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#38523 01/28/06 03:29 PM
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I have a 3 year old pond I built in a hollow behind my house. Depth is 8 feet and I would say it averages around 4-5 feet deep. It has a small spring but most of the feeder water is rain water during the winter and in the summer I pump fresh water when needed from a continous running rock bottom creek. The pond was built in the woods and I have numerous large oak and hickory trees close by. I do have grass planeted on the dam and around 15-50 feet around all of the sides but the pond does get a considerable amount of leaves in the fall. I have a powerhouse areator/fountain "aprox 10 - 12' diameter spray" that I run year round between 12 to 24 hours a day depending on the season. I run it more in the summer than winter. I stocked the pond when it was freshly built with aproximately 100 hybrid bluegill, 100 redear, 25 catfish, 25 bass, 1 grass carp, and 2 koi. I did add a few additional catfish and bass last year around 10 - 15 each. During the spring there are hundreds of frogs that dwindle down with time but early spring they are so loud you can hardly hear yourself think at night. I do also put fat head minnows in when it seems it needs them but not on any set schedule. I feed my fish floating pellets every evening in the summer and do not feed in the winter " the fish do not seem to eat" and I hear that you are to feed when the water reaches above 58 degrees anyway. I usually start feeding sometime in March and finish in November. The pond is located in middle Tennessee in Kingston Springs. I use a blue green dye to inhibit algea growth and for color during the summer. I have used lime, liquid fertilizer "one time", but usually use pellet fertilizer in the pond to help the water. I have had problems with water meal and filament algea but seem to get rid of it by pumping fresh water and sometimes it just goes away. My question is how do I check my water to make sure it is healthy and if it needs adjustment is there information to tell me what to do? I would hate to mess it up because the fish seem to grow and I never find any dead fish in the pond. There are a couple of turtles that hang around that I think I need to get rid of. I have fished it but I usually return them to the water after they have been caught. Any advice would be appreciated. I love my pond and the fish are like pets. I want to make sure that I am a good ecological neighbor to nature and keep it the best it can be.

#38524 01/29/06 12:13 AM
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From the standpoint of being a good ecological neighbor, you need to think of pond balance. I'm speaking of a balance of predator and prey or forage base to feed the bass and catfish at the top of the food chain. Consider the cycle of life that starts with phytoplankton that are fed on by zooplankton, that are eaten by tiny pond bugs, and so on up to the bass and catfish.

Regarding water quality, the pond dye inhibits the production of the phyto and everything goes south without them. Once you stop messing with the bottom of the food chain, ask yourself what the top of the food chain will eat. The frogs live on the side of the pond, not in it. The HBG don't provide an ongoing forage base. They're almost sterile. That takes bluegill and you don't have them. The fatheads are too small to really provide the protien that a predator needs. A bass needs 10 pounds of forage to gain one pound of weight. They have to burn a lot of protien to catch enough minnows to be healthy and growing.

A fountain is beautiful and a joy to look at but it doesn't really provide aeration from the bottom to the top or really through the water column where it is needed.

You didn't say just how big this pond is. That is important to determine the next step to rectify your situation. Please do not consider my response as condescending. I, and most others here, made many more mistakes than you on my/our first pond(s).


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
#38525 01/29/06 01:01 AM
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Thanks for the quick response I appreciate it. I really take this seriously and would like to be a very educated and dedicated pond owner. The pond in question is probably around 1/2 acre total surface area. It is shaped like a tennis shoe with a covered 8 X 16 dock on one end. I constructed a concreted spillway on that end that handles drainage to a catch basin and then through a 24" X 20' culvert pipe back to the creek. The redear, bluegill, and bass all eat the floating food but I am worried about the bass. I just want to make sure that I am taking care of the pond the best way I can. The fountain "1/2 HP 220V from powerhouse" might not be the best but it was recommended to me from a fish farm that uses them. An aerator in the bottom probably would be better. The local co-op recommended the aqua shade color to help keep the algea growth down. It also recommended that I fertalize with something like 5-15-5 but I do not remember the number specifically. It seemed that I had good algea blooms last year but again I am no expert by any means to tell. Thanks for the advice and I hope this additional information helps to give a better visual of what is going on. I will try to email you a picture of the pond. Thanks Dave for your help!!

#38526 01/29/06 08:58 AM
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Like DD said, the best thing you can do for your food chain is providing better forage for the bass. Putting in some adult regular (not hybrid) BG would be a good way. For a half acre 20-30 adult BG would probably suffice.

