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#77510 10/19/06 07:49 AM
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We have a new small pond and wish to stock it with probably catfish, bluegill, and a few bass.
It is 40 feet in diameter and 9 feet deep. I am trying to calculate the volume to decide how many of each species to safely stock without over crowding it.
Any help?

#77511 10/19/06 09:19 AM
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Oh boy, Math!

IF it is a perfect circle with a 40 ft diameter, the surface area would be

A=pi * R * R, with R= 1/2 D = 20 ft, which works out to about 1257 sq. ft.

An acre is (this is how I remember it; there is of course a large exact number of sq. ft. but it's easier for me to remember it's almost exactly...) a perfect square 209 ft on a side, or about 43,680 sq. ft.

Therefore IF you have a circular pond, it's area is about 1257/43,680 = 0.029 acre.

Proviso: The farther the pond is from being a perfect circle, the more "off" this estimate will be. For example, if it were a square 40 feet on a side, the area would be D * D = 1600 sq. ft. If it were an ellipse with a major (long) diameter of 40 feet and a minor (short) diameter of 30 feet, IIRC the area would be about pi * R1 * R2 = pi * 20ft * 15 ft = 942 sq. ft.

Many times we base stocking numbers on area alone, assuming depth is sufficient (and your 9 feet max depth sounds good to me), although that is usually with larger ponds; in your case considering the volume may be quite prudent.

Volume will be the area times the AVERAGE depth (less than 9 feet), which you will have to estimate based on how steep the sides drop off to 9 feet from the edges. This will get you the estimated volume in either cubic feet or acre-feet, and from that point someone else will have to help convert to gallons if that is what you want your answer in.


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#77512 10/19/06 10:10 AM
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allenjanan - Do a little homework before stocking. In a pond this small, you have to rethink the outcome and repercussions of having fish constantly reproducing in a very small pond. Can be good or can be disadvantagous. Examine and explore your goals for the pond.
Other members can provide some alternative goals. The pondowners that I encounter often want it all - not realistically possible.

In this small pond you will not be able to raise a lot of POUNDS of fish unless you utilize some intense aquaculture techniques and closely monitor the water quality. Natural production will range from about 6lbs produced by natural foods to more maybe 30-40 lbs with fertilization and artificial feeding -mgmt. Large numbers of larger sized fish (near or more than 1 lb) in a small area produce a lot of waste that has to be naturally or artifically processed to detoxify it and the living system. Large numbers of fish usually result in lower water quality (often less clarity). More fish can be done, it just takes more effort and management. If you use predator fish they need to have enough food for living healthy. Even bluegill type can get skinny bodies with low food reserves. Be prepared to deal with all these issues.

What are your goals - lots of possibilities based on goals. 1. Are your goals just to have some fish to watch and see? 2. Do you want to fish & to catch the fish?. 3. Eat them or just catch & release? 4. Is it important that they reproduce or can you, or are you willing to periodially replace a few non-reproducing fish when others are removed or die? 5 Low management or high management? 6. Feed the fish or let them survive on the pond's resources which will be few in only 0.029 ac.

Catfish DO NOT clean the bottom so do not stock them for that reason. Catfish feed near the bottom on mostly living, weak or fresh dead items. They do not eat accumulated bottom materials.


In a pond similar to yours consider utilizing non-reproducing (HSB), primary fish as single sex predators and-or panfish combined with some reproducing, small forage type species such as minnows-shiners, maybe tilapia.

Since you are in TX, an unorthodox stocking plan would involve letting the pond lay fallow during the warm seasons and then each late fall stock adult trout for fast and furious fall-winter-early spring angling action.

A pond similar to yours lends itself to growing some huge male bluegills as described in three 2006 articles in Pond Boss Magazine by Cody, Condello, & Baird. (BEHEMOTH BLUEGILLS IN SMALL PONDS; GROWING BEHEMOTH MALE BLUEGILLS Part II; THE ART OF MANAGING BEHEMOTH MALE BLUEGILLS). Some discussion on this topic is available in old threads here.

Back to my original comment - rethink and research the goals that are feasable and practical. Ask some more questions and seek some advice here and your small pond will hopefully be all it is CAPABLE of being.


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#77513 10/19/06 10:47 AM
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Thanks for your help - we want to catch and release in the early stages then catch and have a catfish fry in the later stages. We plan to feed the fish and let the pond develop its own ecosystem in time. I am told that a few mud cat will bottom feed and help ensure that the pond is sealed. Our pond is predominately clay but I added 3500 pounds of bentonite and tilled it in before we filled it. We also have a fountain to aerate and have it on a daily timer.
This is all so new and we don't want to over do anything. We would probably harvest catfish more than other fish but want the grandkids to enjoy catching bluegill or bass just for the thrill.

Thanks again

#77514 10/19/06 01:44 PM
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Be leary, be very leary of believing that catfish will bottom feed and ensure the pond is sealed. I would be suspect of anything that person tells you in the past and future. Bentonite will work well to seal the pond ESPECIALLY if the bottom was compacted after the bentonite was worked into the pond basin.

This pond could with proper mgmt produce quite a few catfish with regular pellet feedings, possibly up to 50-60 lbs which equates to 2000lb/ac.

The average size of bluegill in this real small pond will be much greater if you use the male only technique. A few LMB could help control any catfish reproduction which could cause overpopulation, over crowding water quality issues and slow growth even with pellet feeding. Even if you do not provide catfish spawning habitat such as cylindrical containers, this does not mean the the catfish will not "create" a small cave or den in the side of the pond bank for spawning purposes. Initially a few predators such as LMB (4-8) could help control any offspring catfish.


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#77515 10/20/06 09:33 AM
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Thanks for the advise. What is LMB? One fish supplier recommended 100 catfish, 100 blue gill and 10-15 bass for starters. I felt that 100 cat would be too much while he said the bass would feed on the blue gill and keep them sparse.

#77516 10/20/06 09:48 AM
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LMB = Large Mouth Bass


Chris

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