Keeping a Bluegill in an Aquarium – Important Feeding Info!

Last Updated on October 21, 2022 by Griselda M.

Bluegills are commonly found in rivers, lakes, and ponds throughout America. Keeping bluegill in an aquarium is possible if you have the right setup for their needs. They can make a wonderful addition to your aquarium, however, you must know how to properly care for them.

Though they are not common among fish owners, they can make great pets to keep. Some specialty fish stores will sell them and some people opt to catch them from the wild and then raise them. No matter how you get your bluegill, it is important to provide the proper tank, food, and set up for them.

What is a Bluegill?

Bluegills are a common type of sunfish native to North America, particularly Central and Southern America. They are freshwater fish that live in lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers.

Bluegills can survive in deep or shallow water. They enjoy hanging out in aquatic plants and shady areas. They can grow to be up to 12 inches long and weigh as much as four and a half pounds. However, they normally are six to nine inches long and weigh around one-half to one pound.

The color of bluegill varies, but they are often blueish or greenish, often exhibiting a copperish color belly. Depending on the region, they go by many different names including bream, sunny, brim, copper nose, or perch.

Bluegills are a popular type of hook-and-line-caught fish in America. Many fishermen enjoy catching bluegill, as they are known for having a fighting spirit.

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Bluegill in an Aquarium

Though they are not commonly kept as pets, some people do keep bluegill in aquariums. They do require experience to keep, as they can be finicky. However, in the right hands, they can thrive in an aquarium environment.

Since bluegill can grow to be quite large, they should have an aquarium that is at least 40 gallons. However, they often do better in groups of five to six, so it is best to have an aquarium that is at least 55-75 gallons.

Bluegills can be territorial and aggressive, so they often do best in a tank that is just other bluegills. However, they can get along with certain other species of fish. You can keep bottom-dwellers, such as plecos, as well as Bullheads and other varieties of sunfish.

Bluegills are omnivores and will eat anything that can fit in their mouth, so avoid keeping them with small fish. They do best in temperatures between 60-70 degrees Farenheit. Since they enjoy hiding, you should provide plenty of live plants, driftwood, rocks, and hiding spots for them.

Your aquarium should be well-filtered and oxygenated for them. To imitate their natural environment, you should limit the amount of bright light in the aquarium.

Be certain to clean your aquarium on a weekly basis and do routine water changes of 10-15%. Bluegills are known to be particularly dirty fish, so proper upkeep is vital in their aquarium.

What To Feed a Bluegill in an Aquarium

It is important to provide a proper diet to bluegills. Though they are omnivores, they mostly feed on small fish and insects. Oftentimes they, along with other types of sunfish, are not picky eaters.

Though bluegills can go up to 7-12 days without food, you ideally shouldn’t go more than two days without feeding them. Sometimes, you may even see them nibble on plants and algae in the aquarium.


Minnows are a popular choice to feed bluegill. They allow the bluegill to hunt for their prey, which benefits them as active fish. In addition, minnows are commonly available at bait shops as well as some pet stores.

Fish Flakes and Pellets

Fish food for bluegill can provide them with the nutrients they need. It is an inexpensive and readily available option to feed your fish. They can eat flakes and pellets as well and they are a good option to feed if you have other fish in the tank as well.

Shiner Fish

Shiner fish are a great option to feed mature bluegill. They are typically two to three inches long in length and are usually sold at bait shops. They are full of nutrients and will help fill up your bluegills quickly.


Insects are a popular choice of food among bluegill. They will eat insects at every stage from larvae to adults. The most common insects to feed bluegill include crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers.

In addition, they will also eat water insects, worms, and even flies and moths. They will eat live or freeze-dried insects.


Bloodworms are a popular choice of food for many species of fish. Freeze-dried or even live bloodworms make an excellent choice for feeding bluegills, as well as other tank matres they may have.

Freshwater Shrimp

Freshwater shrimp are a nutritious option to feed your bluegill. They can be fed fresh or frozen, as your fish will enjoy both options. They particularly enjoy hunting for live freshwater shrimp and even small freshwater crayfish.

In Conclusion – Keeping Bluegill in an Aquarium

Bluegill may be common in the wild, but they are not particularly common as pets. However, this doesn’t mean that you cant keep them in your aquarium. With the right research and proper tank setup, they can make great fish to own in your home aquarium.

Bluegill should be kept in groups of at least five to seven, as they prefer to live in small schools. They should have an aquarium that is at least 55-75 gallons, with good filtration and limited lighting. The water should be well oxygenated and be around 60-70 degrees Farenheit.

 keeping bluegill in an aquarium

Though you can keep bluegill with other fish, it is important to choose their other tank mates wisely. They can eat a variety of food including minnows, shrine fish, fish food, shrimp, bloodworms, and insects. You should also be sure to provide them with plenty of shade and hiding places.

Do you have any questions regarding keeping bluegill in an aquarium? If so, please ask any questions about bluegills and their care in the comment section down below.

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