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Enneacanthus chaetodon (Black Banded Sunfish)

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A small, almost disc-shaped fish with strong lateral compression and quite long fins. The basic colouration is metallic grey, ranging from bright silver to a dark pewter colour depending on the mood. On the head and flanks there are multiple, often irregular, black vertical bands. One band passes through the eye, and another runs from the front of the dorsal fun across the body and onto the pelvic fins.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Enneacanthus spp. sunfish can be traded freely in the UK and unlike many of the other sunfishes do not require a license to be sold or maintained as pets.

These are somewhat delicate fish that are best maintained in clean, moderately soft, slightly acidic water conditions. Aim for less than 10 degrees dH and a pH of 6-7. Water temperature is not critical, though room temperature conditions between 15-20 degrees C suit them well. Although sometimes sold as tropical fish they do not do well kept at continually high temperatures.

Feeding is tricky as these fish definitely prefer live foods such as daphnia and bloodworms. Frozen substitutes are readily accepted, but flake and dried foods are not normally taken.

Growth is slow, and sexual maturity is not attained until these fish are three years old. Spawning is strikingly similar to that of cichlids, with the male making a nest and guarding the eggs once the female has deposited them. He protects the eggs until they hatch and the fry become free swimming.

Family Group: Temperate
Distribution East coast of North America
Temperature 15-20 C
Size Up to 10 cm, 7.5 cm in aquaria
Water Parameters Soft, slightly acidic water essential
Water PH 6.0-7.0
Care Level Difficult
Water Chemistry less than pH 7 - acidic
Schooling Fish No
Sociability Peaceful
Diet Special Needs