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Should I stock tilapia? #517036 02/19/20 01:55 PM
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I've done some reading about the benefits of stocking tilapia an am considering it for my small pond but am afraid of potential negative results. I love the idea of them controlling algae and providing additional forage, but am unsure if they would wipe out my aquatic plants or outcompete any of my fish that are already present. My pond is about 1/8 acre and is heavily vegetated with mostly fennel pondweed. The fish present are bg,hbg, res, lmb, we, yp, and gsh. My fear would be that the tilapia start eating all the pond weed that provides shelter for my young fish or that the tilapia go after my bg and gsh fry and negativity impact my pond. Any thoughts or opinions are appreciated.

Cody Note FYI: Potamogeton pectinatus, called fennel pondweed (UK) or sago pondweed (US), is a cosmopolitan water plant species that grows in fresh and brackish water on all continents except Antarctica. It is fully submerged and does not have any floating or emerged leaves. The flowers are wind pollinated and the seeds float.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/21/20 05:02 PM.
Re: Should I stock tilapia? [Re: Freg] #517059 02/20/20 03:29 AM
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In my experience, Tilapia don't eat much in the way of pond weeds, greatly preferring algae. However, I did discover that, in the absence of algae, they will eat small fish rather than starve. In my case I suspect they helped wipe out the fathead minnows that were supposed to feed my initial stocking of small LMB.

Last edited by anthropic; 02/20/20 03:30 AM.

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Re: Should I stock tilapia? [Re: Freg] #517098 02/21/20 02:16 AM
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Tilapia will in absence of algae will eat delicate thin leaf pond plans such as Chara, small pond weed and maybe Najas (bushy pondweed).


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Re: Should I stock tilapia? [Re: Freg] #517103 02/21/20 04:59 AM
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Tilapia are omnivores, yet prefer to eat what there is no competition for. You have quite a combination of fish for such a small body of water. Tilapia will eat some of your fry, pellets if you use them, detritus on the bottom, and just about any plant. I think adding 5-10 pounds of mixed sex tilapia will produce far more forage for your diverse types of fish, as only the brood stock would eat much in the way of other forage fish....I don't know how much of fennel will be controlled, as the small tilapia will be pretty exposed when small and be eaten before many grow much....I'd go for adding the T

Re: Should I stock tilapia? [Re: Rainman] #517157 02/22/20 01:33 PM
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Thanks for the info, so basically the tilapia may "snack on the vegetation after algae is controlled, but they wouldn't wipe it all out? I just don't want to end up with no plants or next to none. I'm sure they'll congregate near where I pellet feed as well.

Re: Should I stock tilapia? [Re: Freg] #517163 02/22/20 08:51 PM
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If the tilapia get to where you are seeing significant submerged vegetation loss you can do at least two easy things. 1. feed the fish more often so tilapia eat more pellets than plants. 2. Rremove some tilapia by fishing for the tilapia with Stubby Steve's food pellets. Tilapia bite them well and these pellets stay on the hook well to catch several fish.

However I would not stock too many tilapia at the first attempt. Then based on 1st year results stock fewer or more 2nd year. For an 0.12 ac pond I would not stock any more than 6 to 8 4"-7" tilapia (2-3 lbs) first attempt.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/22/20 08:58 PM.

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Re: Should I stock tilapia? [Re: Freg] #517675 03/06/20 09:07 PM
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I have found out via testing in my personal pond (that way I don't have irate clients) that stocking less than 40# per surface acre here in Indiana will not control the algae in the pond. ALSO, if the algae that is already growing in the pond isn't killed off before stocking the Tilapia the Tilapia cannot eat all the existing algae AND the newly growing algae.

I completely agree with Bill C. If the Tilapia in the pond are eating too much of the things that you don't want them to eat, then they will be easier to catch. Feed more floating fish pellets, and use Stubby Steves as bait for them.

I do not see a downside to stocking them in a pond that has algae. For a 0.12 ac pond, I'd stock 5# of Tilapia with the fish being between 6"-9" in length, 6" being optimal size.


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