Aqua shade and fertilizer have contrary purposes IMO. People usually use aqua shade to reduce plankton/plant growth, as you stated. They add fertilizer to get MORE plankton, although they may get larger plants instead depending on the pond and when the fertilizer is applied. In sounds to me like your co-op is selling aqua shade and fertilizer.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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#38527 01/29/06 09:34 AM
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As Theo and Dave mentioned, adding the regular Bluegill could have a rapid benefit as soon as late spring. This is assuming you put in some adult bluegill.

Could you also comment on the size of the Catfish and LMB?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

#38528 01/29/06 10:03 AM
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Here is the link to managing ponds in Tenn. a good basic publication.

http://www.state.tn.us/twra/fish/pond/ponds.pdf

Call your county agent and ask about a soil test for your dirt (from the pond bottom) and a water test. He should be able to provide info but tell him it is for pond mamagement purposes.

Good advice above but it can only be as good as the info available. In order to derermine how to approach the status of the fish population you need to provide sizes/age/types and # of fish already there. Look at pages 27-31 of link about pond assessment and balance; the chart on what you see will give you and idea of the process.
















#38529 01/29/06 10:34 AM
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Well said, Theo.

Pondfishr, you need to sit down and think about what you want in a pond. It has often been said here that it is all about your goals. My Father used to say that if you don't know where you want to go, almost any road will take you there. He was right on a lot of things that I didn't pay any attention to.

However, when you identify your goals, do it with constraints in mind. A balanced pond will usually handle about 100 pounds of predators per acre. Due to their propensity to overspawn, bass can be a real problem in any body of water less than a couple of acres. Those things can quickly eliminate balance.

I think the first step is understanding that it all starts with a couple of fundamentals. Water quality, like the air we breathe, is paramount. Bill Cody once posted that fish live in their own toilet. Something like an aquarium. The other is an understanding of the predator/prey relationship and the work it takes to maintain it. And, done properly, it is work. Bob Lusk says that a pond is like a garden. You have to harvest to keep the plants healthy.

You mention a fish farm close to you. While there is absolutely no correlation in a fish farm and a balanced private pond, they will have water monitoring tools. Ask if they will test your water for alkilinity and ph. You can buy your own water test kits from multiple sources. They depend on the addition of different compounds to determine results when color changes occur. I don't think I have ever been able to figure out when the right shade of pink occurs.

If it were mine, and it's not, I would catch and keep every bass possible. You won't be able to get them all. They get hook shy.

I keep thinking about an advertisement for oil filters. Pay me now or pay me later.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
#38530 01/29/06 06:25 PM
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Am I hearing that the bass in the size pond I have could be a bad thing? For the blugill I read where that if you put something besides the HBG that they would take over my pond. I guess the real thing is do I want a bass pond, bluegill, catfish, or another kind. If the mixture is important what is the best mix of fish to have co-existing together. I have read the TWRA recommendations for stocking and tried to follow their guidlines. I have one grass carp that is 3 years old that I did not mention before that was around 1.5 pounds. Summer 2005 my catfish are 1/2 to 1.5 lbs, 3/4 lbs bluegill anbout the size of a large hand, bass 3/4 to 1.5 lbs, and brim small to 1/2 lbs. Most of the fish are around 2-3 years old. The fish seem to be growing ok I guess but this is the first pond I have owned. I like to do things right so thats why I'm here. I subscribed to pond boss magazine this afternoon and also purchased the raising trophey bass book. The water quality is still one of my biggest fears and if taking that to the county agent is the best method that's what I will do but is there somekind of home kit I can get to where I will be able to keep up with things on an ongoing basis. Thanks!!

#38531 01/29/06 07:59 PM
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pondfishr :

Look on pgs 9-14 of the Tenn. link above above it goes over lime and fert. But look at pg 46 which has coop-ext. service offices and phone #'s to contact for help. There are easy to use test kits for alkalinity from Hatch but you need to understand what you are testing for and what the results mean. The link above is a good source for your situation. They may even come out to the pond to do an assessment.
















#38532 01/30/06 12:53 AM
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Here is a picture of my pond last summer when it had a film of algea on top."watermeal"? This is one thing I hope to control better this year.

[img]http://images.snapfish.com/345%3B835%3A%3B%7Ffp337%3Enu%3D3275%3E692%3E6%3A%3A%3EWSNRCG%3D323349%3A455%3C34nu0mrj[/img]

#38533 01/30/06 01:00 AM
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One more angle of the pond. I hope this helps you get a better idea of what I am dealing with.

