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#276425 12/31/11 07:50 PM
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i would like to stock my pond with a different blood line from time to time and it be mostly larger males. since it is hard to find anyone that will deliver a small order (100-200) and impossible to find anyone that will sell male only, i thought about raising my own. i thought i might buy 300 or so 3" bg and put them in a cage. would it be possible to raise a few hundred in a cage up to 6-7"

questions:
what size cage should i build?
what is the simplest cage to construct?
how can i make the cage otter, turtle, and heron proof?
how long will it take to grow off the fish in the cage?

i plan to attach it to my dock. i have an auto feeder, but figured i would hand feed them often. i doubt i could situate it where the sweeney would feed them.


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scott69 #276428 12/31/11 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted By: scott69
i would like to stock my pond with a different blood line from time to time and it be mostly larger males. since it is hard to find anyone that will deliver a small order (100-200) and impossible to find anyone that will sell male only, i thought about raising my own. i thought i might buy 300 or so 3" bg and put them in a cage. would it be possible to raise a few hundred in a cage up to 6-7"



I have done just that, as have others on this site. I'm here to tell you it can certainly be done.

Originally Posted By: scott69
questions:
what size cage should i build?



If it was me, and what I have done, is to start out with a 3 X 3 X 4 foot cage (the 4 feet is the ~ depth) with the largest size mesh you can get away with, and then transfer them to to a 4 x 4 X 4 foot cage with larger mesh a few months down the road.

The reason being, if they are more crowded, they will feed better (competition and less territoriality) and 3 X 3 X 4 is not to big for 300 three inch bluegills. Then when they reach about 5 inches I would transfer them to the 4 X 4 X 4 cage with larger mesh. One nice thing about bluegills is due to their deep bodies you can use wider mesh compared to other species.







Originally Posted By: scott69
what is the simplest cage to construct?


It's a matter of opinion. Bill Cody likes the circular cages, which he feels are easy for him to build and maintain. I prefer the rectangular cages and feel they are easy to build a and maintain. I especially like the rectangular cages that are deeper than their diameters for harvesting. That is, you pull them up to shore and turn them on their sides and scoop the fish out of the part that is submerged. The one below was more difficult to harvest due to the depth being the same as the height. Had to reach out farther with the cage in the way and pulling it in it wanted to catch on the bottom.



You can also harvest fish from a cage on the pier by using a block and tackle and two attachment points to the rectangular cage mesh. Pull on one end and dip the fish out of the submerged water. Sorry no picture at this time.

Mine are build with 1 1/2 inch PVC with three way connectors as a box type frame with the plastic net material attached with plastic zip ties. A lid is made in a similar way with some plastic tarp over the back 1/3rd as shade.




Originally Posted By: scott69
how can i make the cage otter, turtle, and heron proof?
how long will it take to grow off the fish in the cage?


I can't speak for otters but with a lid I've never had a problem with turtles, herons, muskrats, or mink. Not sure if wire mesh would deter an otter if they were inclined to get into a cage. I've had some snappers in the pond and a few painted turtles hanging around the cages, but never any damage or fish eaten. My thinking is the painted turtle may have been feeding on fish feed.

Originally Posted By: scott69
i plan to attach it to my dock. i have an auto feeder, but figured i would hand feed them often. i doubt i could situate it where the sweeney would feed them.


I hand feed all my cages so I can't tell you much about using a Sweeny. There are smaller demand feeders out there that you can mount directly over the cage. You can also build one yourself if you know how.




Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 12/31/11 08:46 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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cecil, that is some good info! i really appreciate the reply. i am seriously thinking about doing this soon.


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scott69 #276444 01/01/12 02:16 AM
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Cecil that is great information and well illustrated. I'm saving it just incase I want to try it.


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There have been a couple of good articles in the Pond Boss mag too. Bill Cody did an excellent one.

If anyone has anymore questions don't be shy!


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Where do you get the netting? Do you use actual netting, or is it steel/galvanized wire mesh? How far out of the water should the top of the cage be? What about algae build up? Do we have to worry about any water circulation around the cages? How far off the bottom of the pond should the cage be, or is it O.K. to have it resting on the bottom?


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esshup #276471 01/01/12 11:38 AM
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I built my small cage a couple of years ago with lots of help and input from Cecil. I basically copied his design!
This is its second winter!



