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 just had some fish spawn this week! I will have to put some photos up but spawn and fish can only mean one thing... six more weeks of winter? Interesting on the tank sizes - totally true that fish will grow to their surroundings so if you want monster gills, you had better get a monster setup. I would also recommend natural lighting - compact florescent make a huge difference on the color - possibly the health of your fish.
I haven't had an aquarium in over 30 years, just a ten gallon one then. I'm not going to have another one......BUT. I have been mulling over something for a while I could use some experienced input on. I have an old above ground swimming pool in storage. I've been thinking about putting it up, filling it with well water and bringing home some bluegill catch. It's only filtration is the circulation pump that came with it, nothing under gravel. What gravel? Wasn't planning on gravel, maybe a few inches of river sand on bottom. The intake is in the side wall about 2 ft high on wall and the pump has a paper cartridge filter that you remove and clean. The pool is 4 ft deep and 18 ft diameter. Surely over a 1000 gallons.

I just want to observe the gills over time from a fishing standpoint. The reason for the sand was hoping they would spawn. I'd fix up some shaded area and put a little structure in with them. Then, drop 'em a line. See what they hit and how they hit it. I was going to pellet feed them for ease of operation.

Ease of operation is REAL important. I ain't got a clue if this will work in the deep south or not. I'm not going to jump through hoops to pull it off either. I've got 3 cats who are becoming finicky eaters and it's starting to annoy me. I'm thinking about putting all 3 of them out of MY misery!

Somebody clue me in. Think it would work without the hoop jumping? What MUST I do differen't than what I've described to have a fair sized fishing test tank in my back yard?

Boogieman
Boogeman I was thinking the samething. I have a above gound pool the kids used until I got the concrete pond. But I'm thing about buying some CNBG fingerling and putting them in it. Itto have the pump filter and so on. I'll be following this too to see what info you get. Might be better then adding a cage to my pond which was my other idea.
Hey Magnolia,

I went swimming in a public cement pond as a teenager, then in the winter they filled it with bass and catfish and charged a $1.00 a pound for what you caught. Some were tagged with prize tags. It was shoulder to shoulder fishing all the way around the pool. I ain't lying this time!

Now you've got another idea! Don't tell nobody 'till you done done it!

Boogieman
For your pool setup - I would put a gravel bed in it as it will form a filter once up and running -
If you put it under a tree- you will have shade but leaf problems. Cover it with a tarp or get it some shade from a building. For cheap plants- add some water lilly to that gravel. This will also give shade. I think that would be pretty cool - I really worry about you fishing and hooking the side, popping a huge hole and creating a tsunami for your neighbor : ) . Some other plants in the water can be found at Petsmart for $1. Anacharis will give them cover and some habitat for insect food.
Don't worry about no tsunami nuthin. I can't throw a rock and hit any neighbors house. I have to see where it landed and go pick it up and throw it again. It will be uphill from my house though......hmm. I'll be reeeaaal careful with the hook thingys!

No shade is gonna be in the picture except what I put over the edge of the pool. As for gravel, since I don't intend to put an undergravel filtration system in, I don't see how that will help filter just sitting there. I ain't too excited about no plants either. This ain't no Sea World attraction. I ain't plannin on keepin' 'em for years and gettin' to be friends. I just want to observe 'em playin with my hook thingys. See how many times they hit the same lure. Lay off the feeding pellets a couple of days and see how many fake baits they'll bite.
The opposite of your above ground setup would be this - I just bought one, but will be housing something smaller in it:

USB Mini Aquarium Toy

It has rechargeable batteries that keep the temperature and add air overnight when it is not powered by the computer.
ah-boogieman- I thought you wanted to keep them a while.
Well in that case they should be fine in Spring- come Summer with no shade what temp will that water be?
For the record, I pictured you riding one of those gills around, jumping through flaming hoops feeding them giant mutant crickets the size of puppies. All the time wearing your BoogieManWorld wet suit.
Spring lasts about a month, sometimes less. Then it's straight to summer. The water will get warm, I don't know how warm, maybe low 80's. With the pump circulating, won't that keep the oxygen levels OK?

I'm already getting discouraged with all the thinking. Only one thing keepin' me goin'. Where can I get giant mutant crickets??????
When you find them let me know!
District 9 has some Crickets -
If you are keeping the gills for a short term they should be fine.
If the water is in the 80s I am unsure. If you see them near the top gasping that will be your answer. Keep a light tarp over a portion of it to keep that down but as you said, you aren't looking to keep them long-term.
The only other thing I could do is sink it 1/4 way down or a foot down to keep it cooler. Or- just catch them observe them and then let them free. If you love the bluegills set them free -
If I see them near the top I will fly fish!

Now I want to keep 'em long enough to figure some things out. Through the summer at least, which ends in September or October down here. As I said earlier, ease of operation is REAL important. I ain't gonna fan 'em or bring 'em SWEET iced tea. If they can't take the heat with the pump flowin' in and out 24/7, I won't even bother with the experiment. I ain't into torture or nothin'.

Where is Distric 9 John? And if they are regular crickets and not giant mutants, never mind. We get home delivery of regular crickets down south.

I'm going to do it my way unless somebody talks me out of it! If it won't work, somebody tell me before I actually lift a finger with real work! I got to get that thing out of storage, and unroll it get the wrinkles out of the bottom and fill it . I'm tired already. Please stop me if you know you should.

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