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#104137 - 01/01/08 07:24 PM Pacu update from Meadowlark.
Bruce Condello Offline
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Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 8854
Loc: United States
Meadowlark was kind enough to give me an update on his Pacu/Hot tub program. Here it is.

I learn something about this interesting, amazing fish all the time. I currently have Pacu estimated at 8, 6, and 4 pounds in my hot tub. The weight is estimated because they have been there since late September when they were 7,5, and 3 pounds measured weight.

This is, needless to say, one imposing fish in any facility let alone a hot tub. You do NOT, repeat NOT, net the large one or smaller two fish either for measuring. They simply are too strong and too wild. I'm not sure how I will get them back in the ponds this spring...probably will remove all the water from the hot tub along with anything breakable and hope I can handle them. I'm looking for something which will also tranqualize them temporarily while moving them to the pond.

About a week ago, I started my annual Pacu replenishment program by purchasing six 2 inch fish from PetSmart and adding them to the hot tub. Mistake, bad mistake. Pacu are vegetarians, right? Wrong, at least in a confined space and fish of a large size. The six small Pacu were down to one by the next day....and even more shocking was the discovery of partial remains of a Tilapia of at least 1/2 pound. I have some 1 pound Tilapia in the hot tub which were unaffected by the apparent killing spree.

I got a great deal this week on some very large shiners for use as winter LMB forage. I'm trying them instead of rainbow trout this year just to see if they may be better or not. This relates to Pacu in the following way...I held back a couple of pounds of the large shiners to add a few at a time to the Pacu in the hot tub. It will be interesting to see what happens, although I think we can predict the result.

Based on this experience, I'm going to have to find a separate tank for raising the small Pacu indoors or just wait and put them in my grow out pond in April until they are predator proof. I was planning to purchase and grow about 20 to 25 Pacu for Pond stocking this year, but those plans are now pending an alternative indoor tank or possibly three grilled large Pacu dinners. I want to see how large these fish can get in two growing seasons, so I'll probably just continue as is for now. I fully expect 15 to 20 pound fish by next fall from the two larger ones.

Let me say a word or two about the sporting qualities of this amazing fish....and I think you probably know that I have some basis for this statement having fished all over the North and South American continents. The Pacu is by far the greatest sporting fish I have ever experienced in fresh water, warm water fishing. Considering all freshwater species that I have experienced, cold and warm, I would rank it right there with the wild Alaskan Steelhead as a sport fish. It can't outshine the salt water flats species of Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit, but it certainly is superior to many other saltwater species.

Hence, in spite of potential problems with carnivorous, cannibalistic behavior, I will continue to raise, stock (in selected ponds) and catch these amazing fish.

_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#104138 - 01/01/08 07:42 PM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Bruce Condello]
Rad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/06/05
Posts: 957
Loc: Chumpon Thailand
That certainly matches with my experience, they will eat anything anytime. I caught one on a piece of bread day before yesterday, a first for me, Don said he caught one on a live minnow. I have caught them on rapalas.
And, as ML says, love to hear that reel sing.
I have about 20- 25 now and I can't keep up with the food bill.
_________________________
1/4 & 3/4 acre ponds. A thousand miles from no where and there is no place I want to be...
Dwight Yoakam

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#104151 - 01/02/08 08:14 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Rad]
Tororider Offline
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Registered: 12/14/07
Posts: 39
Loc: SE Michigan
Bruce,
There was a show on the National Geographic channel last night on the snakehead carp problem they are having in Maryland. The reason I mention this is that you said you need a way to tranq them, they used some type of oil, I can't remember the name. They said it was a topical numbing agent for humans, but acted as a sleeping pill to fish. If I see the show on again I will write down the name of the oil. But you could probably drain down the hot tub, add some of this oil, and wait for nap time for pacu.

