Sunfish | All about sunfish and why they are banned
Chris van der Velde
Since 2019, it has been forbidden to keep sunfish in ponds because of the harmful drawbacks this fish species has on nature. However, there are other fish species that are suitable for ponds. Find out which pond fish are best for your pond and how best to care for them for a healthy and sustainable pond.
All about the sunfish
- What kind of fish is the sunfish?
- What makes the sunfish a useful pond fish?
- What does the sunfish eat?
- How big can sunfish get?
- Why is the sunfish no longer sold?
- Sunfish bought before it was banned
What kind of fish is the sunfish?
The sunfish, also known as the Lepomis Gibbosus, is native to North America. However, this fish was introduced to the fresh waters of the Benelux and has reproduced there, which is why it is now increasingly seen in our waters. The sunfish is a robust fish with a sturdy physique and a broad head. They are active hunters and feed mainly on small fish, worms and crustaceans. Consequently, it is a popular sport fish that is often caught with bait or lures. Although sunfish are sometimes eaten, the taste of the fish can vary. Many people therefore choose to release them back into the water so they can be caught again and contribute to the population of this fish species. With their impressive appearance and active behavior, sunfish are a wonderful addition to the freshwater habitat and a joy to watch.
What makes the sunfish a useful pond fish?
The sunfish is a useful addition to a pond because this species of fish helps keep the pond balanced. For example, sunfish eat algae such as filamentous and floating algae, reducing their growth and improving water quality. In addition, they eat insects and small pond animals that live in the pond, helping to balance the population of these animals and biodiversity. In addition, sunfish can eat parasites that live in the pond, protecting the pond and the pond plants in it from disease. However, it is important never to place two sunfish together in the same pond, as they are very territorial and may see each other as competitors for their own habitat. This can lead to conflicts between the fish, where they may injure each other. Therefore, keep only one sunfish per pond and enjoy the many benefits this fish can provide for a healthy and balanced pond.
What does the sunfish eat?
A sunfish is an active hunter and eats mainly small fish, worms and crustaceans. They may also eat insects, shellfish, crabs and frogs. The diet of a sunfish can vary, this depends on their habitat and the availability of certain foods. Apart from this, it is recommended to give the sunfish fish food so that the fish gets all the vitamins and mineral it needs.
The best universal fish food for pond fish
How big can sunfish get?
A sunfish can grow up to 20 centimeters in length, it just depends on its habitat. If the sunfish does not have enough space to swim around then it will not grow as large. Sunfish are fish with a high body in proportion to their length. A striking feature of the sunfish is the spotted pattern they have on their scales, furthermore they are brownish in color with bright blue and green colors here and there. This makes the fish special to see.
Why is the sunfish no longer sold?
The purchase and sale of the invasive fish species the sunfish is prohibited because the fish pose a threat to the fauna of waters. They are predators, which means that they hunt and eat other fish. In addition, they reproduce rapidly, which means that a pond or lake can quickly fill up with sunfish. The sunfish will cause all other fish such as koi carp in the water to be eaten and the fish species to eventually become extinct.
Sunfish bought before it was banned
The answer to this is very simple: yes you may. The sunfish is banned from the year 2019, so it is no longer available in stores or online. But if you already owned a sunfish before there was a ban on these fish then of course it would not make sense to have to get rid of it, this is not necessary. It is not the intention to let the species reproduce itself.
Frequently asked questions about the sunfish
Originally from North America, the sunfish was once released into the waters of the Benelux after which it quickly spread throughout Europe.
Because sunfish are territorial hunters, they do not get along with other fish and, unfortunately, often turn other fish into their prey. This causes the fauna structure to be endangered if these fish are allowed to continue doing their thing.
Simon van der Velde
Pond specialist and aquatic plant grower since 1986
Simon's vision is to let nature do its work in your pond. No need to buy all kinds of measuring equipment and water improvers. If the fish are swimming nicely and the plants are growing well, then the water in the pond is of good quality. With a good planting plan and the right approach, you can save a lot of money and maintenance, and ensure a clear, biologically balanced pond that becomes more beautiful every year.