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#480998 - 10/12/17 04:47 PM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: fowells]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1537
Loc: West Michigan
fowells, hopefully someone truly expert in aeration will reply, but I don't think aeration will make plants grow. Plants MAKE oxygen not consume it so i don't think you have an oxygen dearth. However aeration does tend to clear up the water and if light can penetrate in the deeper water to the bottom then you may see good vegetation growth.

The little I can say is that my pond was bare (refurbished and redug) and vegetation found its way easily in the clear, nutrient poor water. In a couple of years I had vegetation explosions (mostly unwanted milfoil) The last 2 years the nutrients are higher due to 'aging', natural leaf fall, algae, fertilizer run off, more fish poop, and not a single stem, weed or aquatic plant anywhere period. Chemicals couldn't have stripped it this clean.

The only difference? 2 years ago I added a few crayfish. Now I do have a few left over goldfish that I keep fishing out maybe they also help but I think the crayfish are to blame. Are they that hungry? I only put in a few and never saw little ones so I can't imagine there are that many in a bare bottom pond with hungry perch around. But the adult stockers were too large for any of the perch to eat so the adults should still be there.

So maybe your crayfish are eating plants, but also crayfish tend to stir up the water and the light can't get to the bottom. My pond is a muddy color all year around and I probably can thank the crayfish for the natural 'pond dye'

I'm told if you have LMB or SMB to control the crayfish you might see the vegetation come back, on the other hand, if the crayfish have rip, rocks, logs, trees, and other cover, you probably will never diminish their numbers...just achieve a balance.

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#480999 - 10/12/17 05:19 PM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: fowells]
Bill Cody Online   content
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11950
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Aeration will not cause plants to grow better. It can take 1-2 years or moer for a rebuilt pond with well compacted clay for plants to recolonize a hard bottom pond. Algae especially phytoplankton and then filamentous algae(FA) are always the first to colonize a new pond. IMO the crayfish and slider turtles are consuming the plants that are trying to get growing. After you add predators (LMB-CC) and they grow the crayfish numbers will diminish and then plants will develop more visible growth. High density of slider turtles could also reduce plant numbers. Google food habits of red slider turtles to get an idea of their food habits.
This is what I found about natural foods for sliders: "Red-eared Sliders feed mainly on plants and small animals, such as crickets, fish, crayfish, snails, tadpoles, worms, aquatic insects and aquatic plants." Turtles don't have teeth, but instead have horny ridges that are serrated and sharp on their upper and lower jaws.


Edited by Bill Cody (10/13/17 10:49 AM)
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#481011 - 10/13/17 11:08 AM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: canyoncreek]
fowells Offline


Registered: 08/21/17
Posts: 25
Loc: North Texas
Thanks, canyoncreek. 15 years ago I bought 1,000 Louisiana crawfish at the Vietnamese grocery store and released them into the pond. They and the bullfrogs are the only big animal species that survived when the pond dried up 5-6 years ago. When the water level came back up, the crawfish population exploded. My intention is to grow forage fish only and so I won't be using predator fish to control them. I'm confident that when the water temps come back up next year I'll be able to trap them out down to a healthy number for the pond.
Right now they've got me worried because they're no longer visibly feeding but are burrowing like crazy all around the shoreline but especially on the dam bank. I don't know how deep they burrow but I'm concerned that they may be compromising the structural integrity of the dam. Do you know if this is a valid concern?

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#481013 - 10/13/17 11:57 AM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: Bill Cody]
fowells Offline


Registered: 08/21/17
Posts: 25
Loc: North Texas
Bill, your bringing up the red-ear slider issue reminds me of a turtle related story that happened about 10 years ago in this region of Texas. An entrepreneur devised a pyramid scheme sort of like Amway that was aimed at providing turtles to the Asian market. Some of the PB members might remember this. He supplied turtle traps to individuals who went out and trapped the turtles and then scheduled regular collection and weigh-in events at a defunct roadside attraction west of Weatherford. I had trapped more than a hundred sliders out of my pond and decided I'd take a couple of buckets full to the collection event. I guess I'm too softhearted toward turtles but this event kind of turned my stomach. There were a few snapping turtles and soft-shelled turtles which were highly prized and then there were tons of red-ear sliders which were just dumped into a flatbed trailer with high side walls - to be shipped to Asia. I quietly slunk off and released my sliders into the Brazos. I think the enterprise fizzled after a couple of months. Anyone remember this? Is there still a market for sliders for meat?
My pond now has a couple of big sliders and around 30 babies. I'll get around to building a turtle trap and reduce that number.
Since I'm just raising forage fish, I won't be stocking predator fish species so I'll just have to take care of the turtle and crawfish populations with trapping and the BB gun.
Thanks for your help.

