Blue-spotted sunfish Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Blue-spotted sunfish is a beautiful freshwater fish that is native to North America.

This fish is relatively easy to care for and is a great addition to any freshwater aquarium.

In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about Blue-spotted sunfish care. We will cover their diet, tank size, tank mates, and more!

Species overview

The blue-spotted sunfish (scientific name: Enneacanthus gloriosus) is a type of freshwater fish that’s native to various parts of the eastern United States.

They’re most commonly found in rivers and streams with a lot of vegetation, as this is where they feel most comfortable.

Despite their small size, blue-spotted sunfish are actually quite aggressive. They’ve been known to fight with one another and will even attack fish that are much larger than them.

This aggression, combined with their beautiful coloration, makes them a popular choice for many aquarium owners.


Blue-spotted sunfish

The Blue-spotted sunfish is a very colorful freshwater fish that is sure to stand out in your aquarium. As their name suggests, these fish have blue spots all over their body.

The blue spots are actually scales that are a bit raised. This can give the appearance that the fish is covered in blue spots (hence the name).

The background color of these fish can be a bit difficult to describe. It’s somewhere between yellow and green, but it can also look a bit brown in certain lighting.

This background color is broken up by the blue spots, as well as a lateral line that runs down the middle of their body. This line is also blue and is quite easy to see.

The fins on these fish are all blue as well. The dorsal and anal fins are both tall and thin. The dorsal fin starts about two-thirds of the way back on the body and the anal fin starts closer to the tail.

The pectoral and ventral fins are both short and stubby. The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical.

All of the fins on these fish have a bit of a ragged look to them. This is due to the fact that they’re covered in small blue spots as well.


The lifespan of blue-spotted sunfish is about 5 years. This relatively short lifespan is due to a number of factors.

In the wild, these fish are constantly at risk of being eaten by predators. In captivity, they still face many of the same risks.

Blue-spotted sunfish are also susceptible to a number of diseases. These diseases can quickly lead to death if they’re not treated properly.


The Blue-spotted sunfish is a small fish, only growing to be about 4 inches in length. However, they are a relatively hardy fish and can live in a wide range of habitats.


Tank Size

A 20-gallon tank is the minimum for a single sunfish, but you will need a larger tank if you want to keep more than one. A 50-gallon tank would be a good size for a small group of sunfish.

Water Parameters

The blue-spotted sunfish is a North American native that does best in waters with a moderate pH and hardness. They prefer slightly alkaline conditions and will do well in most freshwater aquariums.

To help maintain the water quality in your tank, be sure to perform regular partial water changes and vacuum the gravel to remove uneaten food and waste.

  • Water Temperature: 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 8.0
  • Water Hardness: 4 to 15 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up the inside of an aquarium for Blue-spotted Sunfish you can be as creative as you want. There aren’t any specific things that this species NEEDS to have, which gives you plenty of options.

We recommend some of the standard decorations that you find in a lot of freshwater tanks. There are a ton of great plants you can include (like hornwort or water wisteria). You can even throw in some floating aquarium plants too!

Rocks, driftwood, and caves are all suitable as well. It’s important to avoid going overboard with this since these fish like some room to swim.

Also, if you’re keeping your Blue-spotted Sunfish in a smaller tank then it’s going to be difficult to include a lot of this stuff anyway.

A classic gravel substrate is always a good choice, but you can do with something soft and sandy if needed too (use other species you keep as a guide with this).

Common Diseases

The blue-spotted sunfish is a hardy fish that is relatively resistant to disease. However, there are still a few potential illnesses that you should be aware of.

The most common disease that affects this species is ich. This is a parasitic infection that is caused by a single-celled organism.

This disease is very easy to spot, as it will cause white spots to form on the skin of your fish. If left untreated, ich can be fatal.

Other potential diseases include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and viral infections. These are all relatively rare in blue-spotted sunfish, but they can still occur.

The best way to prevent your fish from getting sick is to maintain clean and stable water conditions in their tank. A well-maintained tank will go a long way in keeping your fish healthy and disease-free.

Behavior & Temperament

The blue-spotted sunfish is a very peaceful fish that does well in a community tank. It is a schooling fish, so it should be kept in groups of at least six. These fish are not aggressive and get along well with other fish that are peaceful and of a similar size.

The blue-spotted sunfish is an active fish that spends most of its time swimming in the middle to upper levels of the tank. It is a good jumper, so a tight-fitting lid is necessary.

This fish does best in a tank with plenty of hiding places. It is not a demanding fish when it comes to water conditions and can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, pH levels, and hardness levels.

Tank Mates

The blue-spotted sunfish is a peaceful community fish that does well with a variety of tank mates. These fish are native to North America and can be found in streams, rivers, and lakes.

They’re not fussy when it comes to water conditions and can adapt to a variety of environments. As a result, they make good candidates for community tanks.

Blue-spotted sunfish are also not aggressive and will do well with other peaceful fish.

Some good blue-spotted sunfish tank mates include:

  • Guppies
  • Molly Fish
  • Platy Fish
  • Swordtails
  • Tetras
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Otocinclus Catfish


The blue-spotted sunfish is a beautiful little freshwater fish that is relatively easy to breed in captivity. These fish are mouthbrooders, meaning that the female will carry the eggs in her mouth until they hatch.

To start the breeding process, you will need to set up a separate breeding tank. The tank should be at least 20 gallons in size and well-filtered. You will also need to add some live plants and a few hiding places.

When the tank is set up, add two or three males for every female. The males will chase the female around and try to impress her. After a while, the female will choose a mate and the two will start to build a nest.

The female will lay her eggs in the nest and the male will fertilize them. Once that’s done, the female will pick up the eggs in her mouth and start to incubate them.

The incubation period will last for about two weeks. During that time, the female will not eat. You will need to feed her live foods so that she doesn’t starve.

After the incubation period is over, the female will release the fry into the tank. The fry will be able to fend for themselves at this point. You can start feeding them baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food.


Blue-spotted sunfish are a great addition to any tank. They’re relatively easy to care for and are very peaceful fish.

They’re also very beautiful, which is always a bonus.

If you’re looking for a fish that will add some color and life to your tank, we highly recommend the blue-spotted sunfish.