Sounds like fun, send pics if you have any, I would love to see your fish.
_________________________
You've got to talk to the animals, sing ditties to the fishies - My Great Grandfather

Here fishy fishy fishy - Me

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#104152 - 01/02/08 08:15 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Rad]
george1 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
Bruce and ML thanks for sharing the Pacu report, and Rad for you your continuing Pacu updates.
I find the subject most interesting, and not unlike some of the early tilapia experiments and ultimate acceptance and popularity.

I see no personal immediate utilization for Pacu, but the sporting characteristics for this remarkable species is very tempting, raising several questions as to culture and propagation.

Reproduction characteristics/Hatchery reproduction?
Temperature tolerances?
Seasonal growth potential with supplemental feeding?
Water quality tolerance?
Hook shy?

ML and Rad both report Pacu are omnivores and I find this most interesting.

If enough interest and demand is shown, I see no reason why fish hatcheries would not respond to this as a profitable opportunity.



Edited by george1 (01/02/08 09:49 AM)
_________________________

N.E. Texas 2 acre and 1/4 acre ponds
Original george #173 (22 June 2002)





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#104156 - 01/02/08 09:09 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: george1]
george1 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
I may have answered some of my own questions, which I am sure ML and Rad have addressed in the past.


Excerpts from:

Aquaculture Presents New Opportunities for Puerto Rican
Farmers
By
Michael V. McGee, Ph.D.
Caribe Fisheries Inc.
Lajas, PR

Over the last twenty-five years the fastest growing sector of agriculture
world-wide has been aquaculture. Simply put, aquaculture is the propagation
and production of aquatic species under controlled conditions. Similar to
traditional agriculture in many respects aquaculture farms produced nearly
46,000,000 metric tons of products in 2000. Today a large percentage of
fresh water fish species consumed for food including Tilapia, catfish, carp,
trout, and pacu, are produced by farmers. An increasing percentage of
saltwater species including oysters, clams, shrimp and salmon are also farmraised.
New species and production techniques are continually being
developed and evaluated. While richer nations have often been leaders in
terms of education and technology, developing countries especially in
tropical regions have in many cases received the most economic benefit
from the “blue revolution”, as the modern aquaculture industry is sometimes
called.


Beyond these species which are well known in Puerto Rico new species are
now available locally which hold great potential for successful aquaculture
production. Fish of the genus Colossoma known also as pacu or cachama are
native to the Amazon River basin in northern South America. These fish are
widely cultured throughout tropical regions of South and Central America.
Pacu grow quickly to a large size and are well accepted as a food and sport
fish. These fish are tolerant of poor water quality and crowding and can be
stocked at high densities in ponds
. In polyculture with Tilapia they appear to
reduce unwanted reproduction. Pacu themselves cannot reproduce in the
pond environment

_________________________

N.E. Texas 2 acre and 1/4 acre ponds
Original george #173 (22 June 2002)





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#104160 - 01/02/08 10:40 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: george1]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13600
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I don't understand why they can't reproduce in the pond environment.
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#104247 - 01/02/08 09:56 PM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Dave Davidson1]
james holt Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 1714
Loc: gainesville texas
Meadowlark you never did post a picture of you in the hot tub with the tilapia so could you at least post a picture of you in the hot tub with the pacu?

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#104255 - 01/02/08 10:52 PM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: james holt]
Rad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/06/05
Posts: 957
Loc: Chumpon Thailand
DD1,
They are shy.

Yesterday a guy drove by with a pick up full of fish, mostly tilapia and pacu. The pacu were 2 1/2 to 3" for about a dime a piece.
George, At least for me they are similar in those areas to tilapia, the big difference is the breeding, pacu, both sexes, need to be induced and I think need to be around 5 years old. They are aquacultured so they should be available in some areas.
As for hook shy, if I surface fish, usually one is the limit, the rest leave the area. On the bottom, I have caught 6 in an hour or so.

