Everglades Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma evergladei)

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Everglades Pygmy Sunfish

Pygmy Sunfish, Elassoma evergladei.jpg
Everglades Pygmy Sunfish

Elassoma evergladei

95 Litres (25 US G.)

3-4 cm (1.2-1.6")




6 - 8

10 -30 °C (50-86°F)

3-15 °d

1:1-3 M:F

Live Foods

1-3 years




Native to the southeastern united states from southern North Carolina to Florida, including (as its scientific and common names both imply) the everglades. In the southern parts of its range, it also ranges west to Alabama. They are typically found in areas with soft substrates, slow flow, and large amounts of cover, often in the form of plants and often in the shallows; it also turns up in blackwater habitats.


Dominant males are unmistakable, with black bodies with iridescent blue spangles; subdominant males are very difficult to distinguish from subadult females, though adult females are far plumper than males of any age. These fish breed constantly as adults, and while the adults and juveniles may eat small fry, often many fry grow up alongside the parents anyway if enough plant cover is available. For high fry production, a pair of adults are best placed in a small, densely planted tank, fed well for a month, then removed; they will almost always breed under these conditions. The fry are quite small and will need infusoria or greenwater for the first week or two before they will take microworms and baby brine shrimp.


Strictly carnivorous and almost never takes dry food in captivity. Best fed small live foods in aquariums, though they will often learn to take frozen foods with time; baby snails and shrimplets will also be eaten and can be a valuable supplemental food source. Should not be fasted for long periods due to their long size.


Quite shy fish that will lose all color if intimidated. Best kept in a species tank; very small fish like Least killifish can be mixed with pygmy sunfish, but neither species is likely to successfully breed under such circumstances unless the tank is quite large. Male pygmy sunfishes are quite territorial; in a 5 gallon only 1 male will display color, with the other males showing female colors to avoid being harassed by the dominant male. Larger tanks with more cover can support multiple territories and thus multiple colored up males.


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