Longear Sunfish “Lepomis Megalotis”

Longear sunfish

The longear sunfish is a species of fish that can be found in the United States. They are typically olive green or brown in color and have a long, pointed ear flap on their head. These fish can grow up to 12 inches in length and are popular among anglers due to their fighting spirit and colorful appearance.

They can typically be found in shallow water along the banks of a river, lake, or pond. They are schooling fish, and will often congregate in areas where there is plenty of covers.

Due to their shy nature, longear sunfish can be difficult to catch. However, they are considered good sport fish due to their strong fighting instinct when hooked. They can be caught using various methods, including bait fishing and fly fishing.

Origin and descriptions

Longear sunfish

The longear sunfish is a North American freshwater fish that is found in the Mississippi-Ohio River drainage basin. They are typically olive green or brown on top with a light underside. The males have bright red fins, especially noticeable during the spawning season. These fish can grow up to 14 inches and weigh up to two pounds.

The longear sunfish is a popular game fish, and they can be found in many lakes and streams throughout their natural range. They are considered a pan fish due to their small size, and they make a tasty meal when cooked fresh. These fish are also known for being very active and playful when caught on hook and line.

Species profile

Longear sunfish

The longear sunfish is a species of freshwater fish that can be found in the United States. This fish is relatively small, typically reaching only about six inches in length, and has a deep blue or green coloration. The longear sunfish is named for its elongated ear-like fins, which are used for balance and steering.

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They are a voracious predator, feeding on insects, small fish, and crustaceans. This fish is also known to consume plant material, making it an important part of the aquatic ecosystem. The longear sunfish can be found in slow-moving streams and ponds, where it prefers to inhabit waters with a depth of about six feet and containing aquatic vegetation.

Despite its small size, the longear sunfish is considered to be desirable as an addition to private ponds due to its penchant for eating insects that may otherwise infest smaller bodies of water. As such, this fish has been introduced in various locations outside of its native range.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the longear sunfish is Lepomis megalotis

Color and appearance

The coloring of a longear sunfish can vary greatly but is typically some shade of olive or green. They have dark stripes that run along their body, and their eyes are bright blue. Some fish may also have red markings on their fins or around their gills.

They are relatively small fish, typically measuring only about six or seven inches in length. They have a deep and elongated body, with a large mouth that is perfect for catching prey. They also have protruding ears, which is how they got their name.

Longear sunfish range and habitat

The longear sunfish is native to the United States and can be found in a variety of habitats including streams, ponds, and lakes. They prefer areas with plenty of covers from which to hide, such as submerged logs or rocks.

They are a popular game fish, thanks to its aggressive nature and a hearty appetite. It is a voracious predator that will take on anything from small fish to insects. They are also known for their fighting spirit and can be quite challenging to reel in.

Longear sunfish size

The average size of this sunfish species is around six or seven inches, but they can grow up to ten inches in length.

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Tank size

A longear sunfish, lepomis megalotis, can be kept in a tank that is at least ten gallons in size. They require a moderate level of water flow and prefer temperatures between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Life cycle of lepomis megalotis

They reach sexual maturity at around one year of age and spawn from late May through early July. The female lays her eggs on aquatic plants or structures, and the male guards them until they hatch.

The fries remain in the nest for a few days before swimming off on their own. They are able to breed during the first year of life and can live for around six years in captivity.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Longear sunfish are very peaceful fish and can be kept with a variety of other species. They do best in tanks that have plenty of covers, such as rocks or driftwood to create hiding places for them.

They should not be housed with large fish that could eat them, but they also shouldn’t be placed in small tanks because the tank mates may bully them.

Longear sunfish care

Longear sunfish

Longear sunfish are an easy fish to care for. They need a tank with plenty of plants and room, but they do not require high maintenance or special feeding.

Longear sunfish diet

They are omnivorous, so they can eat smaller fish or snails. They will eat small crayfish, insects, and mosquito larvae.

They will also eat flake food, pellets, freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms, brine shrimp larvae, white worms, and daphnia.

Tank mates

Longear sunfish are peaceful fish and can be kept in a community tank with other small, non-aggressive fish. They do not mind being in slightly brackish water either.

They should only be housed with calm tank mates that will leave them alone when they want to rest or hunt for food on the bottom of the aquarium.

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Water conditions

Longear sunfish need a tank with water that is soft to medium-hard and has a pH of around neutral. The temperature should be kept between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

They can tolerate a small amount of salt in the water, so you can keep them in slightly brackish water if you wish. However, they will not do well in water that is too salty.

Mineral oil can be added to the water for freshwater fish that are not specifically bred in captivity. This helps them prevent developing any parasites or bacterial infections.

Breeding Lepomis megalotis

Longear sunfish

Longear sunfish are relatively easy to breed. The male will build a nest of bubbles on the bottom of the tank and spawn with the female.

The eggs will hatch in about three days and the fry will be able to eat small food items like brine shrimp right away. They can also be fed crushed flake food, baby brine shrimp, or baby daphnia.

They can grow fast and will be fully mature in three months. Males are more brightly colored than females when they are adults. Females also have a larger dorsal fin relative to their size compared to males that get much smaller with age.

If you want the fry for your aquarium, make sure that the adults have plenty of room to spawn and the fry will not be eaten. You can also remove the eggs from the tank when they are laid and incubate them in a separate container until they hatch.


Longear sunfish can live up to six years in the wild. In captivity, they can live for eight to ten years.

Parasites and diseases

Longear sunfish are susceptible to cryptosporidium, ich, and columnaris.

They can also get fin rot if they have an injury or the water is too cold or dirty. You should always quarantine new fish before introducing them into your aquarium because of these parasites and diseases that they may be carrying.

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It’s best not to crowd your tank with too many fish, because they can spread these parasites and diseases. If you need to treat the water for ich or columnaris, use aquarium salt at a rate of two tablespoons per five gallons.


Longear sunfish are preyed upon by larger fish, birds, raccoons, and otters. They should not be kept in an outdoor pond where they could easily be eaten.

Make sure that your tank is covered or screened to protect them from predators.

Does it make good pets?

Longear sunfish make good pets because they are easy to care for and do not require a lot of maintenance. They are also peaceful fish that can be kept in a community tank with other small fish.


Longear sunfish are a good choice for aquarium fish because they are easy to care for, peaceful, and can be kept in a community tank. They will eat a variety of food items and grow fast. They should only be housed with other calm fish that will not bother them when they want to rest or hunt for food.