They seem to eat trout parts and pieces nearly as well as the tilapia. I just didnít have access to trout parts for a couple weeks due to them taking time off from cleaning them. Will probably resume trout tonight or tomorrow. From what I can tell they eat the tadpoles at times. Other times they kill them and spit them out.
You up for putting one of these in your pond TJ? I understand if you donít for obvious reasons. But thought you could try it for a bit and abort if there are negative consequences.
Just wanted to archive this link in here for future reference regarding tiger Muskie controlling trash fish and discussing stocking densities. Discussions of stocking rates anywhere from 4-30 TM per acre.
I apologize in advance for not chronicling this better, but the way Iíve designed my cages with feed windows itís difficult to get video or pictures of the fish. I will say theyíre doing incredibly well. All 16 are still alive, have tremendous coloring and are incredibly thick. Iím guessing theyíve tripled their weight (the largest ones) since I began this project this spring. Iíve continued to feed chunks of tilapia off of alligator clips and they average 20-30oz (maybe more) of consumption per week between all of them.
So that brings me to my update... curiousity got the best of me and I was wondering if I could convert them to a prepared feed. I had an idea that I quit feeding tilapia for a few days and begin throwing worms in again then progress from there. Last Friday was my last feeding of tilapia. Sunday thru Tuesday I fed them 2 dozen worms (6 per feeding and 4 different feedings). I had a couple hits out of those 24, but nothing terribly exciting. Well tonight curiousity got the best of me... I took some hydrated Optimal Grower #2 and formed it into earthworm like shapes. To my amazement the first 2 I threw in were smashed by the Muskie. I made 9 pieces total and I observed 5 of them get taken. The others may have gotten taken but had dropped out of sight. Not sure if the taste of it will leave them craving more or scare them off. But I was very excited about this development! Hopefully more exciting updates to come. Thanks for listening.
Do you think a GoPro on a stick stuck underwater could get good footage? That would be very cool!!
I think it would after they were acclimated to it. But I don't have a GoPro!!
After thinking it over for a night, I think I'm going to further this experiment and have one of the cages fed hydrated food only, another cage tilapia only and then the third cage I will mix the two types of feed. That way if anyone is ever dumb enough to try this again, they may know which method is better. That is assuming one of the methods is significantly better.
So I had one tiger muskie die, and another not looking well so I thought it may be time to release them. I'm suspecting I may have had some nitrate issues in my grow out pond. Not sure how I plan to remedy that going forward. But that's for a different discussion. Anyway, I did get to weigh and measure one that I felt was average. It was 17-17.5" long and 1-8. Which from what I've read is right where they should be at this stage of development. So here's the official end of my first year of raising tiger muskie on tilapia. Hopefully my next photo is of someone catching one next spring. And we do have more on order for next year. So I hope to continue this next year. Thanks for all of the input fellow pondbossers.
PS If someone can find a cooler freshwater predator than a Tiger Muskie, let me know. Just an incredibly beautiful fish. And pretty bad @ss.
So this year I made it a goal to release some of my tiger muskie from their cages, into my grow out pond and get them back on feed. Before I released them I began feeding with the alligator clip under a large slip bobber. I thought this was another way of training them to associate food with not only the alligator clip, but a large bobber. It took a couple weeks, but at least one has begun feeding on tilapia strips again. If this continues to improve I plan release all of my tiger muskie (30) into the grow out pond and try to winter them. Right now I only have 6 out there roaming the pond.
One of the challenges at this point is getting the tilapia strip cut to just the right size and then having it put on the alligator clip well enough that I can flip it out there, yet lightly enough that the muskie can rip it off and eat it. That's much easier when lowering into a cage rather than casting a piece into the water. Here you can see I struggle to get things right. The piece is probably a bit too large and on the alligator clip too well.
Just a couple notes for myself, or anyone who may try this in the future.........
1) Even though my fish seemed to feed a bit more aggressively this year, I believe I lost the feeding of about 25% of my TM in the feed training process because I started feeding too large of pieces of tilapia too soon in the process. I pulled up the cage the other day and 25% obviously had horrible body condition and hadn't eaten in a very long time. I released them into my yard pond that is overloaded with FHM in hopes that they can survive. So that may lead to a learning experience of how large numbers of TM do in a small 2/3 acre pond.
2) Earlier this year I released 6 TM into my 1100 sq ft. grow out pond just to see what type of response I'd get. As far as I can tell, I believe I have one left. The one that is left has remained filet trained on tilapia strips. The other five disappeared without a trace BUT my suspicion is that they have succumb to avian predators. Small TM seem to like to hover at or near the surface in low light conditions. And with a lined pond I have very little vegetative growth to protect them. So if I go about a similar process in the future I may try to remedy that by getting a decent amount of water hyacinth around the edge or submerging structure.
Just a few notes to help myself or anyone else that attempts this in the future.
Saturday was a warm, overcast, calm day. For whatever reason my Tiger Muskie were showing themselves all day. They were laying in wait of prey just inches under water over the top of weed beds. The light conditions were such that we could observe them for the first time since stocking them last summer. Up until this point I had not observed them at all. Here is a picture of a 21" chunk of a fish. This would be 2018 hatch and one of them that I raised in a cage last spring and early summer then released. We saw a minimum of 4 different TM in my small 2/3 acre pond. We hope to move them to a different pond at some point. This one was caught in a fyke net.