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#479167 - 08/28/17 05:37 PM Frustrated with getting bloom
SteveC Offline


Registered: 03/25/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Alabama
To much to type but long story short: Old 5 acre sand and gravel pit. Added 26 tons ag lime by barge March 10th. Started fertilizer (perfect pond)March 20th, water temp was mid 70's. Never could get secchi reading past 5 or 6 feet. Continued fertilizing at a high rate trying to get it past the 5-6 foot mark. Nice crop of FA in July. Stopped fertilizer, killed FA, and water cleared back up to around at least 7-8 feet during this time. Started back with fertilizer. Got bloom back to 5-6 feet, hit it again with fertilizer and a few days after this application water went back to 7-8 feet vis. The lake has gentle slopping banks so if I can't get a good bloom I'm just gonna grow FA.

I have no idea where to go from here. Simple pool test strips show around 7pH and 40PPM alkalinity. Not sure where to go from here. I have put a LOT of fertilizer in this spring and summer. Fish are doing well. I know cause I can see them! LOL Had at least 3 great BG spawns so far. Lake bottom is fairly clean, no dead trees, decaying material like leaves in the lake (don't know if this would help or hurt). Only a small amount of "muck". Before I started working on the lake in March it was swimming pool clear. We have had a lot of rain this year.

I'm not trying to grow trophy fish. Just want to have a nice place to fish and catch some LMB and BG.

Any thoughts? I am willing to answer any and all questions or provide as much detail as to what I have done to date. If there is an expert that is interested in discussing over the phone or email that would work too. I can send the notes I've kept since starting in March.

Thanks in advance!


Edited by SteveC (08/28/17 05:42 PM)

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#479168 - 08/28/17 07:04 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
Jim Wetzel Offline


Registered: 08/16/17
Posts: 207
Loc: Holts Summit, MO
Is the pond spring fed where it could refill itself quickly even without rain or other recharge like brought in from a well?
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Aquaculture
Cooperative Research / Extension
Lincoln University of Missouri

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#479169 - 08/28/17 08:16 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11950
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
JW points to a likely cause to lack of dense bloom. Likely there is water movement in and out of the sand pit. Moving water will dilute the fertilizer. To really be serious about getting a bloom one should weekly test the nitrate and dissolved phosphorus (soluable - orthoP) to monitor the concentrations to see how long the nutrients stay high enough for bloom conditions. The alkalinity of 40mg/L is marginal for producing good dense blooms.

IMO your best option for growing really good BG-LMB is to establish a good pellet feeding plan. Best is one fish feeder per acre, although localized hand feeding will work; just not as well as 4-5 auto-feeders. Then monitor and manage properly the fish numbers to achieve your specific goals. Harvest of fish numbers that you use will vary depending on your specific goals. 3 basic goals are: trophy panfish, trophy bass (predator), overall general fishing with good representative numbers of fish in all year classes which generally means most numbers in the youngest and fewest in the oldest individuals.

When you fertilize or feed pellet feed be prepared to properly harvest enough fish to keep the fishery goal balanced. Too many fish end up eating too many pellets that gets expensive and degrades the good water quality.

Do you have a depth contour map of the gravel pit? Is establishing desirable submerged plants a possibility to naturally compete against filamentous algae?
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#479171 - 08/28/17 08:54 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: Bill Cody]
SteveC Offline


Registered: 03/25/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Alabama
Thanks. I suppose water could be moving in and out following the water table I'm assuming that's you are referring to. I'm not 100% sure that's it but I also have no way to know it's not. Testing the nitrate and dissolved phosphorus (soluble - orthoP) levels could tell me this? Just my thoughts but if that's the case then not a lot I can do. Correct? I have two feeders going right now and the BG are using them. I'm willing to try anything to help with the bloom. I thought about soil samples but not sure what that would accomplish. The samples would just be mostly sand and small rocks. Are there soil amendments that than work with that? Since I put in 26 tons of lime is there any reason to think more lime than that would help?



I've come up with three options to combat the FA.

1. Track hoe and deepen the shallow areas near the bank. Can't get to it all but could deepen 75% or so of the bank area. But a little pricey.

2. Fill in and raise the shallow areas out to the where it gets 5 or so feet deep. This would be really nice fix but again pricey.

3. Is this an option: Planting some kind of lilly pad or other plant that would cover the shallow areas? Is it possible to shade out the FA? I planted American water willow but I did that for fish cover along the bank. I doubt it would shade out the FA. Would they take up enough of any excess fert to help? I would need some plants that would stall out in about 5 or 6 feet of water.

I wouldn't mind the clear water so much but that in combination with the slowly sloping banks it makes the fishing very difficult. They get a really good look at a lure.

I'm gonna try to attach an aerial photo. You can see the shallow areas. The color change is where it goes from very shallow to 5 or 6 in depth.