When in the states a couple of months ago I saw several at Sea World, in the 30# range, but they were fat.
_________________________
1/4 & 3/4 acre ponds. A thousand miles from no where and there is no place I want to be...
Dwight Yoakam

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#104433 - 01/05/08 10:29 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Rad]
Bruce Condello Offline
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Field Correspondent

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Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 8854
Loc: United States
Here's one of Meadowlark's massive Pacu. I stole the image from his website (with permission of course )



Quite a fish, eh?


...and here's the website so you can follow the growth of these fish. Shaped like a mega-turbo-charged-steroid raging-bluegill, if you ask me.


Edited by Bruce Condello (01/05/08 10:31 AM)
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#104586 - 01/10/08 06:42 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Tororider]
JHM Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 53
 Originally Posted By: Tororider
Bruce,
. The reason I mention this is that you said you need a way to tranq them, they used some type of oil, I can't remember the name. They said it was a topical numbing agent for humans, but acted as a sleeping pill to fish. If I see the show on again I will write down the name of the oil.


Clove oil.
I can't remember the dosage,and can't seem to find the bottle I had, but I used an EYE DROPPER to add it,so it was a low concentration. I didn't like using it, prefer MS222.
And clove oil makes fish even harder to handle (think:slippery)

ETA: We used to make up a stock solution using 1ml of clove oil (Eugenol) to 10 ml of 90% ethanol,(1:10) to help disperse the oil in water.

We started with 1 ml of this stock solution to 2.5 gallons of water, and worked from there, depending on the reaction of the fish. Varies by species, temp, water chem., etc, so start low and adjust as needed until you have a handle on it. And have a tub of regular water on hand in case to fish go out too hard/fast.

*** Don’t believe that it is a FDA approved fish anaesthetic, so information is for educational purposes only.



Edited by JHM (01/10/08 10:19 AM)

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#121343 - 06/09/08 01:46 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: JHM]
Rad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/06/05
Posts: 957
Loc: Chumpon Thailand
Nine pounds nine ounces and what a blast to catch. I lost three yesterday on new 10# line. Switched to 12 today.




Edited by Rad (06/09/08 01:49 AM)
_________________________
1/4 & 3/4 acre ponds. A thousand miles from no where and there is no place I want to be...
Dwight Yoakam

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#121345 - 06/09/08 07:37 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Rad]
Bruce Condello Offline
Moderator
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Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 8854
Loc: United States
Oh, my word!
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#121347 - 06/09/08 08:06 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Bruce Condello]
bobad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Eunice, Louisiana
Mine never got hook shy. I guess I hooked each fish 4-5 times. Do use one of the super braided lines, as they have a knack for nipping monofilament line. They finally died from cold last December, and I have no way to grow more out this year. I really miss those little monsters. When they were feeling spunky, they would swim high and leave a pretty good wake telling other fish to back off.
_________________________
Shrimp

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#121359 - 06/09/08 10:10 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: bobad]
Brettski Offline
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Field Correspondent
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6908
Loc: Illinois
It's got that look on it's face like "do I look fat in this picture?"
Could you even fit the filet on a Weber?
_________________________


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#121433 - 06/09/08 08:55 PM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Brettski]
Rad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/06/05
Posts: 957
Loc: Chumpon Thailand
I thought I had been neglecting them but this one, at least, is pretty fat, I couldn't find a Wr list for pacu.

The chef will make steaks out of thios guy and unless there is a special order it will hit the hot fat in a wok.
_________________________
1/4 & 3/4 acre ponds. A thousand miles from no where and there is no place I want to be...
Dwight Yoakam

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#129089 - 08/13/08 03:25 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Rad]
Rad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/06/05
Posts: 957
Loc: Chumpon Thailand
Bobad,
Here is a little incentive to locate a few more pacu. I went to this restaurant the other day, it is in the middle of a 5 acre pond. Really pleasant, there are places similar to this all over the country, usually smaller with lots of catfish and many have fish food for sale to feed them.




