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#97008 09/13/07 07:32 AM
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Our DIL Janet spoils me, understands my fishing fervor, and has breakfast ready for me when I come from an early morning trek around our ponds she is a jewel.

But she doesnt like to fish, nor really fully understands my passion - until yesterday when she told me her favorite fish is TILAPIA.

No algae in her pond and just listen to the neighbors complaining about ALGAE..

When Todd delivered our tilapia in early spring, he said it was the worse case of algae he had ever seen.
I was ashamed for anyone to see it - all ponds in our area were badly algae infested so must have been a common problem.

10 lb/acre cleared it in 3+ weeks.
Janet loves tilapia





N.E. Texas 2 acre and 1/4 acre ponds
Original george #173 (22 June 2002)




george1 #97010 09/13/07 08:34 AM
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George,
I have had the same experience, as long as I stock a few more per acre, it seems. Or, if the ponds don't have predator fish in them, we can stock 5 pounds per acre and they reproduce quickly. My experience is 15 pounds per acre is enough to eat most of the algae fast. Then, as fall approaches, medium size tilapia become a gorge-fest for bass and the adults perish. Here at Lusk Lodge, Two, tilapia are becoming a mainstay, important fish.


Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...
Bob Lusk #97019 09/13/07 10:03 AM
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I have a question about tilapia,Are there any management problems with putting them in a bass bream pond.I talked to wildlife & fisheries people in Miss. and they did not want me to add them to my pond due to they said the bream were all the bass needed for feed.

moncreiff #97021 09/13/07 10:35 AM
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 Originally Posted By: moncreiff
I have a question about tilapia,Are there any management problems with putting them in a bass bream pond.I talked to wildlife & fisheries people in Miss. and they did not want me to add them to my pond due to they said the bream were all the bass needed for feed.


moncreiff, first of all, welcome to the PB forum.
There has been much tilapia information posted on the forum; an archive search would be most productive.

I don't believe there has been any management problems associated with tilapia that I am aware of, and I don't believe any of experienced tiapia folks would agree with wildlife & fisheries people in Miss. that said the bream were all the bass needed for feed.



N.E. Texas 2 acre and 1/4 acre ponds
Original george #173 (22 June 2002)




george1 #97031 09/13/07 02:31 PM
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I believe the reason they said that, especially if it was on the Miss. Forum, is that it is illegal to stock tilapia in Miss.


burgermeister #97052 09/13/07 08:01 PM
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Burger is correct they can not be stocked in Miss without a permit. I don't know if anyone has ever gotten a permit. Some other states have the same policy. \:o
















ewest #97069 09/14/07 07:51 AM
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For about 5 years now, I've been saying that Tilapia are the greatest pond management tool available...sounds like the Pond Boss may be coming around. If you don't use them, you are really missing out.

