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#479479 - 09/04/17 06:42 PM Growing BG in a cage?
peachgrower Offline


Registered: 07/02/16
Posts: 350
Loc: Nashville, AR
I have been needing to boost my BG numbers some and was wondering if this was possible. Could I build a cage out of 1/4" or so hardware wire, put some PVC floats and an anchor, then place it in my pond to grow them a bit? I can get 2-3" BG from Arkansas Pond Stockers when they come through. How big would the cage need to be for 100 or so? What I would like to do if get them to the 4-6" size so they do not get devoured when I let them go. I feed AM500, but would take that and use a food processor to make it smaller (worked very well in the past with optimal), then hydrate it. I could feed them twice a day. How long do you think it would take to get them to that size or is this plan even feasible?? If so I might do that for a couple years until I get my sizes better established.

Thanks guys!!
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#479480 - 09/04/17 06:45 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
sprkplug Offline
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6867
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Not only is it feasible, there's a ton of info about it in the archives.
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#479481 - 09/04/17 07:16 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18910
Loc: Miss.
Possible but harder to get them to grow in cold water of winter. Blocking nets work also but have same winter limits.
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#479484 - 09/04/17 07:54 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
peachgrower Offline


Registered: 07/02/16
Posts: 350
Loc: Nashville, AR
Thanks guys, will check it out.

ewest, so waiting until the spring would be best I'm assuming?
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#479489 - 09/04/17 08:55 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
Shorty Offline
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Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 4028
Loc: Raymond, NE
Warmer water temps during the summer will be your friend when growing out sunfish in a cage. I am currently growing out 100 redears in a tank out in my shop and I am running aquarium heaters to keep the water temp at a consistent 80 degrees. I have been feeding them small amounts of both hydrated and dry food 10 to 12 times a day and they have grown a lot since May 8th.
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#479492 - 09/04/17 09:07 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
sprkplug Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6867
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
I agree that warmer water is probably best, but I have over wintered HBG in cages with minimal loss a few times. Once I even cut a hole through 5" of ice and caught a couple right out of the cage.
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#479498 - 09/04/17 10:38 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
ewest Offline
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Hall of Fame 2014

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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18910
Loc: Miss.
BG can overwinter in cages that is not the question. Growth over winter is the question. That is especially true with small BG and more northern locations. In your location it would be interesting to try some in a cage. I would keep the number small and read the threads on here about what you need to feed and how to avoid fungus problems. It would be easier and you could grow out more faster next spring to summer.
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#479503 - 09/05/17 08:04 AM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
sprkplug Offline
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6867
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
I think I would try it now. A hundred 2-3" BG won't cost much, and even in my area I will be feeding for another 8 weeks or so, and you may be able to feed longer than I will. It would be an interesting experiment, shouldn't be out much if it doesn't work, and may give you a jump on next growing season?
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#479512 - 09/05/17 10:32 AM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
peachgrower Offline


Registered: 07/02/16
Posts: 350
Loc: Nashville, AR
That was my thought also. Just a matter of knowing when the truck comes by. I will probably do this, when I do will record all that I can and post results. It may end up in the spring...but if I can get it all together I will. If I could get them to the 5-6" mark I think they would all be okay.
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#479520 - 09/05/17 12:39 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 23945
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Two things to consider when cage raising the fish.

1) The cage mesh shouldn't be rough, like galvanized mesh is, because the fish brushing up against it will damage their fins.

2) The cage mesh has to be small enough to contain the fish in the cage, but large enough to get water flow through the cage to have sufficient levels of O2 in the cage. If you have FA build up on the cage netting you have to scrub it off every week or every few weeks.

The bottom of the cage should be at least a few feet up off the bottom of the pond. I have put 2-4 Tilapia in each 4' square cage to deal with the algae issues. Yes, they eat the pellets, but they also peck at the algae that grows on the mesh, so I don't have to stress the BG in the cage by scrubbing the mesh.

I use a plastic netting that I get from Stony Creek in Michigan.
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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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#479531 - 09/05/17 07:05 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
Tbar Offline


Registered: 01/10/15
Posts: 581
Loc: Texas
FWIW I built this one to hold fish for an extended period of time. It is 3'x 3'x 6' and sits in 8 feet of water.

I don't know if it would work for your application.



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#479535 - 09/05/17 08:34 PM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
Bill Cody Offline
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Field Correspondent

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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11950
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Your idea will work. I have done it several times and wrote 3 articles in PB mag about growing fish in small cages. Look for a PM and I can send you some additional info about this. IMO and experience the best you could expect for BG growth is 1mm per day but reality will be an overall average of 0.5" per month in a cage with water above 65F. Note definitely not all will grow at the same rate. Some runts will accomplish 0.3" of growth per month, while the fastest growing ones will be close to 1.0"/mo. Water temps will be a big factor for how much growth you will get in AR conditions before winter.

As noted above you can overwinter your caged BG to add more growth on them next year. Then make your releases as they are proper size. You may find that you will want to do a sorting of individuals and a staggered timed release of the largest ones and continue to grow the slower growing ones to get more size.

Depending on pond conditions cage mesh can fairly quickly become clogged with FA. Outside walls can be scrubbed with a stiff bristle tar mop broom. I had two cages and just switched fish into a clean cage. esshup used a couple tilapia per cage to help clean FA on the mesh.

Mar-Apr 2007. CAGED FISH ON A SMALL SCALE. Cody in Part 1 of a 3 part article, describes the materials needed and how to build small cages to raise fish.

May-Jun 2007. CAGED FISH ON A SMALL SCALE. PART DEUX. Cody covers fish cage placement, selecting species, proper sizes, how many to stock, and feeding of fish in a cage.

Jul-Aug 2007. CAGED FISH ON A SMALL SCALE. In Part III, Cody discusses maintenance, moralities, harvest, and overwintering of fish in a cage.

Some of the early people that tried growing BG in cages was Farm Pond Harvest Magazine Leo Pachner and editor W.Ligler. "Salvaging Stunted Bluegills", Winter Issue Vol.5 No1. 1971.


Edited by Bill Cody (09/05/17 08:42 PM)
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#480007 - 09/16/17 07:42 AM Re: Growing BG in a cage? [Re: peachgrower]
Jim Wetzel Offline


Registered: 08/16/17
Posts: 207
Loc: Holts Summit, MO
With penned sunfish, I would be using a feed formulated with more protein like used for salmon or trout.

Are you considering using some sort of automatic feeder?
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