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ML :

Here is what I have been trying to find (sort of) for you , another early xmas gift. See below which involved tilapia (blue). I assume no pratical difference. This was very hard to find . \:\) ewest

Effects of Cover and Prey Size on Preferences of Juvenile
Largemouth Bass for Blue Tilapias and Bluegills in Tanks !
HAROLD L. SCHRAMM, JR.
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
ALEXANDER V. ZALE
Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

Abstract
The effects of vegetative cover and relative size of prey were tested on the forage preference of
juvenile largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides offered blue tilapias Tilapia aurea and bluegills
Lepomis macrochirus in laboratory electivity experiments. When offered forage at or near the
maximum consumable size in tanks without vegetative cover, largemouth bass preferred bluegills,
but consumed blue tilapias in the presence of vegetation. When offered forage smaller than the
maximum consumable size in tanks without vegetation, largemouth bass selected blue tilapias.
Differences between the forage species in body morphology and effective use of protective cover
apparently caused the changes in prey selection. Our results suggest blue tilapias may be a suitable
forage for largemouth bass, but that habitat characteristics and relative size distributions of other
available forage may affect their use.

Quote :

The increased consumption of blue tilapias by
largemouth bass in the vegetated tanks suggest
that blue tilapias did not use vegetative cover to
escape predation as effectively as bluegills.

However, our casual observations of blue
tilapias in aquaria indicate they are not as in-
clined to enter cover when frightened as bluegills.

Juvenile
largemouth bass selectively foraging on blue ti-
lapias when vegetation is present may further
reduce predation on bluegills. Shaftand et al.
(1983) found an increase in the abundance of
small bluegills in a vegetated lake containing
largemouth bass and an expanding population of
blue tilapias.

SHAFLAND, P. L., R. J. WATTENDORF, R. S. ANDERSON,
AND R. J. METZGER. 1983. Annual report for
non-native fish research 1982. Florida Game and
Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee, FL,
USA.
















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EWEST,

Thanks again. You are truely the master at research and we are all lucky you post it here on the Forum!

Seems like everything points to the very real probability that BG do indeed increase with the stocking of Tilapia...our Pond Boss' experiences support that finding and the research does as well. Just another bonus from a marvelous pond fish.

I look forward to the study that compares the effects on LMB weight from stocking a LMB/BG pond with Tilapia vs artificial feeding. A lot of complex variables there at work and difficult to have a controlled comparison, but a great study for some enterprising researcher, nonetheless. Based on my meager experiments in my limited ponds, the tilapia are going to either win or very much hold their own in that contest.

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Gosh this thread is sprinting! I've been busy...but will take some time to address a few issues.

I believe that HSB-Tilapia ponds could be very productive but success depends on several factors.

1. HSB size structure: Since HSB have relatively small mouths reative to their body size, I am of the opinion that tilapia fry COULD grow fast enough to find themselves safe from predation in short time in presence of small HSBs. Optimum HSB size may have to be 2#+ to make tilapia forage work consistently.

2. HSB population: I wouldn't expect success in situations where HSB population was more than 100/acre without supplemental feeding.

3. Tilapia food availability: Young tilapia need plankton or algae for fast growth. Fertilizer is recommended....and if you are opposed to inorganic I would recommend organic fertilizers like cottonseed meal to encourage plankton production.

4. Alternative forage: Since HSBs feed during cold months, an alternative food source would be necessary to maintain proper nutritional needs. Bluegill...threadfin shad...minnows.

My experience with HSBs at high density in small shallow farm ponds (3/4 acre and below) has shown that fish will feed in very shallow water as long as DO is at desirable levels.

Tilapia fry and fingerling survival rate in our HSB grow out pond was relatively good when HSBs were say less than 5", but we've seen that tilapia population dwindle since the HSBs grew past that point. Tilapia fry and small fingerlings were extremely abundant through the summer and early fall...streaming down the shoreline with fear in their eyes. We slowed the artificial feeding program after first cold front in October. At that time our max HSB size was 10", after being stocked at a 2" size in late June. Harvest with seine 2 weeks ago revealed a few HSBs over 12". Keep in mind we stocked HSBs at a rate of 10000/acre for fingerling production.

There has been some discussion addressing bluegill and redear population and size increase associated with tilapia. We have learned for a fact that perch will eat large numbers of tilapia fry.

Results of our fall surveys reveal that tilapia don't appear to have any negative impact on bluegill/redear population size, just some very happy LMBs.


