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Thread Like Summary
anthropic, azteca, FishinRod, jpsdad, Mainahs70, RStringer, SherWood
Total Likes: 11
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#548646 05/31/2022 5:55 AM
by Snipe
I felt like this was a good time to post some info on FHM and their spawning behavior. Many recent postings leave the impression FHM have spawned "once or twice" now. I will try not to drag this out so bare with me here.
First, FHM become sexually mature fairly quickly at an intermediate size-not just as 3 to 3-1/2" adults. Males are slower to mature than females for a reason.....stress or lack of. Males begin cleaning rock, wood, pvc pipe or actually about anything intersecting the basin.
He attracts females to continually lay eggs in his spot. He guards, cleans and hatches daily until death.
The part that is sometimes hard to understand is the frequency of the spawn as a group. They do not actually spawn as a group, they spawn as individuals which means there are females laying eggs every minute of the day when water temps rise and they are triggered to spawn. Every minute of every day for the summer months-generally. When this is happening, keep in mind there are eggs hatching every minute of every day, throughout the summer. Every day the FHM are growing in numbers substantially higher than mortality.
In a fertile environment the first 30-60 days of hatchlings can become sexually mature and begin the cycle the same as the original adults did-in the same year they hatch. This is a part of the reason starting in a new pond it is not necessary to pile an outlandish number of minnows to start, in fact it's best if you start with a lower number so the forage (planktonic in nature) available to the new hatch is not removed too quick-fertilization is important here, or having the nutrient load available to grow the single cell organisms that start this cycle.
I have seen several project beginnings with my own eyes where the FHM and GSH have started to appear very lean due to a lack of fertility. A fish eating 100 skinny minnows is getting far less return than a fish eating 50 fat, healthy minnows because that fish done twice the work for the same useable consumption so the higher the reproduction, the more fry, the quicker this can occur, creating a problem that is not easily corrected. To add to that, it's not always practical for some pond owners to fertilize at the right times with the right products simply because "they didn't know". We hope they all find PondBoss to gain the knowledge needed, but we've all seen that at some point because we didn't know what we didn't know...
I hope this makes sense and isn't misleading to anyone, I have just noticed several posts this spring about FHM that waved a flag for me. Hope this is useful to some.
Liked Replies
#548795 Jun 2nd a 05:05 AM
by That One Guy
That One Guy
The males also change color when spawning.
Eggs above male in second photo
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]
3 members like this
#548991 Jun 7th a 04:21 PM
by Snipe
Originally Posted by SherWood
Will FHMs wipe out the FA in a newly renovated pond?

I ask this because my wife and I can't put our finger on what has removed all of the FA we had on our pond this Spring but what looked like it was about to get away from us has now reversed course and we see absolutely nothing and are loving it.

There are a lot of potential variables involved in tackling the FA, we took a number of actions, but I am just asking about FHM since this is a thread about them. We put about 5.5k FHMs in our about 2.5 acre pond in April. We also stocked BG, RES, 100 CC and 100 2-4" LMB. Our FHM population has exploded in that short amount of time. I really thought the LMB might wipe them out but there are schools of new minnows every step of the way around the banks of the entire pond. It looks like millions to us but obviously not, at least tens of thousands though. I don't fear that the FHM will disappear anytime soon, at least not this first year.

So, is it possible that the initial 5.5k and all their tiny spawn could have been a significant enough influence in the rapid decline of our FA to pretty much zilch or would they have a negligible or zero net effect most likely?
Probably not... In fact it can go the other way if FHM consume large amounts of zooplankton-which consumes the phytoplankton.
The swings from algal growth to clear water is pretty normal the first few years of a new pond at our latitude. There are lots of changes taking place as the ecosystem builds and balances.
3 members like this
#548967 Jun 6th a 11:21 PM
by FishinRod
Once you can walk across your pond on the backs of the FHMs, then it is probably safe to start stocking your other fish! grin
1 member likes this
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