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What a great thread!

I'll chime in as well. First off, I started consulting/working/learning with Purina Mills as an advisor and field test guy in 1995. Back then, all they really had was 32% Catfish Chow. We sent a letter to Purina, asking them to advertise in Pond Boss back then, and received a phone call from one of their top guys back then. They wanted to meet. "Yes, we want to advertise in Pond Boss, but we'd also like to meet with you. We see the pond management business as a growing industry and would like to help design products specifically for that niche. We met, (I'll save the entertaining part of this story for an article in the magazine, or around the campfire one of these days) and spent a couple of days in the field, looking at lakes and some of the fish I'd been growing for clients. From that meeting, Game Fish Chow was spawned. It became one of their staple sales throughout the nation. Still is. It's a grain-based fish food. I started using it with quite a few clients. Bluegills ate it, grew well, or so I thought. From 1995 until around 2005, I saw lots and lots of 1 lb bluegills, with the best ones pushing to 1.25 pounds. I did this with trophy bass lakes, bass-crowded lakes, big ponds, little ponds. Results were consistent. The biggest bluegills hit a pound to pound and a quarter.

In 2005, started working with Dr. Mark Griffin, who I'd known for a few years. He was ready to ramp up the AquaMax line of products and make them more nutritionally complete. That was also the time I started working with Richmond Mill Lake. I knew that lake would get zero help from any natural food chain, so we made the conscious decision to make the fish dependent of fish food. Some of what we saw was expected. Some wasn't.

In that lake, after it was drained, renovated, and restocked, we faithfully fed the fish AquaMax, under Mark's and my guidance. Mark made several trips there where we'd sample fish and analyze them. I also had several other ponds and lakes under management, as did several other guys Mark trusted, where he'd analyze fish as he refined the diet. Over several years, Mark would refine the diet, tweaking the amount of fish meal, adjusting the vitamin package, fine-tuning the ingredients to best match the metabolic needs of bluegills and feed-trained bass.

In Year 3 of Richmond Mill Lake, owner Jim Morgan texted me a picture of a two-pound bluegill. I don't think he realized how big of a deal that was. It didn't take long for him to recognize it. Over the next decade of my involvement there, that lake cranked out literally hundreds of two-pound-plus bluegills. Then, we started seeing some knocking on the door of three pounds. By Year 6, Bruce Condello had caught two over three pounds. I have a photo of one on certified scales that was 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Several of the guides at that lake also caught several bigger than 3.

As all this was happening, I encouraged several other clients, and many, many others that weren't clients, to use AquaMax products. I can't tell you how many bluegills I've seen well beyond two pounds

There is no doubt in my mind those fish grew so large because of that fish food. No doubt.

To further the direction of this thread, I also used AquaMax products in my personal ponds. Two of those ponds were 1/10 acre hatchery ponds. Most of the moderators have seen/been in those ponds. Over a span of 6 straight years, I confirmed conversion rates of 1.3 pounds of fish food per pound of gain. Sure, there was natural food there, but at the end of each season, we'd harvest, weigh, and count all the fish, all size classes, and I'd sell most of them to stock new ponds for clients. Each year, the yield was a little different regarding head count (recruitment wasn't totally predictable), but the feed conversion rate was.

With 42 years of pond management, feeding fish, dealing with aquatic plants, water quality, water chemistry, and seeing the results, I have zero doubt the higher protein feeds are much, much better, much more digestible, cranking out less waste than any of the the grain-based fish foods. Further, from the higher protein, fish-meal based fish feeds, I've see interesting upticks in aquatic insects and periphtyon. Dragonfly, damselflies, and other aquatic insects seem to indirectly benefit from well-fed lakes.

Yes, there are other variables such as fish population dynamics, but this thread is about feeding fish and quality of fish food.

As Forrest Gump may have said, "That's about all I have to say about that".

Have a great weekend.


Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...
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Late to reply as I had to create a shortcut to convert photos from iPad . Here are some of my pond fish on 32% catfish. I know aquamax is better and may feed some in future but you can grow some pretty nice fish even on 32%.

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Good looking fish Doc.


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.

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Great fish Dogdoc. Nice color on this male BG.

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Last edited by jpsdad; 05/10/22 08:54 PM.

