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Thread Like Summary
anthropic, FishinRod, jpsdad, Quarter Acre, SherWood
Total Likes: 23
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#547087 04/26/2022 5:23 PM
by SherWood
SherWood
I had an idea and was wondering if it could work.

I'd love to build a small pond for raising bait but that's just not going to be able to happen anytime soon right now. In the meanwhile I was trying to think of other ways I could raise FHMs.

One thought was to build a cage that is in my pond, maybe floating next to the dock or along the shoreline. If I made it 6x6' or 8x8' by two or three ft. deep, (big enough for a stack of 2 or 3 pallets, corralled it with 1/8in. mesh, and put a top over it, could this work? How small would I need to make the mesh to keep the young inside? Would 1/8" be too small and need to be something more like window screen?

Would this be a waste of time? If worth a try, how many minnows should I initially put in it? I assume I would be feeding them fish food.

My other idea was to use a small pool, about 8' diameter and 2 feet deep, put it in the shade, run aeration in it and see if minnows would work in that.
Liked Replies
#547393 May 4th a 12:19 AM
by esshup
esshup
With the mesh cage, get a deck scrubbing brush and scrub the mesh on the sides of the cage. That will remove any FA that forms.

I have plastic cage netting that has held up for 10+ years without any degradation from the sun. You can get it here:

https://www.industrialnetting.com/cage-netting.html
3 members like this
#547499 May 5th a 06:21 PM
by snrub
snrub
If you are interested I built a FHM "condo" for my RES/SMB pond to give the FHM something to spaqn on. It was not in a cage but instead staked to the bank of the pond. But it might give you some ideas.

Did it work? Darned if I know. I got the idea from some youtube videos on FHM or Rosie Reds spawning in aquariums. Several people were using PVC pipe as a substrate for them. So I got the idea of making a colony of PVC pipes. I tried to turn the pipes different directions to give the couples the most privacy and minimize competition. The holes drilled in the pipes were for water flow and good aereation (at least my idea of it).

Scroll down the page to where the title includes the words "some FHM substrate. 2/3 the way down the page. The installation of it in the pond is further down that same page.

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=459159&page=6
2 members like this
#547521 May 6th a 01:14 AM
by snrub
snrub
What if you approach this from a different angle.

What if you make your cage and only put in a handful of FHM's? Maybe a couple dozen. However many could have spawning areas they could protect. Size the mesh of the cage so the breeders stay in (and anything that could eat them out) and the recruitment (babies) wanders out into your pond.

Provide cover and habitat for the fry around the cage.

Could it be you would get more breeder production that way?
2 members like this
#547688 May 10th a 02:53 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
As esshup menitoned - ""You can get more to spawn in a given area if the males that are protecting the eggs cannot see other close males. i.e. you can get more to breed in a smaller area.""
Pallets will produce more FHM spawning areas if there is an additional divider or wall inside the pallet. Currently pallets have one 2X4 in the middle. An additional 2X4 or similar divider to make the space between the middle and center wall not as wide will allow more spawning of FHM due to their territorial instinct.

In a confined space if you bundle short pipes together this gives FHM males confined spaces to create territories. Example - See page 1 in the Q&A Structure Archive ewest's post dated 29/07/07 time 1:06pm on his pictures 9 and 10 for groups or bundles of pipes.
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92463#Post92463
2 members like this
#547092 Apr 26th a 06:22 PM
by FishinRod
FishinRod
I don't know about your cage idea.

However, here is a link to a Pond Boss thread discussing your second idea about a tiny FHM pond.

Tiny Fathead Minnow Pond

Good luck,
FishinRod
1 member likes this
#547095 Apr 27th a 12:00 AM
by jpsdad
jpsdad
Sherwood I like your idea someday I might do something similar ... But I have some things to add.

1. I wouldn't try to raise fry to adult in the cage. I think the best approach is to use the cage to seed your pond with fry and just let them grow to whatever size they are able. Your pond can support a very substantial weight of fry and juvenile minnows at various stages of development. Yes they will be eaten by BG and LMB .... but that is point right?. So just try to protect the brooders in the cage so they can make babies. IMHO the mesh should be large enough to allow new hatched fry to go their merry way and small enough to keep brooders in and predators out.

2. Keeping screen clean enough to allow water flow through it is important. Might be pretty tough to do in full sun so is there any way it could be fitted under the dock and fed through the dock in some fashion?