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Eastland's 2005 abstract : Pro's - All my fish are fat, bgill can be caught a dime a dozen from the shoreline, fathead minnows still exist. HSB & Catfish stocked at 3-4" mid-April are now 12". LMB seem to prefer Tilapia over bgill, I tried to get a pic of a big LMB trying to position a 8" tilapia for a meal, but couldn't get close enough. I hand feed, only twice a month...with a good turnout. Tilapia numbers must have been extremely low by Fall, only a few larger ones sighted when water was 54 degrees. I did not witness a fish kill due to absense during our drop in temps. Con's - Do not plan on catching them unless you have dynamite...I fished regulary and failed to accidentally foul hook one...tried bread, worms, and live crickets, cabbage, etc. They did not devour all vegetation...I had thick brushy pondweed before the cooler temps in shallow areas...no algae though.

2006 - I held back 7 breeding adults, they are currently in my 90 gallon aquarium, I will be transferring their offspring into a standby 48 gallon aquarium as they arrive. By Mid April, I will have hundreds available to begin the cycle all over again. I prefer the Hybrid orange Moz. Tilapia...they are easily seen in the shallows and make extremely easy prey.



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They spawn in your aquarium? What do you have to do to get them to spawn? The more details the better.

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ML did you get any of this really cold weather last week? I had sleet and it didn't get over freezing for over a day. I lost a bunch of tilapia, I guess they couldn't get in the warm current of the well. The dead ones can be seen from the dock. I don't think it was really a bad thing since most of them are large, over 15", and there are plenty left in the warm water to repopulate. I will try posting some pictures of them so you get a better idea of size I had. I did weight a coupld and they came in between 3.5 and 4.25lbs.

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Texas715,

Yes, we did...unfortunately the danged raccoons chewed up my pond thermometer and I couldn't get good readings on the water temps...but the Tilapia are all dead, I believe. Just like last year there were very few visible dead fish, less than half dozen large ones, no small ones. Once again it appears that most all were consumed by the LMB and HSB, which again shows that even in death Tilapia contribute to the pond.

I'd bet you have some approaching 5 pounds. If you are into records, you should file for the Texas private waters record for Tilapia. You would set a record that might never be broken.

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ML :

A little off topic but of interest wrt the coons. Ours like yours are aggressive . Last spring when I had to be at the pond at night to get a beaver out (no traps just lead) several coons would come to the fish feeder at dark and stick their paws in the opening to dig out food and eat that which was on the ground at waters edge. So the next day I set the timer to go off an extra time 10 min. after dark. Well one of the bandits was right in front of the opening of the feeder eating a couple of pellets with its nose about 12 in. away when dark + 10 arrived. He got a suprise nose job . Nither the noise or the beaver search light mattered to them . They come back often but do not fool with the front food shoot of the feeder.
















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EWEST,

That's both interesting and surprising...East Texas coons would have been back with a bucket to catch the feed and pass it around to all family and friends. Pellets for everyone! \:\)

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ML :

\:D \:D
















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Eastland,
I stocked 100 of the orange tilapia sometime back and there are probably more of them, now, than any other fish in my pond. I have conditioned the tilapia to eat all manner of veggies, I feed fruit or vegetables almost everyday. I can catch every other tilapia except the orange. Out of almost 200 caught one was orange and that was just bad luck on it's part. The tilapia appear to be cross breeding so it will be interesting to see if they all bite or all ignore the bait. How do you get a hook into the dynamite, it crumbles when I try.


1/4 & 3/4 acre ponds. A thousand miles from no where and there is no place I want to be...
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Heck Rad, I couldn't even get the ones I bought from Overton's Hatchery to bite...there was just too much room and too much vegetation in my pond for them to bother with bait.

BrianH, getting the tilapia to breed in my aquarium is a no-brainer...feed them well, clean the filters once a week, and keep the water temp around 78 degrees. They grow over an inch a month, and when they are 3", they breed like clockwork every 6 weeks or so. At that rate, little ones now an inch long, should begin breeding in Feb. with their first offspring entering the spring stocking as adults. It's a fun hobby and I can stock them at different intervals as they grow.

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Thanks but you don't manipulate light at all? If I ever get me any I will have them in a shop/shed and will have to give them some light.

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ML

I saw one mid size talapia on it's side in the shallow last weekend(East Texas). The Talapia in my water garden in the backyard didn't make it either. The weekend before I was able to catch more than a dozen over a pound on powerbait pellets while throwing out feed. The water was cool enough that the bluegill weren't biting so the only problem was the HB. As an added bonus I've got a pair of Bald Eagles hanging out there.............a first for me. I'm loading up on Talapia next spring as my LB f-1s are like footballs..........

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Brian, I keep a 48" 40w flourecent light on them at all times. Here are 4 of the youngsters, they need cichlid food, most other high protein feed is too high in fat and will kill them.



