- Scientific name: Enneacanthus chaetodon
- Synonyms: -
- Common name: Blackbanded sunfish
- Group: Cichlids
- Habitat: North America; Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages from New Jersey to central Florida.
- Size: 7-10 cm
- Biotope: Found in vegetated lakes and in slow-moving parts of creeks and small rivers.
- Social behavior: Quite peaceful fish, yet it will eat those tankmates that fit in its mouth. They can become aggressive and territorial during spawning, but usually just chase other creatures away.
- Diet: Carnivorous; It will take all kinds of live and frozen foods, but usually it will not accepting dried foods. Can be fed with small earthworms and live bloodworms.
- Breeding: Quite hard
- Tank: Minimum 110 litres
- Population: 5-6 fish for 150 litres
- Decoration: Use sand as substrate. Plant the tank heavily and place some roots to create plenty of hiding places. The plants will also suit its camouflage.
- Temperature: 4-22 °C
- pH: 6.5-7.5
- Hardness: 10-20 NK°
- Lifespan: 5-8 years
Description: The Blackbanded sunfish has a silvery body with six black bars on each side, the first running through the eye, and the sixth on the caudal peduncle. Its mouth is quite small, and its fins are usually black-mottled. There are some yellow flecks on its sides, and its ear flap has a black spot. The 11-12 rays of the dorsal fin are the longest. Blackbanded sunfish is a true coldwater fish, so their aquarium should be palced in a cool place during the summertime, because they will not tolerate high temperatures for long. Unlike many other coldwater fish they are also a challenge to keep, because they usually will not eat any foods that aren’t live, so they should be kept only by experienced fish keepers. The fish only rarely available from specialist stores, and these fish are mostly being bred in the Far East. The main reason this fish is in the aquarium industry in the United States has to do with local state fish and game laws, and it is usually illegal to transport live game fish. Some states do not allow wild caught fish to be kept as pets because they fear they may end up being released into waters where they to do not want them to exist, and they may also transmit diseases.
The males are larger with longer fins, while the females become plumper when ripe with eggs. Spawning occurs during the spring, where the male will dig a spawning pit in the gravel, in a shady area among the plants. Many eggs are laid in the pit by the female. The male will defend the pit fiercely, driving the female away. Blackbanded sunfish are rarely spawn in aquarium as they need a cooling down period during the winter to get into spawning condition. If their keeper is able to get their water down to a stable temperature of 5-10 °C, they may be able to spawn in aquarium. The eggs hatch after a few days, and after four or five days, the fry became free-swimming. The fry grow very fast and are colored after just six weeks.