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#481014 - 10/13/17 01:04 PM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: fowells]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1537
Loc: West Michigan
fowells, if you find an effective trap that lets you control numbers or crayfish many of us are all ears! I've tried different traps and baits and can't seem to reliably get them to come in the trap and stay in.

If you are only raising forage then muddy water won't be a concern, it will keep it algae and weed free. Aeration would still be a plus for better survival and carrying capacity.

You might still want to pick a species like SMB that target crayfish and put a small number in (they possibly could reproduce) and keep the small number. They would certainly get some of your forage fish but probably would help preferentially nab the crayfish. Easy pickings for them if not much rip rap or other suitable hiding spots in the way.

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#481020 - 10/13/17 04:52 PM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: canyoncreek]
fowells Offline


Registered: 08/21/17
Posts: 25
Loc: North Texas
canyon creek, I attached a pic of the type of trap I use. I run 7 or 8 of them at a time and check them every couple of hours to make sure the crawdads don't leave and to keep them from devouring each other (I had a trap that rolled into deeper water and I didn't find it for a week - it was full of crawfish, half alive and whole and the other half either dead or de-limbed and still flipping). I use cheap dog food or fresh dead fish for bait. I trapped out more than a thousand in one week and finally stopped because I didn't have time to mess with it. I think when the temps are warm I can catch out a majority of these creatures. I wish there was a local market for them for fishing bait.
I'm going to stay strong and resist the temptation to stock SMB. I love fishing for them and have caught the most and biggest on golden shiners - one of the species I'm raising!
I want to get plants growing mostly for cover for the forage fish. Right now all they have to hide in is brush piles I've set in shallow water near the feed rings and I know I will eventually have a problem with the inevitable GSF predation.
I appreciate your input and my understanding of what's happening down in the pond grows as I read it.


Attachments
Crawfish Trap.PNG (28 downloads)


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#481024 - 10/13/17 09:27 PM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: fowells]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1537
Loc: West Michigan
I appreciate your input. I'm happy for you that the standard minnow trap captures your crayfish. Mine must be very wary or something. I've tried, bread, dogfood, bacon scraps, raw chicken and cuttings from chicken trimmings, corn, and fish carcasses. I've been advised that the rubberized coating on the metal may be the issue. I've burned my coating off (easy to do with a hand held butane torch or in a campfire) and painted. Tried brown, grey, natural rust color, doesn't seem to matter. Tried other mesh traps, pyramid traps, not much success.

I've watched youtube videos of how viciously the innocent looking turtles can go after crayfish. Perhaps my turtles are putting a hurt on the crayfish?

I think it has to do with total numbers. Perhaps if you have 1,000,000 crayfish and can catch 1000 in a week that makes sense. Maybe I don't have as many crayfish as I think. What type are your crayfish, maybe they are more aggressive or more hungry? Are they red swamp crayfish?

You've thought about the SMB and have good reason to not put them in. I would agree with your logic.

It will be neat to see how things go for your forage in the future. Sounds like you could set up a bait shop for both the GSH and the crayfish!

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#481025 - 10/13/17 09:43 PM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: fowells]
Bill Cody Online   content
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11950
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
When you can't catch crayfish in baited traps then the density of crayfish is low. Numbers of crayfish caught by trapping is directly proportional to the numbers of crayfish present. Crayfish are not hard to catch when they are common. I suspect the existing fish, even without bass, are consuming lots or most all the crayfish offspring. Life span of adults is likely 2-3 yrs. I have seen 2.5"-3" crayfish in stomach of 8"-9" YP. My papershell crays are not overly abundant and any trap with a large enough opening for the critter will capture a few to several of them each overnight set with out using any bait. When they are not entering a baited trap the cray numbers are low to very low.

fowells - if you say and have "blaming the scads of crawfish" then as you suspect it is primarily those critters that are keeping your pond plant free and I also suspect turbid.