This place has a coin operated dispenser, an unusual item regardless of what is dispensed. (setting the stage) Girlfriend and I see a couple of folks feeding some fish on the other side of the restaurant and she digs out some coins, as she has already seen the dispenser, and heads over to get some food. Me, I am just admiring the beautiful pond and enjoying a rare draft beer, when I hear "Oh Sh#t", she doesn't know what it means, but I do, so I truck on over and find that like with an ice machine you needed to have a bucket inserted prior to inserting the coin. Bucket, new coin and we are back at the table, me enjoying the view/beer and she tossing a handful of food into the water, I hear another "OH sh#t" turn and offer the same exclamation.

There are 50, 30 to 35 pound pacu shouldering each other out of the way for the pellets.



The rufus, for the birders, colored fish are cats, there were also tilapia and giant gourami, plus one white/albino catfish weighing in at about 5 pounds.

Right after I got home I fed my fish, new goal a 30 pound pacu from my pond.
_________________________
1/4 & 3/4 acre ponds. A thousand miles from no where and there is no place I want to be...
Dwight Yoakam

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#129091 - 08/13/08 06:41 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Rad]
Brettski Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
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Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6908
Loc: Illinois
Awesome fish, patio/gazebo, and story. Thanks for paintin' that picture, Rad. You really are in your element, ain't ya.
-
I'm sketching some construction drawings right now. Is the roof slate or metal?
_________________________


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#129099 - 08/13/08 08:18 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Brettski]
bobad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Eunice, Louisiana
Rad,

I can fully understand the expletive! A few come to mind just thinking about 35 pound pacu. I bet those little monsters could warm up the drag on your reel.

That's a beautiful restaurant and setting Rad. It's a tough job, but I guess someone has to do it, eh?

We miss seeing the wakes of approaching pacu in our pond, and the possibility of a big fight. If I have any setbacks raising fathead in my little bait pond, I'll use it to grow out some more pacu.

Thanks for the great story and pictures.
_________________________
Shrimp

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#129100 - 08/13/08 08:20 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Brettski]
Theo Gallus Online   content
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12394
Loc: Central Ohio
 Originally Posted By: Brettski
Awesome fish, patio/gazebo, and story. Thanks for paintin' that picture, Rad. You really are in your element, ain't ya.
-
I'm sketching some construction drawings right now. Is the roof slate or metal?

Stand by for pics of the new pagodazebo from LNP ...

I wonder what the upper weigth limit for pacu is.
_________________________
"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling

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#129107 - 08/13/08 09:10 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Theo Gallus]
Schroeder Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/09/05
Posts: 110
Loc: Central Indiana
Rad:
I'm a "lurker" who seldom posts, but I always enjoy your updates. It is nice to escape to another world vicariously through you. Thanks.
_________________________

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#129112 - 08/13/08 09:28 AM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Theo Gallus]
Rad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/06/05
Posts: 957
Loc: Chumpon Thailand
I am told 44 pounds, Theo and I can't wait.

I snagged one in the side a couple of weeks ago, about 7/12 pounds, I didn't know what I had at first, felt bigger than anything before it. It is hard to turn a fish if they are not hooked in the mouth. Plus, I am switching rigs from spinning to bait casting and was still trying to set up the drag.

Somewhere back in the remaining live brain cells a switch was thrown about 15 yards into the 30 yard run and my thumb clamped down on the spinning spool. The last time I used a freshwater bait casting reel was before level wind. And, during that time between then and now, I must have forgotten the results of trying to stop a big fish with my thumb. A total of five runs, a bunch of swimming back and forth and one thumb print later he was in the net.

They do have a downside, if you look at the picture of the restaurant you might notice the lack of plants in or at waters edge.
_________________________
1/4 & 3/4 acre ponds. A thousand miles from no where and there is no place I want to be...
Dwight Yoakam

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#129189 - 08/13/08 08:12 PM Re: Pacu update from Meadowlark. [Re: Rad]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19590
Loc: Miss.
Thanks Rad. Those Pacu can get to 20 kg.
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