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#507764 - 06/19/19 02:10 PM Building a Micro Minnow Pond?
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
Is this a terrible idea?

I have a 1 acre pond and a 3000sqft sediment pond that I try to use as a forage pond. The problem is that in a large rain event, a neighbors pond on the hill above overflows and I end up getting bass and bluegill fry or fingerlings washed into it and they seem to eat my minnows as they grow.

I was thinking of digging a small 100-200sqft "pond" to raise minnows that would be fed from runoff not the overflow from the neighbor. It would be near but above the other ponds. I have a small 6X8 depression there now that collects the runoff and sends it to the ponds. It fills up to around 6" deep before it can flow into the other ponds. All I would do is enlarge it and make it deeper. Maybe 2 or 3' deep.

The goal would be to simply breed some fatheads or shiners and then transfer the fingerlings into the larger ponds. If I could get a few shiners to breed I would have more fry than I could buy from Anderson minnow. I could also use it to breed PK shrimp to get them established in my large pond.

Worst case I would just end up creating a larger frog pond, best case it would help establish some forage in my other ponds.

I have a compact tractor that I would dig with. I think it would only take a 3-4 hours of time to dig it. I wouldn't be building a dam, just digging deeper hole. Soil is thick blue clay that doesn't drain and the spot already holds water year round.

Is this a worthwhile idea? Is it too small to work? It doesn't need to keep fish year round. How deep should it be?

My other thought was a 100-250 gallon stock tank fed by pond water, but I should be able to make this larger and with minimal investment other than my own time.

Thanks

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#507770 - 06/19/19 03:34 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2245
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
I don't think it would be worthwhile to build for that purpose unless it is at least 10,000 gallons and has a good area of at least 42-48" deep. Shallow ponds get too hot in summer, and in your area could freeze solid in winter.

My minnow raising pond is about 18,000 gallons, 3.5 feet deep, and is barely worthwhile as anything but a sediment pond. I have some Gambusia and small Koi in there now.
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#507781 - 06/19/19 08:15 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5537
Loc: SE Kansas
I can't tell you if it will or won't work in your situation, but can give some of my experiences with my tiny pre-sediment pond. If you page through this sediment pond thread of mine till you come to the part where I built the pre-sediment pond there are pictures and descriptions.

Some problems you may run into in addition to what John F describes.....

Water exchange. High rates of water exchange can be very hard on fish. Something like FHM are pretty tough and can handle it better than larger fish but if there are huge inflows of fresh water during rain events it is tough on fish. Consider a big pond that might get a 10% water exchange during a big rain and a micro pond that might get a 10x or more. Rapid temperature and pH changes can be deadly on the fish. If you are going to make a tiny pond, consider limiting the watershed that feeds it.

Contamination. I have watched tiny BG swim upstream in a half inch deep water trail. If you have little elevation seperation and close proximity to your other pond with water flowing between, the probability that you will get contamination of other species is likely when, not if.

I'm not saying it will not work for you. Just some things I have experienced with my own tiny pond. As you will see in the thread linked above, I eventually just put a pipe between the sediment and pre-sediment ponds because of the issues mentioned and quit trying to manage it as an independent pond.
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#507784 - 06/19/19 08:46 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: snrub]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5537
Loc: SE Kansas
Here is a thread with many links to other threads about small and specialty ponds.

small specialty ponds including
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#507856 - 06/20/19 06:52 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: snrub]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: snrub
Here is a thread with many links to other threads about small and specialty ponds.

small specialty ponds including



Thanks for all the links.

I think I will go ahead and do it. Right now it's a 15'x6' oval with an outlet pipe that is set around 8" from the bottom. Just changing the outlet height I can get another 1.5' of depth with no overflow risk. It is right on the edge of the woods and somewhat shaded. The water flow in is surface runoff only. It stays as full as it can get year round.

I am thinking fatheads and pk shrimp. Worst case scenario I get a vernal pond and some more frogs.

After 2 weeks of trapping in my sediment pond with a cloverleaf trap I finally caught half a dozen golden shiners. I have never seen them gold before, only silver. It's also the first time I have seen them in a year since i released them. Also caught 8 2-3" blue gill and 2 3" bass. I fed a few of the bluegill and both bass to a large bass I am training in the large pond.

