Gilt darter Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The gilt darter is a small, freshwater fish that is native to the southeastern United States. It is a member of the perch family and is closely related to the walleye and yellow perch. The gilt darter is a popular game fish and is often caught by anglers.

The gilt darter is a small fish, typically reaching a length of 4-6 inches (10-15 cm). It is a slender fish with a long, narrow body. The body is olive-green to brown in color, with a yellow or orange belly. There are dark bars on the sides of the body, and the fins are often brightly colored.

The gilt darter is found in freshwater streams and rivers. It is a bottom-dwelling fish and is often found around submerged logs and rocks. The gilt darter is a carnivorous fish and feeds on small invertebrates, such as insects and worms.

The gilt darter is an important part of the aquatic ecosystem. It is a food source for larger predators, such as birds and fish. The gilt darter is also a popular game fish and is often caught by anglers.

The gilt darter is not considered to be a threatened or endangered species. However, it is listed as a species of concern in some states, due to declining populations.

Species overview

The Gilt Darter (Percina evides) is a small freshwater fish that is found throughout the southeastern United States.

The Gilt Darter prefers streams with clear water and a sand or gravel bottom. They are often found in areas with little or no current.

The Gilt Darter feeds on small insects and other invertebrates.

The Gilt Darter is a sexually dimorphic species, meaning that the males and females look different. The males are typically more brightly colored than the females.

The Gilt Darter is not a popular aquarium fish, but it is sometimes kept by hobbyists.


Gilt darter

The Gilt Darter is a beautiful freshwater fish that is easily recognizable. These fish have a very thin and long body that is mostly a golden color with black spots.

The spots on their body are small and round. They start at the head of the fish and continue all the way down to the tail.

The dorsal fin of the Gilt Darter is tall and thin. It starts just behind the head of the fish and extends back about two-thirds of the way.

The anal fin is shorter than the dorsal fin and is located just before the tail. The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical.

The pectoral fins of the Gilt Darter are fairly small and thin. They’re located just behind the head of the fish.

The Gilt Darter also has a very long and thin snout. This is where their small mouth is located.

Gilt Darters are a beautiful freshwater fish that are perfect for any aquarium. They’re easy to care for and make a great addition to any community tank.


The lifespan of a gilt darter in the wild is around 3 years. This is a relatively short lifespan for a fish, but it’s not unusual for fish in the wild.

The lifespan of a gilt darter in captivity is a bit longer. They can live for up to 5 years in captivity, although the average is closer to 4 years.

This is still a relatively short lifespan for a fish, but it can be lengthened with proper care.


The average gilt darter size is about 3 inches. Some individuals may grow to be 4 inches, but this is rare. These fish are relatively small, which is why they make good additions to smaller tanks.


Tank Size

A single gilt darter can be kept in a tank as small as 5 gallons. If you’re looking for a nano fish to add to your freshwater aquarium, the gilt darter is a great option.

However, we recommend going with a slightly larger tank if you can. A 10-gallon tank would be ideal but 20 gallons would be even better. This will give you some extra room to add more fish or decorations to the tank.

Water Parameters

The gilt darter is a small, colorful freshwater fish that is found in North America. It prefers slow-moving waters with plenty of hiding places.

Gilt darters are not very tolerant of changes in water parameters. They need a consistent environment to stay healthy and thrive.

The ideal water parameters for gilt darters are:

  • Water Temperature: 68°F to 75°F
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 4 to 10 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 2 to 8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

The Gilt Darter is a species of freshwater fish that is found in the United States. It’s a fairly small fish, only reaching lengths of about 3 inches.

In the wild, these fish can be found in a variety of habitats. This includes slow-moving rivers, creeks, and even ponds.

When it comes to setting up an aquarium for Gilt Darters there are a few things you need to take into account.

The first is the size of the tank. These fish are small, so you don’t need a huge aquarium. A 20-gallon tank should be more than enough.

The second thing you need to think about is the water conditions. Gilt Darters prefer water that is on the cooler side (around 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit). They also prefer water that is on the softer side (with a pH around 6.5-7.0).

Finally, you need to consider the decorations in the tank. These fish like to have a lot of places to hide. This means you should include plenty of rocks, driftwood, and plants. Java Fern and Anubias are great choices.

Common Diseases

There are a few common diseases that can affect gilt darters. The most common is probably ich, which is a parasitic infection that manifests as white spots on the body of the fish.

Other common diseases include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and viral infections. All of these can be fairly serious if left untreated, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of illness in your fish.

The best way to prevent these diseases is to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish. This means regular water changes, filtration, and keeping an eye on water quality.

If you can do all of these things, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your gilt darter healthy and disease-free.

Behavior & Temperament

The gilt darter is a shy and retiring fish that is best kept in a quiet aquarium with plenty of hiding places. It is a peaceful fish that will do best when kept with other peaceful species.

The gilt darter is a bottom-dweller that spends most of its time hiding among the plants and decorations in the aquarium. It is nocturnal and will be most active at night.

This fish is not particularly aggressive, but it may nip at the fins of other fish if it feels threatened. It is best to keep only one gilt darter per aquarium, or to keep it with other darter species.

Tank Mates

The gilt darter is a small, peaceful fish that is best kept in a community tank with other small, peaceful fish. Because the gilt darter is so small, it is important to choose tank mates that will not view the gilt darter as food.

Some good tank mates for the gilt darter include:


Gilt darters reach breeding maturity at one year old. They are polygamous and will mate with multiple females.

Males will establish and defend a territory in which females will lay their eggs. The female will lay up to 200 eggs on the substrate within the male’s territory. The male will then guard the eggs until they hatch.

The eggs hatch in 7-10 days and the fry are free-swimming within a few days after that.

The fry will eat small insects and zooplankton. They grow quickly and are fully mature within one year.


The Gilt Darter is an amazing freshwater fish that is perfect for beginner and experienced fishkeepers alike.

They’re easy to take care of, and their bright colors and patterns make them a beautiful addition to any tank.

If you’re looking for a new fish to add to your collection, we highly recommend the Gilt Darter!