Blackbanded sunfish Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: November 25, 2022

The Blackbanded sunfish is a beautiful and unique freshwater fish that is perfect for any aquarium.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Blackbanded sunfish care. You’ll learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The Blackbanded sunfish (Enneacanthus obesus) is a small freshwater fish that’s found in the eastern United States. The banded sunfish gets its name from the black bands that run vertically along its sides.

They prefer slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation. This could be in the form of aquatic plants, moss, or even just algae. This type of environment provides them with plenty of places to hide and ambush their prey.

Blackbanded sunfish are mainly carnivorous and feed on smaller fish, insects, and crustaceans.

This fish is a popular choice for aquariums because of its unique coloration and patterning. They are also relatively easy to care for, which makes them a good choice for beginner fish keepers.


Blackbanded sunfish

The Blackbanded sunfish is a small freshwater fish that has a very distinct appearance. As you can probably guess from their name, these fish have black bands that run vertically down their sides.

These bands are actually separated by a thin line of white scales. If you look closely, you’ll also notice that the black bands are slightly wider at the top than they are at the bottom.

The Blackbanded sunfish also has a black spot on the base of their tail. This spot is usually bordered by a thin white line as well.

The body of the Blackbanded sunfish is relatively oval-shaped. They have a small mouth that is slightly upturned.

The fins on this fish are also quite distinctive. The dorsal fin is tall and narrow with a pointy tip. The anal fin is also tall and narrow, but it’s not as pointy as the dorsal fin.

The caudal fin is forked and relatively large in comparison to the rest of the fish. The pectoral fins are also large and round.

The Blackbanded sunfish is a relatively small fish. They usually only grow to be about 4 inches in length.


The average lifespan of a Blackbanded sunfish is 4 years.

As with any fish, there are a number of factors that can impact their lifespan. The quality of their environment is probably the most important factor. If they’re in a well-maintained tank with good water quality, they’ll likely live towards the upper end of their lifespan.


The average size of a Blackbanded sunfish is about 4 inches.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for blackbanded sunfish is 30 gallons.

If you’re looking for a smaller freshwater fish that can still provide some interest and personality, blackbanded sunfish are a good option. They’re relatively peaceful and can be kept in a community tank with other small fish.

Water Parameters

The Blackbanded Sunfish is a freshwater fish that is found in the southeastern United States. They prefer slow-moving waters with plenty of places to hide.

In the wild, the water temperature can range from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH levels should be between 6.5 and 7.5. The water hardness should be between 4 and 10 dGH.

When keeping Blackbanded Sunfish in captivity, it is important to maintain these water parameters as closely as possible. These fish are not very tolerant of changes in their environment.

  • Water Temperature: 68°F to 86°F
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 4 to 10 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

For the most part, Blackbanded sunfish aren’t too picky when it comes to their aquarium setup.

The one exception is the substrate. These fish love to sift through sand and gravel in search of food. As a result, you’ll want to use a substrate that’s on the finer side.

Other than that, you can pretty much use whatever you want. Plants, rocks, and driftwood are all fine. Just avoid anything too big or small that could pose a choking hazard.

As for the plants, we recommend sticking to something that’s hardy. These fish are known to uproot plants in their search for food which can damage delicate species.

Java fern, Anubias, and Hornwort are all great choices.

Common Diseases

The Blackbanded sunfish is a hardy and relatively disease-resistant fish. They don’t seem to be affected by the usual freshwater culprits (like ich and parasites) as much as other species.

However, that doesn’t mean they’re completely immune. There are still a few potential diseases that can affect these fish.

The most common one seems to be a bacterial infection known as columnaris. This can affect the skin, fins, and gills of your fish and will usually present itself as white patches or ulcers.

If left untreated, this infection can be fatal. However, it can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

Another potential disease is Hole in the Head. This is caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in the tank.

It will present itself as pits or holes in the skin of your fish’s head. While it’s not usually fatal, it can cause some scarring.

The best way to prevent these diseases is by keeping the water quality in your tank high. A well-maintained tank will go a long way in keeping your Blackbanded sunfish healthy and disease-free.

Behavior & Temperament

Blackbanded sunfish are peaceful fish that prefer to live in groups. In the wild, these fish can often be found in schools of 20 or more. So, it’s best to keep them in pairs or groups in your aquarium.

They are relatively shy fish, so they will do best in a tank with plenty of hiding places. Plants, rocks, and driftwood all make good options.

Blackbanded sunfish are not aggressive, but they can be territorial. So, it’s best to give them plenty of space. A 20-gallon tank is a good size for a pair of these fish.

These fish are mostly peaceful, but they may nip at the fins of slower-moving fish. So, it’s best to avoid keeping them with fish that have long fins.

Overall, blackbanded sunfish are fun fish to watch. They are active and enjoy swimming around the tank. They are also good at eating algae, so they can help to keep your tank clean.

Tank Mates

Blackbanded sunfish are peaceful community fish. In the wild, they’re found in groups swimming around in open water.

This gregarious nature carries over into the aquarium. Blackbanded sunfish do best when kept in schools of at least six fish. This way, they feel secure and are less likely to be harassed by other tank mates.

When choosing blackbanded sunfish tank mates, look for other small, peaceful fish. These fish are timid and need to be in a quiet environment.

Some good blackbanded sunfish tank mates include:

  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Mollies
  • Endler’s Livebearers
  • Neon Tetras
  • Ember Tetras
  • Harlequin Rasboras


The Blackbanded sunfish is a beautiful fish that is not too difficult to breed in captivity. They are a mouth-brooding species, which means that the male will incubate the eggs in his mouth until they hatch.

To start, you will need to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 20 gallons and filled with soft, acidic water. You can use live plants to help create hiding places for the fry.

When ready, add two adults to the tank. Make sure that you have one male and one female. The male will have a black band that runs from his eye to his tail. The female’s bands are much thinner.

The female will lay her eggs in a pre-dug pit or on a leaf. Once she has done that, the male will scoop them up into his mouth and incubate them.

After about two weeks, the fry will be released into the tank. At this point, you can start feeding them live foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms.

As they grow, you can start to feed them larger foods like flakes or pellets.


Blackbanded sunfish are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They’re relatively easy to care for and get along well with other community fish.

They’re also very attractive fish, with their black and yellow stripes. If you’re looking for a fish that will add some color to your tank, the Blackbanded sunfish is a great choice.

Overall, we think this is a great fish for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. If you’re looking for a hardy, attractive, and easy-to-care-for fish, the Blackbanded sunfish is a great choice.