The inflow of fry from the neighbor is why I want to build this controlled pond.

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#507857 - 06/20/19 08:07 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 13036
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
I would enlarge the minnow pond to as large as feasible to allow for more minnow numbers. Create it so it can be drained and left to dry late fall thru winter. This will help a lot to reduce muck build-up and tend to reduce weed algae growth for easier management.
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#508431 - 07/03/19 06:43 AM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
I built it but forgot my phone to take pictures. It is 24'x12' and is around 2.5' deep. I drew down the existing water as far as possible but couldnt get all of it. I would have gone a little bigger but I accidentally broke the "dam" between the existing pond and the area I was digging. I had already dug the new piece deeper so all the water flowed right in.

I will just throw some fatheads in it and maybe some pk shrimp next spring. Before it was essential a small frog pond, so worst case it's a bigger frog pond.

Now we just need some rain to get it to fill up all the way.

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#508466 - 07/03/19 12:52 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 13036
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Keep us advised as to what and how much you are able to grow in this mini-pond. Others will find the info interesting and informative. Is there any way to aerate it which will keep healthier water and produce more fish?
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#508477 - 07/03/19 05:01 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Bill Cody]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
Aeration is not in the budget for this year. It's far from electric so I will need to build another solar system. I am looking into aeration next year to do a joint system for both this pond and for my 3,000sqft sediment/forage pond that is right next to it. My main pond has both a windmill and a solar system running a Thomas 12v compressor. I wouldn't do the windmill again.

I am not sure what type of aeration I will use for these. Might try a water pump/Venturi system on one.
With it being so shallow I don't know how effective a compressor/diffuser will be. The pump would hopefully give circulation and some air.

I will get pictures in a few days when I am back in town. Once it fills up a little I will put around 2 dozen fatheads in and some type of spawning structure.

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#508842 - 07/12/19 11:36 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
I had drained out as much of the water as possible to dig, combined with insignificant rain over the past 3 weeks and the micro pond is dry. It only had water in a few spots once dug, so I am not surprised it's dry. This gives me an opportunity to do some more digging and shaping. Unfortunately next 10 days there is no heavy rains unless we get some thunderstorms.

The soil is tough to dig in. It's all clay hardpan and is rock hard. It leaves a nice smooth bottom but I would like to get it a little deeper in some spots. Pictures tomorrow.

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#508848 - 07/13/19 02:28 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
Pictures added as promised. The pictures make it look much smaller than it is. I was able to dig it deeper but still have some smoothing work to do. I have around 4 hours in it at most.

More of it is closer it 3' deep now with the deepest section sitting at just shy of 4'. The back side against the woods is steep, but not as bad as the picture makes it look.

At full pool it will be 24x12 and will have 12" of free board. The outlet is earthen and is on the back left.


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IMG_20190713_140109~2_compress11.jpg (206 downloads)


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#508860 - 07/13/19 10:41 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5537
Loc: SE Kansas
Hope it works out well and meets your expectations. I bet the raccoons will love it!
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#508866 - 07/14/19 10:45 AM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: snrub]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: snrub
Hope it works out well and meets your expectations. I bet the raccoons will love it!


Luckily I have set my expectations exceptionally low. If I can get some fatheads or pk shrimp to live I will be happy, if all I get is a frog pond I will be fine with that.

I need to get a picture with something in the hole for size reference as the picture makes it look like it's only 1.5' deep.

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#508870 - 07/14/19 11:52 AM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
To help put some perspective on the size/depth.


Attachments
IMG_20190714_112653_compress64.jpg (189 downloads)


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#508875 - 07/14/19 02:56 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1626
Loc: West Central Missouri
I'm so envious...I want one. I have a catch basin above my pond (about 100 yards away on a different watershed) that I dream of digging out to make a forage pond...One of these days.
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#508890 - 07/14/19 11:51 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Quarter Acre]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
This is a really tiny pond. I was actually considering trying to raise bait in a stock tank but decided I could dig a bigger hole than a stock tank.