[img]http://images.snapfish.com/345%3B83659%7Ffp336%3Enu%3D3275%3E692%3E6%3A%3A%3EWSNRCG%3D323349%3A4449%3A5nu0mrj[/img]

#38534 01/30/06 11:27 AM
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The County Agent may or may not be able to help. My county agent knows something about farm and range plants, gardens and cows. More than likely mine would send a sample to Texas A & M for identification. The result would probably be awhile in coming.

I think I would gather a sample of the watermeal, in a sealed plastic bag with water, and let an expert positively identify it. They can recommend chemicals to handle it.

I'm not very adept at identifying and treating water weeds but understand that things like watermeal and duckweed are tough to whip without repeated applications.

Anyone here have experience with tilapia eating or not eating that stuff?

#38535 01/30/06 11:56 AM
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Pondfishr,

Plant ID is the first and most important step in controlling nusiance aquatic vegetation. Make sure you are dealing with the correct plant before doing anything.

IF the vegetation in your pond is identified as watermeal or duckweed, there are two effective means of control:

1. Tilapia (depends on availability, climate and state regulations)

2. Reward with a tank mix of cutrine (apply according to manufacturer's label)

Duckweed and watermeal are typically more difficult to control with herbicides than herbaceous fish. The tiny plant is able to hide itself in shoreline vegetation and avoid herbicides. These plants reproduce rapidly and can become dense in a short period of time.

Herbaceous fish such as tilapia, when stocked at the right rate, can typically keep up with the growth more effectively than herbicides.

Also, duckweed and watermeal are indicators of a high phosphate content in your pond. It might be a good idea to also reduce the amount of nutrients in your pond at the same time you are trying to control the vegetation. Managing your watershed and utilizing beneficial pond microbes will help reduce your overall phosphate concentration.

Hope this information helps!

#38536 02/09/06 02:42 PM
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If tilapia aren't legal in your state, then the best herbicide option in my opinion is Sonar.

Sonar is a systemic herbicide which works over the growing season, often requiring 90 days for control. It is easy to apply, cost-effective, and ecologically safe. Just don't water your yard with treated pond-water...according to the label.

Since watermeal and duckweed are very small and drift around with the wind, it is tough to control (long-term) with contact herbicides like reward.

Sonar may give you more than one year of control. And Trent is right, microbes may help...post-treatment.


It's ALL about the fish!
#38537 02/09/06 04:02 PM
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What about carp (if someone wanted to stay away from chemicals)? I have seen success with small carp (double the normal stocking rate) and duckweed. Watermil and duckweed can almost be seen multiplying under the microscope (bad stuff). If the carp can get an initial handle on the problem, then you could eliminate the chemical application ($), and provide a safer ecological alternative.
Just another random thought for the day, but I would like other's opinions as I too am learning a lot about water management.

BTW Pondfishr your pond is beautiful. You notice how the surface aerator is pushing the "green stuff" away. Strong winds and currents do this. You are lucky to have pond this size. It might be possible to set your aeration system up so that most of your topwater problem is "pushed" to one area. That would make things easier to control via carp, tilapia, or chemicals.

If your nutrient levels are already high enough (no fertilization needed), the answer MAY be as simple as adding some more carp and or tilapia (per state regulations), moving over your aerator slightly, and adding pond dye ONLY when things start getting dense (mid-summer). You want to keep a good plankton level in your 18-24 inch water column, but anything thicker than that can cause adverse reactions in late summer. As the plankton gets extremely dense it will consume oxygen during the night (die off) possibly resulting in a fish kill (or at the very least fish stress).

All back to goals and management!


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#38538 03/02/06 08:40 PM
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How does the time of the year/temperature affect the total alkalinity in a pond? Studies I have read say that alkalinity is higher in the summer. What should the range be in summer as oppose to winter?

#38539 03/02/06 09:49 PM
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bkirik :

Welcome to the PB forum. Below is the best link I have found on the interactions of ph , alka. , lime etc on water quality. With less growth/activity in the pond during winter you will get less of a daily swing in ph. Alka. does not change quickly like daily ph swings. In our ponds alka. is effected more in winter as a result of large rain events which are more acid than the pond water ( pond flushing).


http://srac.tamu.edu/tmppdfs/7107322-464fs.pdf

















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