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That very nice bluegill in my experience would have been a bigger fish(BG) if using higher protein food. No easy, simple convenient way to measure the excess food / manure waste and excess plant growing nutrients when using original 32% protein vs higher 40%+ protein feed. Not enough good practical research has been published on this topic.

My associate at a high quality indoor fish growing facility operated with pure oxygen says he sees less fish manure, measurably better water quality, healthier fish, fewer fish deaths, and better resulting fish growth when using the best quality fish food that he can find. End cost for him in the end is better with better quality feed. Over the last few years he has used various fish food brands in his indoor facility. The current brand he uses is 48%protein 18% fat as his larger finish size pellet and this produces the best results from numerous comparisons and "out the door profit and results". This food brand can produce 14" walleye at one year old. No doubt in my mind that BG in the above picture could have been grown with best methods in just 2.5 years or less with better high quality food. In the end it is all about ones GOALS for the fishery.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 05/11/22 10:09 AM.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
.... No easy, simple convenient way to measure the excess food / manure waste and excess plant growing nutrients when using original 32% protein vs higher 40%+ protein feed...


It is easy to calculate. BG are 80.5% water what remains is proportioned nutrient properties. Analyses I have read put protein% of the dry weight around 72% and phosphorus between 2.5% and 3%. So if you know how much it grew you can make an estimate of what dry weight of the gain is protein and what is phosphorus.

If the FCR of a 42% feed is 1.5 then 1.5 lbs of feed gains 1 lb of wet BG of which .195 lbs is the dry matter of the fish. The rest is water. If 72% of the .195 lbs is protein then .1404 lbs of the BG's 1 lb gain is dry matter protein. To gain this .1404 lbs of dry matter protein ... the BG ate 1.5 *.42 = .63 lbs of dry matter protein. So the BG eats 4.5 times the weight of protein that it gains. All the rest is waste. The protein assimilation efficiency at 1.5 FCR is roughly 22.2% the consumption. If the FCR of a 42% feed is 1.8 it is only 18.6% efficient. To really understand the efficiency on that first pass .. one must clear wastes and not allow them to generate food or be consumed again, only then will the direct single pass FCR be understood. I recall Kenny sharing that in clean water tanks with water exchange his best FCR with YP was around 2.2. But YP may be more dry matter dense than BG so that conversion factor could be better than just the number might otherwise suggest.

We can do a similar estimate of the assimilation of phosphorus. The .195 lbs of BG dry matter gain will contain 3% phosphorus or .00585 lbs and the BG will consume 1.5 *.01 = .015 lbs of phosphorus in a 1% phosphorus feed. So assimilation efficiency is around 33% for a feed that converts at 1.5 to 1 and is 1% phosphorus.

So the point is we don't have catch and measure the pooh in order to understand how much waste there is. We only need to know what goes in the fish... and to know what stays in the fish ... to understand what exits the fish.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/11/22 08:28 PM.

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You could tell a Nobel Prize winning nuclear physicist how to make cold fusion work.


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Originally Posted by Theo Gallus
You could tell a Nobel Prize winning nuclear physicist how to make cold fusion work.

Maybe pond owners should stick to fission. whistle

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This isn't nuclear physics at all Theo. It's materials balance, what is taught in Jr High science classes across the country. Here are some examples

Water in Pipe = leaks + water at exit

Equity = Assets - liabilities

Food Eaten = Food assimilated + Food waste products

which is equivalent to:

Food waste products = Food Eaten - Food assimilated

No practical means to know how much is wasted and how it affects the nutrient pool? Rather than this response I would expect something more along the lines of "Hey I never thought of it that way" or "Ahh yes, we can know how much waste there is".


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I marvel at what it must be like in your brain JPs-dad. Everything in smooth categories, lots of neat folders, each with a few pages in each, wide aisles and straight hallways. Every equation with only 2 or 3 variables. Everything is as easy now as it was in junior high. I'm not being facetious, truly there are people like that and I envy them. I work with some people like that where they excel in committee meetings as it is so simple/clearcut in their mind that the answer comes immediately and without hesitation.