I have another 3000sqft sediment pond that I made a forage pond, but I get trash fish from upstream in it. I put in pk shrimp, but they have not really established. I also did fatheads and golden shiners and the shiners have taken off. I did trap out around 50 2-3" bg. Just kept throwing the shiners back.

This new pond I will try the pk shrimp again and fatheads and then transfer from that one to the others.

Hopefully it holds water.

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#509042 - 07/17/19 06:41 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 415
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Twar
Is this a terrible idea?

I was thinking of digging a small 100-200sqft "pond" to raise minnows that would be fed from runoff not the overflow from the neighbor. It would be near but above the other ponds. ... The goal would be to simply breed some fatheads or shiners and then transfer the fingerlings into the larger ponds. If I could get a few shiners to breed I would have more fry than I could buy from Anderson minnow. I could also use it to breed PK shrimp to get them established in my large pond.

Is this a worthwhile idea? Is it too small to work? It doesn't need to keep fish year round. How deep should it be?

Thanks



I think this idea has merit ... particularly in conjunction with fry transfer to your larger BOW. There is literature online that you could refer to for parental stocking density for maximizing fry production. Fry transfer is common in minnow production ... just scale down what they have learned to fit your project.

With regard to depth, I think that in part depends on filtration rate, runoff, and whether you have a means of pumping water during drought. If it were at least 2.5 feet deep to discourage wading birds ... I think this would be a plus. As for winterkill ... I would not be discouraged about that. A couple of pounds of adult minnows purchased annually could produce hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of fry. The introduction of these fry into your main pond has the potential to add substantial forage for your bass and bluegill, many, many times the weight of your annual adult minnows purchased.

Over wintering isn't necessarily a good thing. Other things also overwinter, things like damselflies and water boatmen that will greatly reduce recoverable fry in subsequent years. So maybe this structure could be improved if it could be drained and dried annually also?

As for the PK shrimp. Great idea. But I might transfer all of them to the main pond by fall.

I like to see projects like this. Would even be better if you've kept good records of catches so that the effect of the fry transfer might be quantified by the ongoing creel data.

For folks in the south in the native range of Gambusia, you might not need a separate pond. These top minnows don't need substrate to breed. So if they can be protected in a cage that would allow the fry to exit the cage but keep the adult females inside such a situation has the potential of adding a lot of additional fry to your BOW.


Edited by jpsdad (07/17/19 06:49 PM)

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#509532 - 07/29/19 11:02 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
So after getting tired of waiting for rain I decided to help fill it up. I hooked a 1100 gph bilge pump to a 100 watt solar panel and here's what I have 3 days later. I am sure I could have brought over some undesirables but I can always drain and refill. I went to the bait shop and picked up around 6 dozen fatheads and added them. I made a rookie mistake and didn't blend in any pond water to get them adjusted, I just dumped them in.

30 minutes later and a dozen were floating. Hopefully enough survived to reproduce. I did see a few hits on the surface of the water tonight, but couldn't see if it was a minnow or not.

In the the picture you can see the fathead breeding condo I made. It is alternating layers of 3" pvc 4 layers high.

The pond is still 6" or so from full pool I expect by tomorrow it will be full.


Attachments
IMG_20190729_195047_compress47.jpg (69 downloads)


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#509739 - 08/03/19 08:22 PM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Twar Offline


Registered: 04/09/17
Posts: 45
Loc: NY
So the pond still isn't full. I don't think it's leaking, but when i stopped the water the water level dropped 3" in 2 days. It looks like it is soaking into the dirt around the pond as the wet line is 6" above the high water mark. I am hoping that this is just the pond wicking and not a leak. There are no wet spots downhill from the pond.

I hooked the pump back up to my solar panel and will run it for a few more days to see if I can get it full.

It doesn't help that we have had almost no rain. My two other ponds are the lowest I have ever seen them. Today we got a thunderstorm but within 10 minutes of passing the ground was dry. We need a good all day soaking rain.

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#509790 - 08/05/19 10:01 AM Re: Building a Micro Minnow Pond? [Re: Twar]
Augie Offline


Registered: 10/29/18
Posts: 231
Loc: Boone County Missouri
It will take awhile for the soil around your pond to become fully saturated.

Depending on soil type maybe forever, if not longer.

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