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#329113 - 04/06/13 01:10 AM Extreme Tilapia stocking rates
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
Hello!

I have read through the forums and have seen some posts of second hand experience with stocking rates as high as 100lbs of tilapia per acre. Does anyone have any first hand experience with really high stocking rates of tilapia in their pond with an existing LMB and BG population?

Here is the back story to my situation. My wife and I purchased 60 acres with a 8 year old pond that had (as an afterthought) been stocked with LMB, BG and 50-75 Channel Cats. This was the end of July 2011 and I only fished it once or twice that year. I did keep fish records and was pretty sure that I most likely had an overpopulated LMB issue. I had a decent size range of largemouth bass taken from <6 inches to 2 or 3 around 3 lbs. The largest bass (around 3 lbs) were very plump and the smaller bass were thin. Also all bluegill caught were in excess of 5 inches most being around the 7-9 inch range and these things were broad shouldered beasts! The following spring I stocked 15lbs of tilapia at Easter and 15lbs about 3 weeks later. Through out the year (2012) I kept fishing records and they more or less stayed the course lots of thin smaller LMB with a few football shaped fish up to 5.5 lbs caught. Tons of slab Bluegill with very few intermediate to small blue gill caught. I did visually begin to see smaller bluegill though.

This Easter though I noticed a tremendous difference in the condition of the fish caught. All LMB from 5 inches to about 2.5 pounds were all shaped like footballs and a wide variety of bluegill from tiny to 9 inches. So I added 55lbs of tilapia 4-1-2013 and intend on adding about 75lbs in about 4 weeks.

This will put me at about 18lbs per acre.

If Uncle Sam is good to me and my taxes don't go up too much over last year I might consider upping that to around 36lbs per acre. However I wanted to run it by everyone here and see what y'all thought because the last thing I want to do is lose the positive gains I have seen so far by overdoing it.

Thanks!
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#329123 - 04/06/13 07:37 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
FireIsHot Offline
Moderator


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 3875
Loc: Emory TX
Just thinking out loud here, but would an aggressive slotted LMB removal plan lower your total Tilapia stocking needs?

Obviously the higher Tilapia stocking rates took the pressure off your smaller BG, and that's a great thing. But are the results solely dependent on the continued high Tilapia stocking rates? 250 pounds of tilapia a year for 6 to 7 acres is a lot, and would one need to continue stocking at this rate to see any permanent LMB gains?

I would be interested in what others have to say about this also, especially if they discontinued stocking at the higher rates.

Good question I JWM I.


Edited by FireIsHot (04/06/13 04:02 PM)
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#329134 - 04/06/13 09:07 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
george1 Offline
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Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
Last week, I upped my tilapia stocking rate to get maximum forage for maximum growth for my Florida LMB.
Previous year tilapia stocking has been for algae control only.
G/
_________________________

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





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#329183 - 04/06/13 01:56 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: george1]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
7 1/4 acre pond?
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#329203 - 04/06/13 06:06 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
FireIsHot- I am not opposed to maintaining a fairly high yearly stocking rate on the tilapia. From the information I have read it seems 20lbs per acre is pretty safe with a well established predator population. I am willing to push that quite a bit farther unless someone with prior experience can highly advise against it. Oh all of my observations this year were prior to stocking Tilapia this year. So all of the "benefits" I noticed were from the stocking I did last year which was also the first year ever stocking tilapia.

esshup- Yes, it is 7.5 acres with about a 1/4 acre island in the middle.






Edited by I JWM I (04/06/13 06:34 PM)
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#329272 - 04/07/13 11:22 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13600
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
For quite a few years 10 pounds of tilapia per acre has been like a mantra. I find 10 pounds to be woefully short. I have personally not seen that bass do much grazing on tilapia. Instead, the small BG get most of the small tilapia and the bass eat the BG. But then, the bass eat the BG. I wouldn't hesitate to stock 30 pounds or more per acre.
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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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#329277 - 04/07/13 11:55 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: Dave Davidson1]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Dave:

