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#531947 03/12/21 03:18 PM
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I know this has been attempted by a few individuals but I'm going to run a controlled experiment of my own on feeding BG.
I have 2 6X6X10' 1/2" mesh floating cage pens I'm going to use to try and determine 2 different goals.
#1, How well do BG accept "X" and "Y" Feed when training.
#2, What is the growth rate attained on each.
The standard will be 50 northern BG in each cage, 100 fish weighed and split by weight then counted. I will sort any fish out that are smaller in average and add average size additional so all fish are started as close to equal as possible.
Feed of choice is Aquamax 500, 3/16" at 41% protein, 12% Lipid. Optimal BG at 3/16" 40% protein, 10% lipid content.
3'X6' will be used for competition force training for 2 weeks. Day 15 I will remove the baffle and continue to feed the exact same amount of each product by weight per day.
I would like to try the MVP but the numbers on Protein and lipid are far enough apart I feel that would not be apples to apples.
Mortality will be recorded as well as observations of feeding habits.
The final results will be weights total and average of 25 individual fish, followed by WR average of remaining fish.
I realize this will be somewhat inconclusive in the fact that I'm not addressing liver function, but I want to see side by side what shows up.
This will begin about the 3rd week in April until sept 10th.
It's a long ways away but I plan to set up the same feed test for SMB next spring.
Once I start I will be adding pics to this thread.

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Snipe, thanks for posting your experiment.

I am sure the Pond Boss professionals understand your project design, but (if possible) can you expand on a few points during the course of your experiment, so the rest of us can follow along?

As regards question #1, does the term "accept" mean some fish will elect to eat the pellets and some will not?

Or some will "accept" on Day 1 and some will "accept" on Day 10? In that case, it could be possible that Feed X resulted in more weight gain for the fish that were early adopters (relative to Feed Y), but that the distribution of "time to acceptance" was skewed much earlier for Feed Y - therefore it is the "better" feed for overall BG weight gain. (Is that part of the hypothesis that you are testing?)

Will you also have some type of control group that is the same starting size and age distribution in a grow-out pond with only those BG plus forage? (I assume there is no way to have a control group in the floating cage pens that can still have a proxy of a "natural" diet?)

I also don't get your reference to "not addressing liver function", but that is due to my low level of personal knowledge. If it is important to understand, can you clarify for us Noobs?

Good luck on your project. It sounds like it should be a Pond Boss hot topic!

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I look forward to it and wish I had time for these endeavors! Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you Snipe.

Originally Posted by FishinRod
...Or some will "accept" on Day 1 and some will "accept" on Day 10? In that case, it could be possible that Feed X resulted in more weight gain for the fish that were early adopters (relative to Feed Y), but that the distribution of "time to acceptance" was skewed much earlier for Feed Y - therefore it is the "better" feed for overall BG weight gain. (Is that part of the hypothesis that you are testing?)

Good Question Rod. I guess the initial attractiveness of the food would play into the weight gain especially if it were far enough apart between the two. I would be curious to know how they compare once acceptance is achieved. Maybe the initial acceptance results will direct the experiment's path.


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I am just trying to figure out the exact "truths" that Snipe's diabolical experiments are designed to reveal.

Otherwise, I have no chance of following the advanced Biology course!

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EXCELLENT pellet feeding experimental plans; one for bluegill and one next year for smallmouth bass. I and many others appreciate the time and work involved. I eagerly look forward the the results. Thanks a lot for sharing the information. We here on the forum need a lot more applied research studies like this one. The results and a few pictures will make a very good well read article for Pond Boss magazine.

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Hi Snipe! Did you buy those pens? If so, link please?

If not what matierial did you make it with? Link please


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


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All of my Net pens are built by Duluth. They have prebuilt or will do custom any size you want. They aren't cheap but such is the case with anything high quality.
https://duluthfishnets.com/store/assorted-nets/small-mesh-net-pens/
I add the zippered lid which doubles the price but well worth fish not jumping out or IN.

