Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

I've had all sorts of fish in my aquarium(s) over the years. In addition to "tropical" fish bought in a store, I've also played host to green sunfish, rock bass, bluegills, crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, northern pike, walleye, tiger musky, and even sturgeon!! Oh...and also baby snapping turtles and other pond turtles.
I'm down to a single aquarium these days. Its a 125-gallon tank that is about 6' long.
I usually hosted these fish for up to a year before releasing them.
My question is... how big can you get a bluegill to grow in an aquarium? At a local boat dealer, they have a large aquarium with a couple of bluegills in it. They feed them minnows, and they have grown substantially in the past year. I didn't measure them, of course, but they appear to easily be in the 9" or better range.
Has anyone else tried to grow a bluegill(s) in a home aquarium?

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I've never had a home aquarium, so I'm looking forward to others answering this question...but let me say that the biggest bluegill I've ever seen in real life resided in a Cabela's aquarium, and the manager told me that this fish ate exclusively fathead minnows.

It was 2 3/4 pounds.
My family has raised a BG in a small 5 gallon aquarium a couple of times. The first time was a hybrid that grew from a couple of inches up to 8" or so before his demise. He loved eating big nightcrawlers and small feeder goldfish; after eating the latter, it was a hoot to watch him pass clouds of gold scales.

The second was a regular BG that grew from 1.5" to 8.5" in a couple of years. He ate a variety of commercial aquarium fish food for the first year, then was fed 40% protein feeds with daily mealworm suppplements. At his largest, we were changing out a half gallon of water every day, and we released him back into our pond after he seemed to plateau in growth, so I think he had hit the size limit for a 5 gallon tank.

I currently have 11 BG from 7" to 9.5" in a 100 gallon semi-recirculating tank, which eat Purina Aquamax 600 with a weekly natural food supplement.
I had an aquarium years ago with bluegill's in it. They were really neat to watch,
especially at night with the light of the aquarium on. I had my in a 30 gallon
tank and they didn't grow any more than the day I caught them. The rule of thumb
on that is, the bigger the tank, the bigger the fish.

Good Luck
Other then walleye and sturgeon (cool!), my list is pretty close to Dave's. I have to add yellow perch, snakehead, longnose gar, and pumpkinseed to the list though.
We never really focused on growing large specimens, but rather used the aquariums as test subjects (and the occasional "neat" fish for conversation).
Normally, I'll start with YOY fish caught wild (bluegill), wean them off live food for floating pellets, and add larvae as "dessert" daily.
I've only been able to keep 'gills for seven(7) years in captivity like this. For some reason, we always have mortality from stone impaction once the BG reach this time frame.

Only having a 75 gallon tank, we'll only keep 1-3 fish in the tank at a time. I'm amazed how territorial BG can be - we've been unable to keep any other fish in the tank with them for any extended amount of time without witnessing constant "bullying".
How big did your bluegills get after 7 years, Zig?

Pike cichlids are a cool aquarium fish, and I grew a Peacock Bass up from about 1.5" to 13" in a little over a year...and then the heater broke unbeknownst to me, and it died.

Bruce...any idea what the length is/was on the 2.75 lb bluegill in the Cabela's aquarium?
Largest I had was 10.65"/14.9ozs.
Normally, they're anywhere between 9¼ - 10¼".
I would think if you were to specifically keep a BG in captivity to grow to Condello porportions, with your size tank it wouldn't be a problem.
The fish I keep are subject to a constant barrage of tests - everything from water quality, to food source changes, to being caught with hook and line. (I wasn't kidding about fishing in the tank)

Currently I have two(2) anomallies for a project. One(1) has signs of a birth defect: completely missing pectorial fin and stumped pelvic fin growth on the same side. The other has an extremely interesting ability to completely change the color and size of it's gill flap tag.
I've had these two(2) for 2 years, 4months. They were actually brought in to do a feed study with, so for 6 months they only recieved whatever intake the tank environment supplied. It wasn't until they were removed for data collection did I notice their "conditions" and change the direction of their fate.
Now...........they're living the easy life, although they don't get along at all times.
I believe that Cabelas fish was 12.5 inches. Not really that long--all things considered.
That's a true GIANT to me! I'd sure love to catch on 12" or better...

In your opinion (and anybody can chime in on this), is there really a "better" time of year to catch a giant bluegill? Or pretty much "anytime, you just gotta find 'em"?
My best time to catch the very biggest bluegill is in the middle of summer, really early in the morning or late in the evening. The warmer the water, the more the fish throw caution to the wind.
I currently have 9 Coppernose Bluegill in a Tall 150 gallon tank. It originally held 150 1-3" CNBG, 200 2-3" Blue Tilapia, and 100 4-6" Channel Cats. Filtration was extreme and when the Tilapia had grown to 3+" in about 2 weeks, they got a new home. In about 2 months 90% of the CNBG had more than doubled in size along with ALL the CC.

It was a sick feeling when I collected the CNBG and CC to transprt them to my pond because as soon as I poured the fish into the transport water, I remembered that I had forgotten to match the water temps (about 20 degrees diff.)! The sudden shock of the temperature differances did not bother the CC at all, but 90 of the CNBG were floating within 2 minutes. Only about 10 of those recovered. Of the 40 or so that originally survived the shock, I caught a few in my pond that were over 7"

Could this be a sadistic form of "only the fittest will survive" way to improve genetics?????????????
Awwww dang rainman, that sucks!

Cabelas sure does have some monster fish in their aquariums. And they don't let you fish in them either, I've asked....... ok, not really, but only because I'm sure I'd be told no.....
I'd be more afraid they'd say YES...and then I'd have an audience watching me get skunked! Oh, the embarrassment! LOL


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