3. You mentioned a kiddie pool and again there is a limit to the number of fry that can be grown to adolescence or adulthood ... BUT ... if you collect eggs and hatch them you can stock free swimming fry into you main pond. Here's a good reference in case you are interested.
1 member likes this
#547106 Apr 27th a 02:24 AM
by SherWood
SherWood
When I was a kid, I had a box turtle pen in my backyard. It was probably 12' by 12' with a short board fence around it, no more than a foot high. It was low enough that they would get out of it at times and I'd find them in the nearby strawberry patch.

My dad built a tiny pond in it with concrete. It couldn't have been much more than 3' by 2' and no more than a foot deep. I used to throw minnows in there I'd catch from a creek and never remember having a fish kill (except that one time when I added a small snapping turtle to my turtle pen.). I don't think they ever produced young and I never used aeration or filtering and don't even remember feeding them. I also recall a friend of my dad's who kept minnows in his backyard in a small rowboat that filled up with water.
1 member likes this
#547199 Apr 29th a 02:46 PM
by SherWood
SherWood
Originally Posted by Augie
I've tried keeping FHM in a wire cage in the pond. After a few days they start to look pretty rough - rough meaning large numbers of
them have torn their faces off trying to find a way out.

Think about using a nylon mesh enclosure rather than hardware cloth.

Dang, hate to hear that but it was something I had wondered about. Thanks for the tip!
1 member likes this
#547198 Apr 29th a 01:10 PM
by Augie
Augie
I've tried keeping FHM in a wire cage in the pond. After a few days they start to look pretty rough - rough meaning large numbers of
them have torn their faces off trying to find a way out.

Think about using a nylon mesh enclosure rather than hardware cloth.
1 member likes this
#547224 Apr 30th a 06:28 AM
by SherWood
SherWood
Originally Posted by jpsdad
Here are some knotless seine webbing that would be more fish friendly.

This one also carries a nylon mesh.

This other one only carries polyester in the smaller knotless meshes.

Thanks for those links. I've been looking online today for something in 1/4" that may work for me. None of the hardware stores in my area carry anything I would want. What do you all think about PVC coated wire mesh? It's hardware cloth with a vinyl coating. It would be sturdy and tough but I don't know if the fish would still injure themselves on it like some of you've experienced with normal wire mesh.
1 member likes this
#547225 Apr 30th a 11:26 AM
by jpsdad
jpsdad
I think the pvc coated wire mesh maybe better than webbing (no worse for injury but possibly longer lasting). I am trying to remember who used webbing to construct a cage here. He could say more about how well the webbing stands up. The PVC coating substantially increases the life of wire in water while softening and smoothing out the rough edges, so I think it is a worthy choice.
1 member likes this
#547496 May 5th a 04:43 PM
by esshup
esshup
Originally Posted by Quarter Acre
Consider using light PCV pipe for the egg laying, and/or the corrugated plastic sheet that cheap signs are made of. Both are light and I have seen other's success with regards to holding eggs (in aquariums). As far as size of either, I'd try items that are at least a foot long (or a foot square) an no more than 3 foot.

A male FHM tries to lay claim to an area that is about 18" square whenever possible.
1 member likes this
#547491 May 5th a 02:04 PM
by Quarter Acre
Quarter Acre
Consider using light PCV pipe for the egg laying, and/or the corrugated plastic sheet that cheap signs are made of. Both are light and I have seen other's success with regards to holding eggs (in aquariums). As far as size of either, I'd try items that are at least a foot long (or a foot square) an no more than 3 foot.
1 member likes this
#547691 May 10th a 03:25 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
In my experience and opinion I think you should reconsider spending a lot of time and effort raising FHM to grow better BG and Bass. Why?
1. For best production you are going to need to feed the FHM which means buying food.

2. And most importantly feeding fish to other fish that eat minnows is a VERY inefficient way to grow your BG and LMB. History and research tells us fish will need to eat about 10 pounds of live food to gain a ONE pound resulting in around a 10:1 conversion. It is much cheaper with less effort to feed the fish a high protein, highly digestible pellet that produces close to a 2:1 or sometimes even close to a 1:1 conversion rate. This means every 1-2 pounds of good quality pellets produces close to 1 pound of fish gain. The pellet conversion ratio of 1:1 lb gain becomes closer if the fish are also able to eat other natural foods in the pond. This also depends on the specie of fish. High quality pellets cost a little more money compared to lower cost pellets but the amount of weigh gain is more and fish waste and water quality loss are measurably LESS and proven with indoor feeding tests for the more expensive fish pellets. It is all about how much of the pellet is digestible to produce fish weight gain and healthy fish. Too many carbohydrates are not good healthy food or fish or humans.

