Owning a largemouth bass can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. There are several things to keep in mind before deciding on having a large fish as a pet such as their aggressive nature and longevity. The largemouth bass is a fast growing, aggressive apex predator fish that does not live well with others (usually because they eat them).
Is It Legal?
First, you must determine a legal means of possessing a largemouth bass – this varies from state to state in the US and is illegal in most other countries where bass are considered an invasive species. Usually a legal means of obtaining a fish means it was caught from private waters (aka privately owned ponds and fish), bought as a minnow, or is over a certain length.
When deciding on tank size – always choose the largest tank possible. Always introduce bass at the same time if you plan to have more than one, as bass are territorial if a new bass “invades” it will be attacked. Bass must be similar in size or the larger fish will continually agitate and bully (many times to death) the smaller fish. A single bass can quickly outgrow a 55-gallon tank. Two 15-inch bass in a 125-gallon tank will work – but not as the fish become larger in size.
Bass eat often (at least once a week) and feeding them can be expensive (if purchasing live gold fish) but exciting because the quick and violent feeding action. Largemouth will also eat brim, crawfish, earthworms, and frogs – which may be cheaper to locally source. The sudden and striking nature of a bass engulfing its prey is exciting to watch. A 15 inch largemouth can easily eat 15-20 medium goldfish in a 10 minute span. They are also greedy eaters and will “stuff” themselves if prey is easily available. Bass become conditioned and will become excited/agitated when they see a trigger (ex. blue colored minnow net).
Largemouth are hardy fish that can withstand temperature changes, light deprivation, and low oxygen. However, to help keep fish healthy – use aerators, a in-water heater, and a timed light to help promote good fish and aquarium health. Placing the tank in a location that receives natural sunlight is recommended. Always replace your filters and clean the aquarium regularly. Bass can live up to 16 years.