Bluegills are relatively fast-growing fish that originated in the United States. In the first few years of their life, they grow faster but then their growth rate decays dramatically. The growth of bluegill also depends on location, environmental factors and food source.

How fast does bluegill grow?

Bluegill grow 8-9 inches in the first three years of their life. After that, the growth slows down. It will take 5 to 7 years to grow 10-inch bluegill depending on the climate. Bluegills have a higher growth rate in warmer climates. They need 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit for best growing.

Bluegills growth table

1 year4.5 to 6 inches
2 years6.5 to 8 inches
3 years8 to 8.9 inches
4 years8.7 to 9.4 inches
5 years9.5 to 10 inches

Bluegill grows the most in the first year of their life. Average bluegill grows 4.5 to 6 inches in one year. Their growth rate decays a bit after they start swarming at the size of 4 inches. 

Hybrid bluegill grows faster than regular bluegill. They can reach about 8 inches in length after one year. Hybrid bluegills are cross-species between common bluegills and sunfish.

Copper nose bluegill have a similar growth rate to hybrid bluegills. Those fishes are sometimes incorrectly called a perch or bluegill perch. But perch belonged to a different family of fishes. Bluegills are often referred to as beam fish or bluegill beams.

1″-3″ inches fingerling bluegills are the best option for starting a bluegill farm. After one year, fingerling bluegill should become 5″-6″ inches with proper feeding.

Bluegills are warm and freshwater fish. Their metabolic activity becomes faster at higher temperatures.

This is why they grow faster in southern climates. It will take 5 years to grow 10-inch bluegill in southern climates while the same growth takes 7 years in northern climates.

How fast does bluegill grow in a tank and a pond?

Bluegill growth rates in a tank and a pond are the same in the right conditions. But as bluegills live longer in a tank, most of the tank bluegill will become bigger than average pond bluegill.

In a tank:

Bluegills are one of the best fish to keep in an aquaponics tank. They can grow over 12 inches and live about 8 to 11 years. 

They are also a good choice for home aquariums. Bluegills need at least 50 to 70 gallons of water with proper ammonia control and with 6.8 to 7.2 PH.

In a pond:

Bluegill grows 9″ to 10″ inches in five years with suitable pond conditions in a northern climate. 1-acre ponds are ideal for Bluegill farming.

A pond with lots of insects, planktons and other food sources will enhance the growth. One should also make sure that the fishes are overabundant as they reproduce very quickly.

How to grow bluegill fast?

There are a few things you must do for better bluegill growth.

Provide enough Space:

Bluegills pond should not be less than half an acre and the pond should be 6 to 8 feet deep. It is good to have some aquatic grass and plants in the pond but the abundance of plants will create different problems.

Keep predator species:

The biggest problem with bluegill is it stops growing because of an excess population. As the bluegills reproduce very fast, without any predators it will create overpopulation problems in the pond.

Bass is a good predator fish for bluegill farming. It eats smaller bluegills and controls the number of new bluegill fries.

The abundance of aquatic plants is also problematic because smaller bluegills get more hiding places and bass can not locate them. 

Nutrition:

Bluegills live on mostly aquatic and terrestrial insects, Snails, zooplankton, small fish, fish egg and crayfish. So a pond that has a good ecosystem of small aquatic animals will enhance their growth. 

For bluegills farming, adding some quality fish food is also necessary for fish health and growth.

Avoid keeping competing species:

Avoid keeping those fish with bluegills that compete with bluegills for food and habitats. Such as grass carp, channel catfish and trout.

Ducks and herons look beautiful but don’t allow them in your pond. They can eat up small insects and fish.

How much does bluegill grow in a year?

Bluegills grow 4.5 to 6 inches in the first year if they get a suitable environment, temperature and nutrition source.

They need 7-8 months to become 4 inches. At 4 inches, they start swarming and their growth drops a bit. In the 2nd and 3rd years of their life, they grow 2 inches and 1-1.5 inches in order.

So, in three years you get over 8 inches of bluegills. If you are aiming at farming efficiency, harvesting 3 years old bluegills is the best option. 

Because in 4th and 5th years they will grow only 0.5 to 0.6 inch. However, keep in mind that older female fish lay more eggs.

How fast does bluegill reproduce?

Bluegills reproduce extremely fast in favourable conditions. Bluegill female fish spawn three times in the Summer season.

Each time they spawn 23,000 to 81,000 eggs depending on the female’s age. The older the female bluegill is, the more eggs it spawns.

A high rate of reduction is important to maintain a population balance in a water system full of bass and other predators. 

How long do bluegills live?

4 to 6 years is the general lifespan of bluegills. But in captivity, they can live 8 to 11 years. That makes them an amazing choice for monster aquarists.

The lifespan mostly depends on the environment and population. These factors affect the food habit and the nutrient cycle.

Can bluegills live in a small pond?

No, a small pond can not support bluegills growth requirements. A bluegill bond should be at least half an acre. 

Ponds less than half an acre can’t provide enough space for the fish and necessary diversity of food species. However, farming bluegills in a half-acre pond is not recommended. 

Hybrid bluegill and sunfish are some of the good options for ponds smaller than one acre. 1-acre ponds are ideal for bluegills. 

If one aims to get larger size bluegills, he can reduce the number of fish. Less fish will create less competition for food and territory.

How big and deep does a bluegill pond need to be?

A 1-acre pond easily fulfils all the growth requirements of bluegills. Bigger ponds have the smiler result, but it creates problems while harvesting. 

Bluegills ponds should be 6 to 8 feet deep. Deeper ponds will reduce the oxygen level in the bottom. As pond bottoms are important for bluegills bedding. Any deeper than 8 feet is not a good choice.

Make sure your pond has sufficient water in the winter season. If water depth drops less than 18 inches, your whole pond can freeze. For colder regions, ponds should have 30 inches deeper areas.

How big do bluegills get?

7.5 inches or 19.1 cm is the average adult size of bluegills. The size varies depending on climate, location and other environmental factors. 

10 to 12 inches bluegills are also commonly found. The biggest bluegill in the world was caught in 1950.

The fish was 15 inches long with about 18 inches girth and weighed 4 pounds 12 ounces. It was a world record for the biggest bluegill ever recorded by the International Gamefish Association.

Unlike other animals, fishes grow throughout their lifespan. So it is possible to grow larger than their normal size.

How big do bluegills have to be kept? What is the legal size?

There are different limits and restrictions on how many or what size fish you can catch and keep in different regions of the country.

Such as, you can catch 25 bluegills of any size per day in California. In Wisconsin, you can catch only less than 10-inch bluegills.

One can know the fishing law and regulations by reaching the local fishing society. If you catch bigger fish than the legal size, you can release the fish after catching it. 

Those restrictions will be applicable for regional lakes and rivers. Personal properties are not included.

How many bluegills can you keep?

Bluegills become easily overpopulated. So the keeping lows of bluegills are quite flexible. One can keep 25 bluegills every day in most regions.

If you are thinking of a bluegill pond, you can keep 1,000 to 1,500 bluegills along with 50-100 bass and 50-200 catfish. The bess and catfishes are important as they will control the overpopulation problems of your pond.

For home aquariums, you can keep one bluegill per 20 gallons of water. Bluegills are easy to keep, feed and maintain if you have sound biological filtration. Filtration is important as excess ammonia is harmful to the fish.

Final thoughts

Bluegills grow 9.5 to 10 inches in 5 years and reproduce rapidly. This makes it one of the best choices for farming and fishing sports. Their growth can be enhanced by providing proper nutrition and the environment. They are an important part of the ecosystem and also a beneficial species for us.

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