3. Get your pond fish on real good fish food pellets and you will see real good results.

4. Pellet feeding produces lots more bigger fish faster compared to fish living on all natural foods. When producing more fish with pellets, IT BECOMES MORE IMPORTANT TO IMPLEMENT PROPER FISH HARVEST TO MAINTAIN THE QUALITY OF THE FISHERY LONG TERM. Ponds can easily become unhealthy for fish and water quality when feeding too many fish.

5. When feeding pond fish it is very important to understand pond carrying capacity, and proper fish harvest to achieve your goals for the fishery. Different goals require different specific management methods.
1 member likes this
#547741 May 11th a 05:49 PM
by snrub
snrub
I for one will be interested in how you think it works out for you. I've got predators in my tiny 1/20th acre forage pond now so just putting in FHM's might not do much good. But what you are doing might just work.

Something you might consider after you get it going is to put a couple of minnow traps in your pond to see if you can capture any of your recruitment minnows. Shallow water, a foot or two deep, is what I have my best luck capturing minnows in a trap. Somewhere in my old forage pond thread I have pictures and a discussion of minnow traps.

In my opinion the Gee's traps are some of the best. As the fish you are trying to capture get a little bigger, a person can enlarge the opening from the standard 1" to 1.5 or so. Be advised though, doing so probably makes it illegal to use in public waters. And captured fish tend to wander back out easier so more frequent content checks are needed.

Edit: Some minnow trap info:

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=521163&page=1

About half way down the following page some discussion and pictures of different traps I have used.

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=498329&page=2
1 member likes this
#547701 May 10th a 09:37 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
anthropic - you ask
Quote
Given a set food budget, would it be best to focus on feeding smaller pellets to the BG, or big pellets to the LMB?

Obviously the big pellets will benefit more the LMB that eat them, but not all are feed trained. Most especially wild bred LMB may not come to the feed much. But those that eat big pellets, may ease off on BG predation, helping that population.

The small pellets help the BG that serve as LMB food, of course. Some LMB eat small pellets, too, but most of them end up in BG bellies. One pound of BG is nowhere near as nourishing bass growth as one pound of fish food, but on the other hand BG reproduce in large numbers & utilize natural resources in addition to man made.

What are your thoughts in a pond environment? Does it depend on the carrying capacity?

Your questions are a complex topic to discuss. There are lots of factors involved. Other members can also provide what they have learned on this topic as the thread continues. Here are a few of my initial thoughts.
1. Lots of experience has taught me to first begin with pellet trained fish. Although I have done it both ways of training pond fish to eat pellets while also buying pellet raised fish. The 2nd way is easier and quicker producing the fastest results when someone else pellet trains the stocker fish. Training fish to eat pellets takes time and it is helpful to use the correct training methods which helps a lot for success. Correct methods to train fish to eat pellets is a complete article by itself.

2. If you want some pellet trained fish in a all natural food pond, I suggest that you remove any number of "wild" fish and replace them in equal numbers with pellet trained fish. This relates to carrying capacity. Adding pellet eating fish helps speed the conversion toward a pellet eating fishery. IMPORTANT - The older a pellet raised stocker fish is when purchased,,,,,, the more likely it will remain eating pellets after it is stocked into your pond.

3.. If you are looking to best enhance the whole fish community IMO it is best to feed all the fish species and sizes. This quickly benefits the whole fish community. Usually this means using various sizes of pellet feed for the various sizes of fish. For my small fisheries I use basically one size pellet 1/4". I grind pellets to various sizes for minnows and soften pellets for 3"+ fish. I have learned to soften the pellets so 3" and 16" fish can eat the same soft squeezable pellet. This eliminates buying several sizes of pellets. All my fish seem to grow very well.

4. As far as "What are your thoughts in a pond environment?" Pellet feeding esp using high quality pellets grows more fish pounds and bigger fish faster. This concept is basically the same as raising most all animals for food or your other use. Animal husbandry.

5. There are numerous advantages and disadvantages to a natural fed fishery and a supplemental pellet fed fishery.

6. For best results of a natural and pellet fishery carrying capacity requirements need to be followed for getting or achieving the best results for ones GOALS. Goals have to be realistic based on Mother Nature's Laws.
1 member likes this
#547704 May 10th a 10:48 PM
by ewest
ewest
IMO get feed that is multi sized and feed all. That way you are hedging your risk that either one would be better.
There is a range of feeding from small amount of supplemental to lots of food like aquaculture. So, pond size and goals effect your feeding options - watch your water quality. The more you rely on feeding the more attention you have to pay to management - water quality, carrying capacity, population dynamics and harvest.
1 member likes this
#547734 May 11th a 03:02 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Everyone has an opinion be it correct, wrong, misinterpreted, slanted, or biased. Final results tell the rest of the story.
1 member likes this
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