Meadowlark #97075 09/14/07 08:35 AM
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When I am wrong, I say I am wrong. My opinion of tilapia went from the "theory" stage to "what really happens." I had used them several times, back in the early 90's. Back then, even back into the early 80's, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department was waffling on their regulatory stance about every three or four years. Tilapia went from legal to illegal, to partly legal. As it stands, we can only used mozambique for recreational ponds. Some species of tilapia die at 52 degrees, some live until the low 40's. Back in the 80's and 90's the big issue for my clients was growing huge bass, fast. Many of them are still that way. They want to grow the biggest bass on the planet. If you read my book, "Raising Trophy Bass," you will see there are several key issues to growing truly huge bass. One is getting bass past that yearling to 15" stage. That's hard, especially when the concept of "catch and release" was impaled in everyone's cerebellum and fisheries cortex. The biggest problem back then was too many small bass competing for too little food.
In the instances I used tilapia, the landowner's mission was to NOT harvest bass, use tilapia to prop up the food chain and expect the bass to grow. What happened, in fact, was the smaller bass grew, their relative weights rose, the tilapia died and we had more bass mass to contend with.
The theory was that the tilapia artificially propped up the food chain, but when they died, left a huge void.
If you use them sporadically, or for just one year, that's what happens.
But, the "reality" I have begun to understand (in career years 22-28) is that tilapia need to be used each year, and the results are quite different than we (I) expected.
The "reality" is that tilapia provide a consistent summer source of food nuggets for intermediate size bass. But, enough of the little guys also survive beyond the summer to provide significant food until water temperatures reach lower lethal.
The side-effects are what surprised me a little bit. I began to notice in the second year of use in particular ponds, that our electrofishing surveys each spring showed growing numbers of intermediate bluegill. That means survival rates through winter were higher.
As I thought about it, peak bass metabolism and activity occurs when water temperatures are about 62-78. Lower, or higher, temperatures cause bass to slow down and "survive."
Here's where it gets fun, for this ol' fish guy from Texas...As I thought about it some more, during bass' peak operating times, about 115-120 "perfect" days here each year, tilapia were doing what they do...have babies like little underwater rabbits. At the same time, the bluegill were doing what bluegill do, have babies kinda sorta like rabbits.
This is where it all began to tie together for me. Bluegill thrive in cool and hot water. In north Texas, we might have 230 "perfect" bluegill growing days. That means 3, 4, maybe 5 spawns a year. That means bluegill growing fast.
But, toss in too many hungry bass, and the earliest spawned bluegill don't stand much of a chance to survive.
Tilapia allowed bluegill to survive longer, making them substantial over a longer period of time.
As I learned, tilapia first increased the statistical odds of bluegill survival. If we got 100,000 tilapia babies in the same water as 100,000 bluegill babies, odds of survival automatically rose, unless bass were so crowded they ate all. Rarely did that happen.
The "significance" comes as bluegill survive longer. Here's how that works. When a bluegill is first hatched, about 12,000 weigh one pound. Allow them to live for 45 days, 30 of them weigh a pound. That's significant. Tilapia allow that to happen just by their presence and sheer numbers.
Each fall, as water temperatures fall, tilapia become sluggish. Now, we are back into those "perfect" bass growing days again, and bass gorge themselves beyond satiation with slow moving targets. Again, bluegill are able to escape.
Essentially, when bluegill need to be left alone to re-populate, thrive and GROW, tilapia give them to chance to do so.
I'm becoming a fan.
Oh yeah, tilapia eat algae, too.


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Bob Lusk #97078 09/14/07 09:15 AM
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Anyone remember the "Bass 101" meetings about 10 years ago? That's where I first got the idea to use Tilapia in my ponds.

The experts at that widely attended meeting strongly advised against using Tilapia in Texas farm ponds because "they would make your LMB grow too fast". Thinking about it, it seemed to me that might not be such a bad problem to have. Now after about 6 seasons with Tilapia(and 10 pound class LMB), I wish I could have those experts(who in all likelyhood had never personally had Tilapia in their ponds) see the results of sustained Tilapia use in farm ponds...they too might then agree with me that the Tilapia is the greatest pond management tool available to Texas pond meisters.

p.s. being a somewhat radical thinker, I've never understood why experts recommend the use of artificial fertilizers, artificial feeds, artificial etc. to grow larger fish, fish that it would seem could get too large for their ponds without all the artificial help...but those same folks would recommend against Tilapia. Never has made sense to me, but I'm just an East Texas bum trying to have some fun in ponds.

Meadowlark #97080 09/14/07 10:16 AM
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ML....caught a 16" Tilapia yesterday....didn't have time to weigh it. The bottom of my fish basket had rusted out and he was gone when I got back with the scales. He was real healthy!


20 acres of trees & 3/4 acre pond.

"Home of the future Texas state HSB record for Private ponds"
george1 #97086 09/14/07 11:07 AM
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I REALLY have to get hold of that aquaculture gal at the local High School....they raise tilapia for sale, and I need to hit her up next spring for some to stock. I've had bad algae in the east pond all summer and it's either that or momma's gonna insist in the blue dye nex year.