In my mind it seems that every decision has at least 10 immediate variables to consider and then as soon as I try to consider those there are 10 more and then I start down this path and there are so many branches off that branch that I hardly dare continue. Usually I find so many ways to look at the issue that I realize a solution is not possible but a 'scenario' to try out next is about the best I can come up with.

I love your posts, just often get lost. Maybe that is what Theo feels like too.

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canyon,

I see a statement like "No easy, simple convenient way to measure the excess food / manure waste and excess plant growing nutrients when using original 32% protein vs higher 40%+ protein feed."

and if didn't know any better I would think, "Oh OK". It's coming from an authority.

Bill's a PhD and I very much respect that.

Even so, it doesn't mean he isn't overlooking practical and effective method that would produce just as valid a determination. I think, or at least I hope, Bill will respond with affirmation. I would like to think he would want to know and possibly apply such a method. I offered it in hopes he would reconsider his position on it. There is too much sensitivity over things I contribute that is in disagreement. There is also to much misconstruing or misinterpreting what I say. I am not trying to say to folks they should feed the catfish feed to BG. Not true. No one should take that away. I consider the question of which is most efficient on equal cost or equal protein to be open. It depends on evidence that extra carbon in the lower protein feed assists nutrient recycling of the wastes allowing more of the equal quantities protein to be metabolized (ultimately). Even so, greater efficiency on the first pass may still keep a higher protein feed ahead.

I think its great that Dogdoc1 showed up to demonstrate that catfish feed isn't going to stunt anyone's fish like the one in esshup's photo. Glad Dogdoc1's photo is out there. But I can't say whether that BG even ate the feed, maybe Dogdoc1 could, but like me Bill can't either. Not every BG gets feed unless one is feeding a substantial amount of it. What I noticed in the pic (beyond the great BG) was that he has rich water and so even if the 32% isn't converting as efficiently ... the secondary effect of his feeding is plainly visible in the picture as a vibrant bloom. For all we know, that BG grew that big on the food chain in his water. Bill may be right that it could have been bigger if he had fed the higher protein feed but on an equal Nitrogen basis (something that is proportional to protein %) he should pause and in bold letters state it needs additional research. Which is all I have been trying to say.

Anyways, I mentioned if I didn't know better ... but the facts are that I haven't always known. Just a year or so ago I bought the arguments that harvest was a viable means of removing feed nutrients hook line and sinker. After all, there are nutrients in fish and one is taking them out. But after careful study on the matter, I changed my mind in the light of evidence and principles of conservation which cannot be invalidated. So the question I might pose to you, Theo, Bill, and everyone else. Are you offended that I learned this? Or can you also change as did I by learning with me and being content with what was learned?


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"I love your posts, just often get lost. Maybe that is what Theo feels like too."


Always a tough call to know what someone is thinking....


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."

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I think there are certain figures that we can use in these equations that lead to somewhat accurate expectations.
There are also factors in the water body that will affect growth-differently-in every pond/lake environment.
To assume it is an exact number that will be repeatable is where we have problems and make bad assumptions. Science only goes so far and there are and always will be "things" happening in an aquatic environment that we may never understand completely.
Every spring during WAE egg-take we have 10-12 guys in the same cabin every night and most are high level biologists and I get to be the sponge, soaking up everything I can in the conversations and sometimes it gets really deep. The conclusions to most of the conversations lead back to the same place nearly every time... there are things we will never know for sure and Bill's suggestion of more studying and research being needed is in my opinion, spot-on.

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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
I marvel at what it must be like in your brain JPs-dad. Everything in smooth categories, lots of neat folders, each with a few pages in each, wide aisles and straight hallways. Every equation with only 2 or 3 variables. Everything is as easy now as it was in junior high. I'm not being facetious, truly there are people like that and I envy them. I work with some people like that where they excel in committee meetings as it is so simple/clearcut in their mind that the answer comes immediately and without hesitation.

In my mind it seems that every decision has at least 10 immediate variables to consider and then as soon as I try to consider those there are 10 more and then I start down this path and there are so many branches off that branch that I hardly dare continue. Usually I find so many ways to look at the issue that I realize a solution is not possible but a 'scenario' to try out next is about the best I can come up with.

I love your posts, just often get lost. Maybe that is what Theo feels like too.

There are no solutions, only tradeoffs. That's why I like observational evidence to verify theories & models of complex phenomena.