Attachments
5ac lake.jpg1.jpg (71 downloads)


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#479178 - 08/28/17 10:14 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
Jim Wetzel Offline


Registered: 08/16/17
Posts: 207
Loc: Holts Summit, MO
You could play around around and make so periphyton is they base of feed chain by adding a slow releaser of phosphates.
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Aquaculture
Cooperative Research / Extension
Lincoln University of Missouri

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#479213 - 08/29/17 05:46 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11950
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Testing the nitrate and phosphate will tell how much is available. Quick reclearing of the water after a bloom starts indicates a quick loss of nutrients or carbonates(lime) either through absorption &/or loss due to water exchange. Lack of phosphate often stimulates FA and not phytoplankton. FA grows on the bottom and gets often gets a lot of its nutrients from the recycling & decompostion of muck materials. Determining the cause of a lack of a bloom in your situation will take some wise troubleshooting.

The FA areas on your picture do not look extreme. Some FA is beneficial. If it does not cover all the pond I would not be too concerned about it at this point. I would do all my angling from a boat or float tube, fish the edges. However you are correct presence of FA stifles development of a bloom. If it were mine I would focus on using pellet feeding to grow the fishery. However and I repeat, when you grow lots more fish pounds per acre are you prepared to properly harvest enough fish to keep the fishery goal balanced? In 5 acres this is not a 1 or 2 man easy job. With clear water you will need to improve your finesse angling skills and maybe chance the times that you fish to lower light conditions.

Beneficial initial plants to consider are various marginal plant species, bullrush, water lilies, american pond weed. Adding lots of underwater structure will provide substrates for growth of periphyton as mentioned by JW. Consider adding lots of broken concrete from demolition - construction projects which could help fill in some of the shoreline areas and provide structure and habitat.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/29/17 05:50 PM)
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#479216 - 08/29/17 06:16 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: Bill Cody]
SteveC Offline


Registered: 03/25/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Alabama
Thanks for taking the time to reply everyone. I'll get the water tested ASAP. I'm gonna hit it again with fert just to see what happens. I have plenty of people to fish. I enjoy letting others fish. We are headed night fishing this weekend to see how it goes.

Does it seem strange that this water clearing happened all of sudden in late July? I have had decent bloom (5'or so) and water color since I started fert in March. Just have been unable to get any closer to the magic 24" mark.

You are correct on the FA. Even when it was at it's worst it wasn't bad, just covered the edges.

I am in the process of adding structure and cover just waiting to cool off a little here. I'm gonna look at the lilies, I really like them.

Thanks again everyone! I really appreciate it!

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#479220 - 08/29/17 09:02 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
Bill Cody Offline
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Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11950
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
As nutrients are extinguished the bloom can die out quickly, as fast as a weekend. As the FA flourishes on the bottom it can quickly absorb enough nutrients to starve a 'weak' bloom. When the bloom is at around 5' the conditions are marginal or low concentration and more vulnerable to a depletion. If carbonates (alkalinity) are low the bloom will decrease due to not enough carbon (CO2-CO3) despite an adequate nitrogen phosphourus concentration. Very soft water can require what appears to be very large amounts of lime every 2-3 yrs to maintain higher alkalinity.
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#479234 - 08/30/17 08:45 AM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1537
Loc: West Michigan
For example, my bloom starts in early June when the lawn fert goes down. We don't intentionally put it in the pond but some runoff gets there. It usually is pretty consistent during hot weather but for some reason when weather cools the bloom stops. Last week I for no reason noticed the water 'clearing' up and the bloom weakening. Every day it was noticeably clearer. I tend to get revival of FA in the shallows this time of year as well so I think the nutrient balance, FA and temps have to do with it. Of course the fertilizer effect only lasts for so long too so that will peter out the bloom too.

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#479240 - 08/30/17 10:28 AM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
Jim Wetzel Offline


Registered: 08/16/17
Posts: 207
Loc: Holts Summit, MO
You can get productivity through means other than a plankton bloom by basing the food web on a model like you have in more productive clear streams. Challenge would be getting that productivity in a form that feeds up to fish. FA generally not best for that.
_________________________
Aquaculture
Cooperative Research / Extension
Lincoln University of Missouri

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#479251 - 08/30/17 01:53 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
SteveC Offline


Registered: 03/25/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Alabama
Jim are you referring to periphyton gained by adding structure as Bill mentioned? Makes sense. As I said above the bottom is very "sterile".

Maybe a silly question but could an increase in periphyton that grows on the added structure in turn help with the bloom or are we talking about two different things?

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#479257 - 08/30/17 02:58 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
Jim Wetzel Offline


Registered: 08/16/17
Posts: 207
Loc: Holts Summit, MO
Yes, periphyton. Think about establishing a bloom on structure that can pull nutrients from water or release them much more slowly that fertilizers or lime.
_________________________
Aquaculture
Cooperative Research / Extension
Lincoln University of Missouri

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#479262 - 08/30/17 04:49 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: Jim Wetzel]
SteveC Offline


Registered: 03/25/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Alabama
Originally Posted By: Jim Wetzel
Yes, periphyton. Think about establishing a bloom on structure that can pull nutrients from water or release them much more slowly that fertilizers or lime.


Got it. Thanks!

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#479263 - 08/30/17 04:56 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18910
Loc: Miss.
Here is an example.




Attachments
periphyton.jpg (538 downloads)



Edited by ewest (08/30/17 04:57 PM)
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#479266 - 08/30/17 05:54 PM Re: Frustrated with getting bloom [Re: SteveC]
SteveC Offline


Registered: 03/25/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Alabama
Thanks!

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