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Originally Posted by Snipe
All of my Net pens are built by Duluth. They have prebuilt or will do custom any size you want. They aren't cheap but such is the case with anything high quality.
https://duluthfishnets.com/store/assorted-nets/small-mesh-net-pens/
I add the zippered lid which doubles the price but well worth fish not jumping out or IN.


AND keeping GBH predation to a minimum.

You got the holding pens already??


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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You got the holding pens already??

Yes.. I have about 6 of the 6X6X10's and 2 of the shallower that are only 4' deep. I've bought misc sizes of smaller one's over the years and use net coating on them. They hold up very well to abuse. But I learned quickly they really need the lid. The zipper addition is great when you lift and extract anything, no cutting ties and replacing. Very happy with them.

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Originally Posted by Snipe
Yes.. I have about 6 of the 6X6X10's and 2 of the shallower that are only 4' deep. I've bought misc sizes of smaller one's over the years and use net coating on them. They hold up very well to abuse. But I learned quickly they really need the lid. The zipper addition is great when you lift and extract anything, no cutting ties and replacing. Very happy with them.

I had one made several years ago, love it, and it's easy to store when not in use.

I went in a slightly different direction, and doubled the PVC to keep fish from jumping out. It floats on the bottom rail, and has about a 10" barrier above the water line. I have a lid, but rarely use it unless otters show up.

EDIT: I use clips to hold the net on, and that allows me to adjust the depth as needed.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Snipe, thanks for posting your experiment.

I am sure the Pond Boss professionals understand your project design, but (if possible) can you expand on a few points during the course of your experiment, so the rest of us can follow along?

As regards question #1, does the term "accept" mean some fish will elect to eat the pellets and some will not?

Or some will "accept" on Day 1 and some will "accept" on Day 10? In that case, it could be possible that Feed X resulted in more weight gain for the fish that were early adopters (relative to Feed Y), but that the distribution of "time to acceptance" was skewed much earlier for Feed Y - therefore it is the "better" feed for overall BG weight gain. (Is that part of the hypothesis that you are testing?)

Will you also have some type of control group that is the same starting size and age distribution in a grow-out pond with only those BG plus forage? (I assume there is no way to have a control group in the floating cage pens that can still have a proxy of a "natural" diet?)

I also don't get your reference to "not addressing liver function", but that is due to my low level of personal knowledge. If it is important to understand, can you clarify for us Noobs?

Good luck on your project. It sounds like it should be a Pond Boss hot topic!

Rod, the liver function question relates to the effects of various types of feed on the liver. Some feeds grow the fish nicely, but also lead to a fatty liver that shortens life expectancy. Optimal says their fish food doesn't do this, so the BG will live an extra year or two & get even bigger.

Last edited by anthropic; 03/13/21 04:46 PM.

8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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anthropic, thanks for the clarification.

"Rod, the liver function question relates to the effects of various types of feed on the liver. Some feeds grow the fish nicely, but also lead to a fatty liver that shortens life expectancy. Optimal says their fish food doesn't do this, so the BG will live an extra year or two & get even bigger."

So you're saying that pate de foie gras of bluegill is not recommended!

I knew I was missing a simple caveat on fish feeding, but I am not yet up to that planning stage for my ponds.

P.S. I really appreciate the dedication of so many posters on Pond Boss to insert additional comments and clarifications in the threads that allow people at all levels of "pond knowledge" to follow the conversation.

Thanks,
Rod

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Not ignoring you here Rod.. I think at the end of the experiment, the resulting data will provide some answers in several areas, and at that time discussions can begin on what we see.
With this thread, I'm just laying out the plan and how i intend to proceed. Food is ordered, fish are in place at another holding facility and I have 500 3-5" BG to sort through to select 100 of the median size for this so I'm not starting with genetically fast-or-slow growers.
When I have them sorted and everything is in place, I will document with pictures and data to explain what I'm doing, and yes, my goal is to provide something everyone can understand but what I'm personally looking for might be a bit more pointed at a few very specific items that at this time it would not be beneficial for me to comment on prematurely.