It is 2 feet x 4 feet and 3 feet deep! I purchased the tees and mesh from the company Cecil recommended in Michigan because I could not find it locally. It turned out to cost me quite a bit of money with the UPS brokerage fees and such. I have since located it close to home for future projects. The lid is hinged using ty-raps as well.


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Mine is a round design, 4'deep (below waterline) x 4'diameter. It's 1/2" mesh, with 3 circles of 3/4" black plastic pipe as the framework. I haven't found the need for a lid, or any shade as of yet.

The white plastic pipe is the attachment arm, it hinges at both ends to allow the cage to rise with the water level, but not drift side to side. I attach it to the concrete deck, where the water level is 6'

The mesh is common hardware store stuff, overlapped in the middle to create the depth I needed. I started off using zip ties to secure the mesh to the pipe, then discovered that weedeater line could be used to "sew" the mesh to the frame...works great. I use pool noodles, or pipe insulation to float it. I replace the floats every year, and have had zero problems with the foam deteriorating, or with the fish pecking on it.

I let it overwinter empty in the pond the first year, when I removed it in the spring to clean off the algae buildup, I was amazed to find a half dozen LMB in it. They were between 3-3.5" long, too big to escape through the mesh. I can only assume they entered when they were smaller and became trapped.

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"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
sprkplug #276487 01/01/12 03:00 PM
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That round design looks like a good idea too! What is the fitting and white pipe used for in the first picture?


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hey rattletrap, is that a 4 way pvc fitting you have in the center of the cage? are they easy to find?


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scott69 #276536 01/02/12 10:55 AM
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Yep Scott. Those are 4 way fittings. This and the 3 way elbows were the reason I went to a specialty supplier in Michigan. Those type of fittings have no use in the piping world, so i figured I could never find them. Turns out i was wrong. A company that specializes in PVC fittings and pipe for industry here has them for a lot less money.


esshup #276548 01/02/12 02:24 PM
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Scott,

I assume your are asking these questions to provide info for others here as I know you know the answers. grin

Originally Posted By: esshup
Where do you get the netting?



You can find it from several suppliers on the Internet including Stoney Creek Equipment company and Aquatic Ecosystems.

Originally Posted By: esshup
Do you use actual netting, or is it steel/galvanized wire mesh?


I use the plastic cage netting. I think the steal, galvanized netting is much more expensive.

Originally Posted By: esshup
How far out of the water should the top of the cage be?


My opinion on that is high enough to not allow the cage to tip or get water over the top which could allow fish to escape. Also many times your lid mesh will want to dip into the water if the cage is not high enough out of the water.

Originally Posted By: esshup
What about algae build up?


It depends on the pond. Some get algae build up on the mesh some do not. I typically brush the inside and outside of my cages with a push broom and extending pole I bought at Menards.


Originally Posted By: esshup
Do we have to worry about any water circulation around the cages?


Again depends on the pond. I prefer to attach my cages to my pier over the deepest water of the pond. My pond is wide open with no trees so I get good water circulation. It may be a good idea to have a surface aerator or diffuser near a cage if the water is somewhat stagnant and very warm.

Originally Posted By: esshup
How far off the bottom of the pond should the cage be, or is it O.K. to have it resting on the bottom?


I would not rest a cage on the bottom as the fish waste will accumulate there and increase ammonia, BOD, and sulfates. It's best to have as much water as possible under the cage. It's not a bad idea to move the cage several feet once in a while.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 01/02/12 02:26 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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i am ready to get started on this project, but i am afraid that an otter is going to get in there! do you think there will be a problem using the metal hardware cloth?

cecil, you mentioned using the largest mesh as possible. do you think the 1/2" mesh will be ok?

reckon how long the wire will last in the water? years?

any reason not to build the frame out of wood?

Last edited by scott69; 01/02/12 07:00 PM.

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scott69 #276575 01/02/12 07:18 PM
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For article about fish cages in Pond Boss Magazine see;
Mar-Apr 2007 CAGED FISH ON A SMALL SCALE. Cody in Part 1 of a 3 part article, describes the materials needed and how to build small cages to raise fish.

May Jun 2007 CAGED FISH ON A SMALL SCALE. PART DEUX. Cody covers fish cage placement, selecting species, proper sizes, how many to stock, and feeding of fish in a cage.

Jul-Aug 2007 CAGED FISH ON A SMALL SCALE. In Part III, Cody discusses maintenance, mortalities, harvest, and overwintering of fish in a cage.