Up here it takes 40#/ac to control the FA. I tried lesser amounts over the years and that's the magic number for this area.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#329289 - 04/07/13 12:56 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13600
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Scott, in a pond west of Fort Worth, we stocked about 90 pounds to no avail. Then I called in Lusk. Part, but only part, of the problem was that I only got onto the deal after the FA had become an infestation.
Bob nuked it early and multiple times. Plus, he added tilapia, aeration and microbes.
_________________________
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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#329298 - 04/07/13 02:57 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: Dave Davidson1]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Yeah Dave. I found out by testing in my pond that just putting Tilapia in there won't clean up a bad FA infestation, but if it's nuked first, then they can keep up with the new stuff that grows. Problem is that the FA can grow long after the Tilapia have died due to low water temps. That's where the other stuff that Bob did comes into play. As typical with ponds, its not a single pronged solution. It needs to be attacked from multiple directions, including the nutrient aspect of the problem.
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www.hoosierpondpros.com


http://www.pondboss.com/subscribe.asp?c=4
3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#329308 - 04/07/13 03:38 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
Dave was that 90lbs an acre you stocked?
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#329327 - 04/07/13 07:41 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
George1 was 15lbs an acre Overton fisheries recommendation for a maximum stocking rate for forage only. I'm only stocking for Tilapia for that reason, don't have a vegetation problem at this time.
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#329349 - 04/07/13 10:39 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13600
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
It was about 1.25 acres. The pond was gin clear because the FA was sucking out all the nutrients that should have gone to phytoplankton. When it was sprayed, the dying stuff added nutrients for it's own regrowth. This was just West of Fort Worth in a limestone area with super high alkalinity. Once it gets a good start you can't stock enough tilapia to beat it back.
_________________________
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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#329377 - 04/08/13 03:51 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
Dave- were there any negative effects to stocking so many? For example a lot of dead ones to clean up when winter came or negative effects on any existing species in the pond?
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#329379 - 04/08/13 05:50 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13600
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
No, I have never seen the fabled mess that is supposed to occur when the water cools. I have occasionally seen dead ones but coons seem to take care of that. I saw no negative effects and have never seen a problem. I stayed away from them for years because I feared a biomass problem from tilapias legendary spawning rate. I've never seen that problem but I've never stocked that many anywhere else.
_________________________
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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#329382 - 04/08/13 06:52 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
george1 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
Originally Posted By: I JWM I
George1 was 15lbs an acre Overton fisheries recommendation on for a maximum stocking rate for forage only. I'm only stocking for Tilapia for that reason, don't have a vegetation problem at this time.

Hey JWM, you are talking to an old timer "doches" guy who grew up many years ago wandering those creeks and rivers around Nacogdoches - haven't visited in years.

Don't know what year you speak of Overton recommendation of 15 lbs/acre because my memory is bad and I don't keep records. Overton is now managing consultant on our pond and he pretty much makes the calls on stocking rates.

Our "normal" tilapia stocking rate is 10 lbs/acre for algae control. Last year had really bad FA and increased to 15 lbs/acre.

This year with perfect bloom - little to no FA to date - bottom diffuser aeration system - Kasko surface aerator - decided to kick up forage base for pure Florida LMB and 8 Camelot Bell LMB brood stock......30 lbs/acre for maximum forage base and algae control

Good population of CNBG - Overton may add T-shad on experimental basis.

George Glazener
_________________________

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





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#329390 - 04/08/13 09:14 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
Dave- that was just the kind of info I was looking for! I'll probably go up to 36 lbs an acre this year and go up incrementally every year afterwards. Thanks!

George- Thanks for the information. I wished I got to be in Nacogdoches a little more regular but work keeps me out 4-6 weeks at a time.
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#329638 - 04/09/13 09:24 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 6976
Loc: St Louis, MO area
Virtually every tilapia spawned gets eaten if predators are present...turtles and terrestrial creatures devour what isn't munched on.
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Rainman

