and otters.

Bluegill In Aquaponics

If you are trying to find something less tropical that is OK in warm water and OK in near-freezing or even frozen water, and eats just about anything. You have found it!

Blue Gill is a great alternative to Tilpaia in Aquaponics because of their wide range of temperature that they can tolerate. Ideal temperature for Blue Gill is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit yet they can with stand temperatures of 39-90 degrees Fahrenheit. In most cases you will not have to heat your water in the winter. Blue Gill do reproduce rapidly and are hardy fish.

Bluegill Reproduction

Spawning season spans between May and August in their natural environment. In a controlled environment with proper ideal "natural environment like" conditions such as, spawning temperature water around 67 to 80°F, light fluctuations, area to build a spawning nest, and well-planted aquariums can reproduce all year. A female bluegill can lay between 10,000 and 60,000 eggs.

Males create a spawning bed in shallow water, and If a female chooses this mate, she will start to swim with the male. Together they will settle in the middle of the nest, touch bellies and spawn. After the female drops the eggs, the male chases her out of the nest and guards the eggs. The male watches the eggs until they hatch which usually occurs 5-7 days later, and the new fish swim off on their own. During this time he can be seen cleaning the nest and aerating the eggs with his pectoral fins. Once hatched the larva swim up out of the nest and filter feed on zooplankton until they get large enough to eat small insects. At this point, bluegills can get cannibalistic. Bluegills are excellent predators, the parents will begin to eat their young, so you will want to gently move the larva to a smaller tank.

*Catfish coexist well with Blue Gill because they are bottom feeders whereas Blue Gill are top feeders, and they have similar water requirements.*

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