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Maybe it just depends upon one's level of involvement. Sometimes, good enough is just that..... good enough.

"Do regular BG have the ultimate potential to outgrow HBG?" ...... Yep. Will that matter in the majority of 1/2 acre backyard ponds under minimal management? No? Maybe?

"Will stainless screws last longer in my dock than regular screws?"...... Yep. Are you building the dock for you, to enjoy during your lifetime, or is it to be a monument for the ages, marveled at by curious visitors 300 years from now?

"Is feeding higher quality, more expensive fish food better for my fish and my pond?"...... most likely. Is growing quantities of BG to one pound plus on cheaper feed with minimal expenditure acceptable? Yes? Maybe?


"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.
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Risk assessment plays a role here as well. A highly fertile pond may be at greater risk of a fish kill with lower quality feed. To be fair, even high quality feed might increase this risk somewhat due to larger numbers of fish, assuming that harvest is too low.

While some things seem pretty clear, there's no getting around It Depends!


7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS RBT -234, 2023 BG TP TFS NLMB, -160




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Originally Posted by anthropic
There are no solutions, only tradeoffs. That's why I like observational evidence to verify theories & models of complex phenomena.

Where you are wrong Frank is that there is no verification of theories ... only falsification. No such thing as evidence of or proof of theoretical ideas. Matter conservation is theoretical principal that has never been falsified yet never proven.

The advantage to the approach that I offered for quantifying the wastes as a practical method of budgeting and tracking nutrient addition is that it relies on more reliable evidence. The evidence of dry matter gain which is much better metric that is more easily measured than waste. Aside from the obvious problems of collecting pooh ... a fair percentage of the waste is in molecular form. For example, some of the protein fuels the process of assimilation and upon extracting the energy the byproducts of CO2 and ammonia are released in molecular form. These are in solution and would have to be measured independently and are not in the pooh at all. In daylight, the CO2 is rapidly scavenged but the ammonia can persist. Anyways, relying on the metric (EVIDENCE) of FCR and the nutrients proportions most commonly EVIDENT for a species is a very practical estimate with acceptable uncertainty. That there is uncertainty is immaterial as an argument against a solution or method. My example suggests a range of 18% to 22% assimilation. Anyone who would argue for example that this uncertainty invalidates the range of expectations is just obstructing an appropriate application of EVIDENCE. Anyone who might suggest the lack of measurement in the estimate claiming, for example, that the assimilation could be 35, 50, or 70% for all we know .... Well that individual is a crank of the highest order with absolutely no respect for evidence or the principle of material conservation. The method makes a practical estimate that would be useful for anyone budgeting/tracking nutrients.

In the application of scientific principles, we often take metrics that are established from prior conducted experiments and apply theoretical models to solve practical problems. The reason this is acceptable ... is because we don't know of evidence falsifying the theory but have found evidence to be consistent with it with acceptable uncertainty. Where it comes to nutrient budgets, these have been practiced in planted crops for a long time where the objective is to maintain soil fertility and crop production. But the crop is the primary production and that is all we are trying to grow. Its an annual thing. A pond hosting an biome year after year serving as sink of nutrients is much more complex and in most cases doesn't need nutrient addition to replace what is harvested. Particularly Nitrogen, which in most areas of the eastern US deposits at 10 to 15 lbs per acre per year just from precipitation. This is enough nitrogen to supply the nitrogen proportion of 312 lbs of BG. This contribution is small relative to nitrogen that is fixed by bacteria and so we don't need any help from feed when it comes to nutrient accumulation, it will happen anyway.

Also BTW, there is evidence that addition of carbon reduces ammonia and improves FCR ... this is documented. You should read up on it.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/13/22 04:01 PM.

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Originally Posted by jpsdad
This isn't nuclear physics at all Theo.
If it was, you'd still have all the 1000 word answers for the experts.


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Originally Posted by Theo Gallus
Originally Posted by jpsdad
This isn't nuclear physics at all Theo.
If it was, you'd still have all the 1000 word answers for the experts.
Not so, completely false.

The truth is that if I have a few words of truth that contradict your thoughts I can always count on few words of insult from you. Right?