Edited by Bill Cody (10/13/17 10:45 PM)
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#481029 - 10/14/17 08:25 AM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: fowells]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1820
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
It is likely you have critters like crayfish, ducks, and turtles eating the plants faster than you can establish them. Aeration is unlikely to make a difference, if not make it more difficult to get plants established because it may reduce water clarity for sunlight penetration. This is due to water movement not allowing suspended particles to settle.

Simply put, your predator/prey relationship between plants and critters is unstable. Take out a bunch of predators to get the balance back in check. You need some big bass and whatever else is required to get a handle on the crayfish. Turtles are minor unless you have a ton of them, or you have lilies of which they target. The ducks, not much you can do unless you sit around the pond day after day to discourage them. Once you think you have a handle on them, go into "desirable plant mode" and plant what you want in your pond. Put cages around the plants to keep turtles out. Simple fence cages should work. Once you have a good base of plants started, it should establish itself and be not much more work.
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#481030 - 10/14/17 08:57 AM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: canyoncreek]
fowells Offline


Registered: 08/21/17
Posts: 25
Loc: North Texas
canyoncreek, yes they are red swamp crawfish. I put in the initial thousand to provide another food source for the LMB and CC I was raising 15 years ago. When the pond went dry, the crawfish just burrowed in and waited out the drought. Interestingly, over the years we've had numerous big crawfish visit our front yard on their way to who knows where. Our yard is 200 yards from the pond.
I Googled the turtles eating crawfish videos and it looks like my turtles have much easier pickings with forage fish and young bullfrogs. Dismembering a crawfish looks like hard work for them. Most of the sliders have to go.
I've also got racoons eating a lot of crawfish but I'm actively live-trapping them out. I hate racoons, the thieving, destructive, wildlife killing marauders that they are. It's personal. I know that the coons would take care of a lot of the crawdads burrowing into my pond banks but I can't tolerate their presence. I wonder if there's some chemical I could put a drop or two into each burrow that would stop the crawfish and not hurt the ecosystem?

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#481032 - 10/14/17 09:40 AM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: Bill Cody]
fowells Offline


Registered: 08/21/17
Posts: 25
Loc: North Texas
Thanks, Bill. I have water samples being tested for turbidity and other qualities at Overton Fisheries now. Maybe I'll have a new understanding of the state of pond in a couple of weeks.

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#481034 - 10/14/17 10:01 AM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: liquidsquid]
fowells Offline


Registered: 08/21/17
Posts: 25
Loc: North Texas
liquidsquid, sounds like a plan except for the big bass. They'll just slurp up my desired forage fish by the thousands. Ducks will visit briefly on their migration south and won't be a problem. The turtles are manageable. The crawfish have gone into full burrowing mode since the water temps have fallen and I'm thinking I will pour an ounce or two of ag strength vinegar into each burrow I can find and then, along the bank of the dam, pour Sacrete into each burrow to counteract the effects the burrowing has had on the structural integrity of the dam. I think this burrow treatment will throw a real kink into the reproduction of the crawfish and I'll start trapping them out again in the spring.
The part of your reply I'm most interested in and completely clueless about is what and how and when to plant when I've reached a good condition for plants to grow. Never planted a plant in water in my life. Are there resources available where I can find out what are desirable plants and how to propagate them?
Coincidentally, I just saw a very thin layer of pond scum in the shallow water where I've placed brush piles for cover for the forage fish. Is this algae? Should I be concerned or encouraged that some plant life is appearing?

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#481169 - 10/16/17 09:46 PM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: fowells]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1820
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
It will be almost impossible to tell I suppose, other than observing the burrowing going minimal. I don't really think you can knock down the amount of crayfish unless you find a means to kill them in large quantities. They will out-breed your efforts. The only way I think it may work is to stock fish that work 24/7 to keep the numbers under control.

I only have planted lilies in my pond, the rest have come uninvited. I have no crayfish (yet), so I don't have a problem with too little plants.

There are some pretty good threads on this site about what plants to choose that don't take over a pond and look nice. I used to have a decently maintained pond garden until an 11yo boy gained priority. I used to just go to the local pond garden place and picked out plants that looked nice.
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#481281 - 10/19/17 07:25 AM Re: New member - pond almost dead [Re: liquidsquid]
fowells Offline


Registered: 08/21/17
Posts: 25
Loc: North Texas
liquidsquid,
That family stuff can really get in the way of working on the pond as much as we'd like to.
I'll find and go to a pond garden place when I find one.
Thanks for your help.

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