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Update:
I said I was going to be completely transparent on this test so that's what I'm going to be.. :-))
April 20 I contacted my local Purina rep and ask him to order the feed I needed, 2 bags of MVP for my own pond use and 2 bags of AquaSport 500 for my trial experiment.
On April 29th I contacted Optimal about BG feed for the trial. A discussion was had that questioned the comparison of multi-sized particles and whether that would be apples to apples or not.
11 Days later I received custom sized Optimal BG in perfect round, 3/16" pellets-at my door step.
I have 135 BG that were hand selected and measured at a minimum of 5.25" and a max of 5.5" in a holding pen that I'm currently feeding a mix of 2 brands of pellets, neither optimal or purina. I have a separate pen setup with a divider in which 40 of the closest fish in length and weight will be placed into each side.
The problem I have here is I'm still waiting on the Purina feed exactly 30 days later-not sugar coating any part of this.
Phase 1 is complete in my mind....

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Quote
On April 29th I contacted Optimal about BG feed for the trial. A discussion was had that questioned the comparison of multi-sized particles and whether that would be apples to apples or not.

11 Days later I received custom sized Optimal BG in perfect round, 3/16" pellets-at my door step.

I like the idea of larger pellets. The only problem I see is that the experiment may not actually be transparent. One vendor seems to have been given a heads up about the trial while the other has not.


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Originally Posted by Snipe
Update:
I said I was going to be completely transparent on this test so that's what I'm going to be.. :-))
April 20 I contacted my local Purina rep and ask him to order the feed I needed, 2 bags of MVP for my own pond use and 2 bags of AquaSport 500 for my trial experiment.
On April 29th I contacted Optimal about BG feed for the trial. A discussion was had that questioned the comparison of multi-sized particles and whether that would be apples to apples or not.
11 Days later I received custom sized Optimal BG in perfect round, 3/16" pellets-at my door step.
I have 135 BG that were hand selected and measured at a minimum of 5.25" and a max of 5.5" in a holding pen that I'm currently feeding a mix of 2 brands of pellets, neither optimal or purina. I have a separate pen setup with a divider in which 40 of the closest fish in length and weight will be placed into each side.
The problem I have here is I'm still waiting on the Purina feed exactly 30 days later-not sugar coating any part of this.
Phase 1 is complete in my mind....

I find that Aquamax MVP is readily available, but other Purina feeds often are not. Sometimes they can be ordered, but take weeks to arrive. This has been less an issue with Optimal fish food, even though it is made much farther away from me.


8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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Originally Posted by jpsdad
Quote
On April 29th I contacted Optimal about BG feed for the trial. A discussion was had that questioned the comparison of multi-sized particles and whether that would be apples to apples or not.

11 Days later I received custom sized Optimal BG in perfect round, 3/16" pellets-at my door step.

I like the idea of larger pellets. The only problem I see is that the experiment may not actually be transparent. One vendor seems to have been given a heads up about the trial while the other has not.
That's not true, I talked with a Purina Rep in March about this. I followed his instructions.
Part of the trial is getting the food. If an individual orders feed, what is the expected wait period for an everyday customer??

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OK so it wasn't the local feed store but a sales rep for Purina? Good then, it just wasn't clear to me.

You've received a direct custom order from Optimal ... so what are your thoughts on the people at Purina headquarters? They are not much interested in participating in a trial?

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/20/21 10:19 PM.

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I don't believe that to be the case. I think the logistics at Purina are multi-focused and it's possible something slipped through the cracks based on a text message I received since posting this.

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I am very interested in the results of the trial as are many of us Snipe. You've done very well to keep us informed and I appreciate your patience with my misunderstandings. I will mention that you are treading some deep water. It is not common in the scientific world to do comparisons of popular brands. This is probably in part due to support industry provides to science.

Were I one of the manufactures what would concern me most is the availability of my feed to the caged fish. For example, I wouldn't want any of my feed to sink through the cage and be uneaten. I would want my sample to float and be fully consumed.