It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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Originally Posted by jpsdad
Originally Posted by anthropic
There are no solutions, only tradeoffs. That's why I like observational evidence to verify theories & models of complex phenomena.

Where you are wrong Frank is that there is no verification of theories ... only falsification. No such thing as evidence of or proof of theoretical ideas.

There is no one standard demarcation of sufficient warrant for a scientific theory, jpsdad. While I agree that Popper's falsification criterion is attractive (indeed, I used to teach it in economics class), not every theory or idea can be falsified, even in principle. The fashionable theory of a multiverse is one good example. Causes of past events, like the end of the dinosaurs or the Cambrian Explosion of new body plans, are another.

My dad taught me that not all authorities had genuine expertise, so it was best to check their claims against the observational evidence. Indeed, certain kinds of errors tend to repeat, even among experts. That skeptical philosophy has served me well.

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And then there's poor old fixed income retiree me. My big pond fluctuates between 8-11 acres, and I just put out my second bag of high quality fish food this year.

Growing large BG can be as easy as turning a feeding event into survival of the fittest. The aggressive BG will grow at an accelerated pace, and the timid ones will not. Daily observation shows me large numbers of approximately 6-8" BG retreating from the chaos. I never have seen a 10-12" BG miss a meal.

Not advice, just my observation.


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Now that's interesting, Al. I don't tend to see CNBG feeding correlate all that much with size at my place. What I do notice is that they sometimes wait a bit to see if another fish gets away with feeding on the surface. When one does, others are more willing to do the same.


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Quote
I see a statement like "No easy, simple convenient way to measure the excess food / manure waste and excess plant growing nutrients when using original 32% protein vs higher 40%+ protein feed."

and if didn't know any better I would think, "Oh OK". It's coming from an authority.

In defending my comment, it had an emphasis on "No easy, simple convenient way to measure..."" although surely this has been done in an academic setting. Achieving a detailed fish food comparison analysis requires in-depth and detailed scientific method. Jpsdad solves the method or problem in theoretical and academic terms. I doubt that he has actually participated in the actual feeding study since he did not reference his journal published information. But for the general pond owner the food comparison quandary has to be basically a visual, and simple basic method such as esshup's pellet study of a few brands of fish food.

PS - there is no dissertation behind or supporting my academic degree.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 05/13/22 03:43 PM.

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Originally Posted by anthropic
.... While I agree that Popper's falsification criterion is attractive (indeed, I used to teach it in economics class), not every theory or idea can be falsified, even in principle. .

Yeah. I don't call that science. That's metaphysics. A theory must be expressible in the language of mathematics and it must predict the outcomes of experiments that if not in agreement would falsify it.

Quote
... it (is) best to check their claims against the observational record.

Can't find any fault there, that is exactly what I did.


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Bill, I am glad you responded. No need to defend your position. Measuring wastes is problematic because of all forms waste takes. Measuring the FCR and %dry weight is far less problematic. I see I didn't win you over to the idea that its a good approach to understanding waste contributions from feeding and feed conversion efficiency. Meanwhile you may dwell on it and perhaps you will warm up to the idea after further contemplation.


It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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Braggin Time
by esshup - 04/16/24 10:05 PM
Stocking Scuds and Shrimp
by Rangersedge - 04/16/24 09:03 PM
Chestnut other trees for wildlife
by Rangersedge - 04/16/24 08:22 PM
'Nother New Guy
by jludwig - 04/16/24 07:14 PM
What did you do at your pond today?
by FishinRod - 04/16/24 01:49 PM
Golden Shiners - What size to stock?
by Theeck - 04/16/24 09:49 AM
instant email notifications of post replies ?
by Augie - 04/16/24 09:31 AM
Compaction Question
by teehjaeh57 - 04/15/24 11:54 PM
Newly Uploaded Images
Eagles Over The Pond Yesterday
Eagles Over The Pond Yesterday
by Tbar, December 10
Deer at Theo's 2023
Deer at Theo's 2023
by Theo Gallus, November 13
Minnow identification
Minnow identification
by Mike Troyer, October 6
Sharing the Food
Sharing the Food
by FishinRod, September 9
Nice BGxRES
Nice BGxRES
by Theo Gallus, July 28
Snake Identification
Snake Identification
by Rangersedge, July 12

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