www.TilapiaStockers.com


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#329767 - 04/10/13 03:11 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: Rainman]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
I definitely believe that with the improvement in the condition of the LMB from just one season of them. I see your pond is located in Houston County MO. I was stationed at Fort Leonard wood and spent a little time in Houston MO. Spent more of my time in Licking and Montauk state park but that is some pretty country up there.
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#329791 - 04/10/13 05:45 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
salex Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/24/09
Posts: 152
Loc: North East Texas
I know of stocking rates as high as 40 lbs to the acre without issue. I have never had anyone want to spend the money to stock more than that. For most it is a budget issue rather than an issue with carrying capacity. If you were to stock 36 lbs to the acre, I would expect your BG population to explode this year allowing you to cut back to a more pallatable amount to the acre next year. Even 20 to 25 lbs to the acre is a bunch. I tend to work with owners with larger ponds and lakes and when you start adding 20+ lbs of tilapia to the acre to 30+ acre lakes it gets expensive real fast. If your budget allows you to stock 36 lbs to the acre on a 7 acre lake, I think you will have little downside and lots of upside. Thumbs up!

Why do you stock them at different times?
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http://www.privatewaterfishing.com

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#329822 - 04/10/13 10:30 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: salex]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
Salex- Thanks for the reply and the information. Last year I wanted to stock 30 lbs of Tilapia but it was the 3rd week of March and we have had some late cold spells in Nacogdoches. so I decided to stock 15 lbs then and 15 lbs a month later just in case. So the tradition began I guess.
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#329833 - 04/11/13 12:48 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 6976
Loc: St Louis, MO area
JWM..."extreme" is very relative. For trophy bass waters, stocking in excess of 100 pounds per surface acre is used to both produce huge amounts of forage, and to strip vegetation. As Salex said, it comes down to budget. I would suggest having an aeration system running if stocking at a rate pushing 70 pounds/acre due to the lost oxygen production due to plant loss, but the added biomass will utilize normally unused nutrients, consume little dissolved oxygen, and an earthen bottom pond can handle the added ammonia/nitrites.
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Rainman

www.TilapiaStockers.com


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#329837 - 04/11/13 02:18 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
Rainman-Agree with extreme being relative but in my research most of the information I have found hasn't mentioned stocking rates above 20lbs per acre. The information didn't really advise against higher stocking rates it was just devoid of any information on higher stocking rates. Glad to hear from folks who have first hand experience with stocking rates well in excess of 20lbs and the results have been mostly positive. Again the last thing I wanted to do is overdo it because I didn't do my due diligence.
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#330334 - 04/13/13 11:04 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
hang_loose Offline
Lunker

Registered: 09/01/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Sunbury,Ohio
I'm just curious as to what types of tilapias are being used down there in there in Texas?

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#330442 - 04/14/13 10:55 PM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
JWM Offline


Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Nacogdoches, Texas
The only Tilapia legal to stock in Texas without a permit is Mozambique. I believe the reasoning behind this is that Mozambique are one of the least cold tolerant species of Tilapia.
_________________________
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Ben Franklin

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."-Thomas Jefferson

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#330456 - 04/15/13 07:35 AM Re: Extreme Tilapia stocking rates [Re: JWM]
george1 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
Originally Posted By: Rainman
JWM..."extreme" is very relative. For trophy bass waters, stocking in excess of 100 pounds per surface acre is used to both produce huge amounts of forage, and to strip vegetation. As Salex said, it comes down to budget. I would suggest having an aeration system running if stocking at a rate pushing 70 pounds/acre due to the lost oxygen production due to plant loss, but the added biomass will utilize normally unused nutrients, consume little dissolved oxygen, and an earthen bottom pond can handle the added ammonia/nitrites.


Originally Posted By: I JWM I
Rainman-Agree with extreme being relative but in my research most of the information I have found hasn't mentioned stocking rates above 20lbs per acre. The information didn't really advise against higher stocking rates it was just devoid of any information on higher stocking rates. Glad to hear from folks who have first hand e stocking rates well in excess of 20lbs and the results have been mostly positive. Again the last thing I wanted to do is overdo it because I didn't do my due diligence.


JWM, I have learned that we have to be careful about receiving advice from northern sources about tilapia stocking rates in Texas ponds .
Scott (Essup) has taught me there are many reasons for stocking rates in northern waters that do not apply to our Texas water.

George
_________________________

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





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