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The Invasive Pumpkin Seed Fish Easy Care Guide

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The pumpkin seed fish is originally a North American pond fish. It is beautifully gold-spotted in color. This North American perch eats mosquito larvae, leeches and worms that parasitize other pond fish. The fish also eats eggs and spawn of other fish species and amphibians. Pumpkin seed fish breed very easily.

One pair can provide hundreds of offspring in a year. To avoid this, it is recommended to keep only one pumpkin seed fish in a pond. You can easily tame these perch, so that they will come and take an earthworm from your hand, for example. In nature, the pumpkin seed fish grows up to 15 centimeters high and 25 centimeters long. Its weight is then about 500 grams. They live to be about 10 to 12 years old.

You may also want to read about the chain pickerel.


Pumpkin seed fish (Lepomis gibbosus) belongs to the family of pumpkin seed fish (Centrarchidae). The species has a laterally strongly flattened, highly built, body with faint dark transverse bands and orange, red and blue spots. There is usually a black spot on the gill cover. The dorsal fin consists of two joined parts with the front part being lower than the rear part. Pumpkin seed fish can grow up to 21 centimeters in length but usually remain smaller in colder climates. The pos with a somewhat similar appearance has a lower body height and lacks the black spot on the gill lid.

pumpkin seed fish

Pumpkin seed fish in your pond

Pumpkin seed fish are strong fish that do not get sick easily. Pumpkin seed fish are often put in (koi) ponds to control pests such as insects and larvae. Never put more than 1 pumpkin seed fish in the pond. Because if they breed and too many pumpkin seed fish enter the pond, they will attack larger fish.The pond should be locally about 70 cm deep and have dense and sparsely planted areas. In summer, the beautiful colors of the pumpkin seed fish are often very good to admire because they are then against the water surface looking for insects.

Normally it is recommended to keep only 1 specimen in a pond. The reason for this is that they reproduce at lightning speed and thus can quickly cause overpopulation. If there are too many pumpkin seed fish in a pond, they will start fighting for food. Since they are true carnivores and predatory fish, your other fish will prey on these predatory fish. Limiting the number to 1 will prevent problems from overpopulation.

If you want to breed with these fish, an area no more than 20 centimeters deep is important. The reason for this is that at this depth the nests are often built by the fish. Keep in mind that this is not suitable for garden ponds because reproduction leads to overcrowding and eventually to a disturbed pond environment with all its consequences. Therefore again the advice to never place more than 1 pumpkin seed fish in the pond.


The fish will eat whatever food is available. This also makes them easy to tame. The pumpkin seed fish therefore quickly accept food from the hand. Earthworms and mealworms as well as pellet food are quickly accepted. You don’t really have to be afraid of too many insects in your pond. In addition, the release of pumpkin seed fish is an effective way to reduce nuisance insects such as mosquitoes!

Lifestyle and habitat

The pumpkin seed fish is a generalist. They live in slowly standing to slowly flowing water with a preference for clear vegetation-rich sites. Its food consists of macrofauna and the eggs and larvae of amphibians and fish. Juvenile pumpkin seed fish form shoals, the older animals live solitary.


Pumpkin seed fish spawn from April to July at water temperatures as low as 16 degrees. The male makes a hole in sand or gravel in a shallow sunlit riparian zone to which he lures the females. He guards and cares for the eggs until they hatch.