I've had just about all the raking this 43 year old body can handle. However...FA does make fantastic mulch. It just NEVER rots away and holds moisture like crazy.


In a lifetime, the average driver will honk 15,250 times. My wife figures I'm due to die any day now...



BarO #97098 09/14/07 12:13 PM
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 Originally Posted By: BarO
ML....caught a 16" Tilapia yesterday....didn't have time to weigh it. The bottom of my fish basket had rusted out and he was gone when I got back with the scales. He was real healthy!


BarO, That's a great fish!!! Assuming it was this spring's stocking, that is indeed a great, great fish! My best has also been 16 inches and it weighed 2.9 pounds as I recall....yours was probably that weight or close also.

I figure conservately that Tilapia have saved me well over $60,000 of pond building costs(if I had it contracted out). I've long had a dream and been on a long journey to have World Class fishing out my back door. In order to achieve my dream, I figured, based on actual simulations and models, that I needed 9 ponds covering about 18 acres of water to achieve my goals. I was resigned to possibly never achieving my goal in my lifetime or at best achieving it too late to enjoy. Tilapia have reduced the number of ponds required and water coverage to about 6 ponds and 12 acres....which is well within my ability to achieve. In fact, with 4 ponds currently, we are getting very close and with ponds 5 and 6 underway, the dream is within site.

Tilapia have made it possible for me....and guys like Ken Hale and Kenneth Henneke get all the credit. They are pioneers, the guys who were willing to take a chance, to push the envelope and because of them we pond meisters have at our disposal the tool to take us to achieving our dreams. If there was ever a Texas Pond Meister Hall of Fame, Ken Hale would have to be the first menber, IMO, for his creative development of overwintering techniques and his persistent belief in the value of this magnificant fish.

Meadowlark #97107 09/14/07 04:56 PM
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I think I have posted this before. This is no joke. In aqucultre class taken in 1997 (man that 10 yrs ago went quick) a fill in the blank on a test was The _____ was the fish of the future. I think you no the answer. Pretty bad this was a masters level calss but I;m not joking about this one. It was an opinoin by the professor of course but want to see if studnets were listening. If only someone can convince GA to get their heads out of the sand. It is legal to stock with permits in all surrounding states, just not here.


Greg Grimes
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Greg Grimes #97108 09/14/07 05:43 PM
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Greg,

That professor must have missed the "Bass 101" classes and all the experts who advised against Tilapia stocking.

Come on over to East Texas...you would be welcomed with open arms and have all the business you could possibly handle...and I would be the first person in line!

Meadowlark #97118 09/14/07 10:33 PM
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No fair, ML - I'm still trying to get Greg to come up North and give me a job.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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I agree with all of the pro-tilapia posts in this thread but in certain situations tilapia can be overbearing and expensive. I put 10 pounds in my refurbished 1.5 acre N. Texas pond last April. Since it had just filled I followed conventional wisdom and added 3" CNBG, 4-5" CC, tiny RESF, and FHM. I planned to wait a year on LMB.

Results of the tilapia stocking have been astounding. I have a zillion tilapia, probably due to the lack of existing predators. First generation fish are 10" and must have had a 90% survival rate. When my feeder goes off, the water explodes and it's TILAPIA TIME! My poor BG and CC are intimidated. They don't seem to be growing as well as I had hoped. I am feeding mostly tilapia and leaving my game fish to chase leftovers.

I stocked LMB recently and hope they will be big enough by next spring to acquire a taste for tilapia. I'll stock them again for the reasons stated in previous posts. New Pond Bosses need to be aware that they can completely take over a pond without predators.

Oh yeah, they DO eat FA. FA rights groups picket my place.


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 Originally Posted By: Finned Feedlot
Oh yeah, they DO eat FA. FA rights groups picket my place.


PETFA, no doubt.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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