I will mention a few other things.

Now I am interested in knowing whether there would be any difference in gains between the round pelleted Optimal and the standard shapes. Particularly whether shape might contribute to consumption. I am also interested in whether the round pellets may be available to public at large.

One of the things that improves FCR is the quantity of food consumed. One can easily imagine just feeding enough to maintain a weight of fish where there is an FCR of zero at no fault of the feed's potential for conversion. So the SGR (specific growth rate) provided by any feed is a function also of the feed consumed daily as a ratio of fish weight. Given that we normally only supplement feed to fish that are primarily feeding on pond organisms, it is important that weights fed to each treatment are identical. For someone growing fish commercially at densities dependent on feed, if fish will satiate after eating more of particular feed, that can result in more gain and better FCR due to greater specific consumption of feed which improves efficiency. For commercial production, this effect would be important but doesn't not affect the results of limited feeding provided that lack a palatability doesn't result in unconsumed feed. Fish that were prior fed one feed may find that feed more palatable but unless this prevents the feed (the feed not prior fed) from being eaten the specific consumption would still be same when equal weights of feed are fed.

Pellet sizes are important I think. Eric has mentioned research of an optimum ratio of gape to pellet affecting consumption of pellets. But as long as each feed is fully consumed then the relative difference in pellet size should not be a big factor. (How much energy does it take to catch and swallow a pellet?)

I'll mention that you also need a control. This would be a cage where an otherwise identical treatment fish are kept and not fed. A cage will provide structure that will attract shelter seeking pond organisms (eg BNM and FHM and other organisms). These will be food for the caged fish. To have a really good sense of the effect of feed, one needs to subtract the natural contributions of pond organisms. It may surprise you that unfed caged TP can grow remarkably to weights large enough to harvest. It requires rich water and some level of flow through but you get the idea. Good science requires adequate experimental control.

Placement of cages could have impacts on the supply of pond organisms. Two factors I think will impact this particularly. I think the prevailing wind will concentrate pond organisms on the downwind sides. Placement of the control between the other two cages might also compromise the controls results if there is not adequate space between the cages. There may be some unwanted effect of cage placement after you have made your best effort. It goes with the territory.

I will close by saying this. I would be more interested in the manufactures being transparent about the ingredients in the formulation than in whether one feed produces more gain than the other in this trial. I get the whole proprietary trade secrets thingy ... so wouldn't even ask .. however. Personally, I will not let the results influence my decisions about feed independently of other considerations. I think both are good feeds and will produce comparable gains provided the consumption is equal. I also value cost/benefit, convenience, service, friendliness, and other factors so these are also very important attributes that are also important to me.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/21/21 04:26 AM.

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Of the 135 fish held now, I went through a LOT of fish to get those at the size I wanted. The remaining 55 fish "are" the control fish.. 40 of those will be separated and put in a 3rd pen, a very large pen, to allow more natural volume access.

Also, Optimal BG is available to the public through another supplier in the std 3/16" size vs the varied length.

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Snipe - Have you reconnected with the sales rep about the delay in receiving the food? Also Bob Lusk is an influence with Purina. Let him know about the hold up in receiving the pellets. Strings should be pulled by someone associated with Purina. Some of the Purina reputation is at stake with this feeding trial. We will see if they really care about reputation and marketing influence. I will also send this thread to Lusk.


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Boys, I'm connecting big dogs with Purina with Kenny to solve this right away. I doubt it's a supply issue as much as a dealer issue, but we'll find out.


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As Snipe pointed out that's also part of the experiment. It makes it more real world type of trail. If getting the food delayed is what a normal customer has to deal they need to fix that part of it. Not having some inside source give them a heads up. Not trying to poke at ya at all. But I dont think you're going to call in favors for everyone.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
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Hard to draw any conclusion from 1 instance, for all we know, Purina ships faster than Optimal 99/100 times. I don't think that's the case, but just saying we really aren't getting useful data by waiting to see how long this one instance of delay lasts. If Bob can pull a few strings, let's get to the good stuff!

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