Jan-Feb 2008 LARGEMOUTH BASS IN CAGES. Cecil Baird describes how he raises bass in cages plus adds some cage rearing tips.

Cage frames can be made from 3/4" - 1" dia PVC using 45 or 90 degree fittings. I've used bicycle rims for smaller cages for 20-50 fish or for fed training before moving trained fish to larger cages. Fiberglass hoops for trap nets also work well (Memphis Net and Twine). For my cylindrical or octagonal cages I prefer to use only a top frame because it is cheaper with fewer fitings and less pipe. Then I attach 4 legs (wood, PVC, polyethylene blk water pipe) to the side to help keep the shape and allow the cage to stand upright and not collapse when out of the water. Cages built ths way are very light weight. I usually use two quart juice bottles (Ocean Spray, rectangular sides good for attachment) for floats. 2 Liter pop bottles also resist UVlight deterioration.

I often did not use a lid until I watched a mink crawl into the cage and go fishing. A 1" sq wire mesh hindged lid stopped the furry freeloader. I have 1 or 2 big snapping turtles always around my cages. They eat pellets but don't bother the cage or fish.
To harvest fish from the cage from a dock I just have someone hold the cage up so the water is 10-14" deep in the cage bottom and I dip out the fish. I rarely clean my cages with fish in them. When the cage is dirty and algae clogged I just put fish in another cage. I alternate cages. Generally the more fish in the cage and clearer the water the more FA grows on the mesh.

For 3" long BG which have a body depth of 1", a cage mesh of 3/4" would work. although 2.5" BG might get through this mesh. I buy my plastic netting from industrianetting.net. (old name internetmesh.net) They allow you to buy netting in lengths less than 50 ft - cut to order lengths although they used to have a minimum order total amount. This is especially good for ordering a couple different sizes when 50 ft is not needed.


I raised fish in smaller cages less than 27 cuft for 21 years and I'm still using some of my original cages. That plastic mesh holds up well to weathering. Often the cage is in the water year round. I've had fish survive well in cages that have been frozen into 12"-14" of ice cover.

BG stocked at 3"-4" in Mar/Apr, well cared for, and raised in AL with the longer growing season should be 6"-7" by October, and 4.5"-5.7" by Fall in northern areas of the US (OH, IN, IL, PA, NE, IA, KY, WVA, WI).


Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/02/12 07:26 PM.

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if i choose to use metal instead of plastic for the mesh, can i use wood for the frame?


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Wood would break down a lot faster than PVC in the water.

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i would be happy getting a few years out of them. i just feel i need metal intead of plastic, just in case the otters return.
my concern is the weight and bouyancy.


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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody

I often did not use a lid until I watched a mink crawl into the cage and go fishing. 1" sq wire mesh hindged lid stopped the furry freeloader.


That and probably a load of birdshot! grin

I can just picture Cody. "^%$$##@@@! boom! Take that you little ^%$#$#@!"

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 01/03/12 08:28 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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The problem with wire is that it really abrades the fishs' body and fins when they brush against it - moreso than plastic. I believe wood would take more floatation than plastic too. Remember you want the top of the cage up out of the water.


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Industrial Netting is another supplier that carries plastic netting.

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thanks russ, i just googled them and they have lots of options


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seems like i remember some type of spray rubber coating in a can, kinda like spray paint. i wonder if something like that could be used to coat the wire mesh?


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scott69 #276822 01/05/12 06:05 PM
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Scott,

I'm pretty sure you can get the wire mesh already coated.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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I would try plastic mesh first in one 'test or prototype' cage. If you have otters breaching the cage then resort to wire. Some places do sell plastic or rubber coated wire mesh,although it is sort of costly. Wood frame also becomes water logged and then needs for floatation. More floatation is also needed when the mesh becomes loaded with attached algae growth. A cage with a soaked wood frame and loaded with algae is heavy.

CB1- I didn't shoot the mink but easily could have as it was focused on fishing. I get a few of them patrolling the shoreline looking for frogs. I think the mink prey on young muskrats in the adjacent creek.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/05/12 06:11 PM.

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ok, i just pulled the trigger and ordered 3 and 4 way fittings of off ebay. formufit was the seller if anyone is interested. i ordered 1".

cecil, any idea where to get coated wire?

bill, i hate to take a chance with the otters. im afraid i will get a few months into raising bg and the ole otter will come along.


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