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I was kicking around an idea and would appreciate some feed back. First is there a way to identify and seperate out the (6-8") size male from the female(6-8") Talapia. Than perhaps a way to jump start you reproduction forage in the first generation of fish might be to stock 3 females to every male. I'd certainly be willing to pay more per pound for a stocking program like this. Any hatcheries willing to consider the idea ?

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We tried it this spring for our own production in one pond. We stocked large select 1#+ males and much smaller females at equal weights per acre. This resulted in probably a 5 to ratio of females to males. Please keep in mind that males grow faster and larger than females, since females devote significant energy to raise babies and males need fast growth for competition. Results were tremendous....notably higher numbers produced. It would work in most ponds, but I doubt anyone (including myself) would go to the trouble to sex and split the fish at $8-$10 per lb...especially since nobody seems to be complaining about traditional tilapia stocking success.


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Assuming the tilapia will be subject to winter die off and they are being stocked for extra forage then it seems it would be good to stock them 50/50 or in their normal % mix. The males with fast growth would use energy to produce more lbs. of forage per unit of pond capicity/energy , while the females are creating new recruits. With one growing season only I would think that a mix would optimize the growth potential of the pond and create a mix of forage sizes for all sizes and types of predators. Does a tilapia spawn generally result in equal numbers of male and female ? I don't know much about tilapia but with most forage fish you want a mix of sizes if you have a mix of predator sizes. If one size class of either prey or predator is to big it can cause imbalance in the fish size dynamics of the pond. For example to many small LMB in a bass crowded pond or to many small BG in a stunted BG pond. Do tilapia work that much differently than BG ? What am I missing ?
















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 Quote:
Originally posted by LakeL:
ML

I saw one mid size talapia on it's side in the shallow last weekend(East Texas). The weekend before I was able to catch more than a dozen over a pound on powerbait pellets while throwing out feed. The water was cool enough that the bluegill weren't biting so the only problem was the HB. As an added bonus I've got a pair of Bald Eagles hanging out there.............a first for me. I'm loading up on Talapia next spring as my LB f-1s are like footballs..........
LakeL,

Identical thing happened to me last year. I caught about 30 Tilapia, and caught them one after the other until I ran out of bait. The key is getting them away from the BG, just like you did.

Amazingly, I also had a pair of Bald Eagles at my place last year feeding on dead/dieing Tilapia in a pond which didn't have any LMB predators. I wonder if it is the same pair of Eagles? I wrote about it last year as a side benefit of Tilapia. \:\)

I expect they come from Lake Livingston where they do have a winter colony of them. That is one of the neatest sights in nature. I'd really love to know if it is the same pair. One was much smaller than the other..sound right?

p.s. my F1's are also like footballs, with extended stomachs from eating so much Tilapia. Not a single pellet of artificial feed either.

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Update on my Tilapia die off. As I mentioned before it finally got cold enough for Tilapia to die. The good news is that the ones that I have seen dead are of the larger sizes only, between 17" - 25". I still have seen plenty of smaller ones in the shallow warm water near the well and now that the weather has warmed backup, temps lately have been in the mid 70's and tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 80's (gotta luv Texas), schools have been seen in the shallows near cover.

The smell of the dead fish was starting to get bad that I had to go out and pick up the ones near the dock. In a 50 yard shoreline I picked up 175 of them. This filled up the front loader on my tractor but was able to relocate them to a remote corner of my property for the buzzards to feast. I must have the entire population of buzzards in Texas stopping here to eat.

I did manage to weigh and measure most of the none eaten ones and the sizes are amazing. Remember I only stocked 100 of them just over 18 months ago. Biggest one so far comes in at 25" and 6.75lbs. I don't know if death and bloating are any factor but I was supprised how large they can get. Besides the buzzards I do believe it was a good thing in the long run. A LMB couldn't eat these that I have seen so I look at it as natures way of controlling my population. There are survivors so I won't have to be restocking.

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don't count your chickens yet. TX715 here it has been an early winter as well. But max low water temps usually occur in Feb. so if similiar you might still have another dieoff b/f it is over, but hope your well water keeps the others thru the winter. Keep me informed b/c a client gettig them next year has a big well water source. thanks


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Texas715,

Thanks for that interesting update...I'm really not surprised by the size you are seeing. Just in one growing season, I've had them reach almost three pounds. It's probably a good thing that you are getting some winter kill.

By the way, no, you don't have the entire population of Texas buzzards...there's still many in East Texas. \:\)

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Calais,

Does your offer extend to East Texas guys? \:\) \:\)

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If I had a trailor and was closer, I'd offer to bring my dozer and see if we couldn't help clean out your pond in exchange for some Tilapia in the future...it would be well worth it to me.

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PO's post back in November inspired me to give the tilapia another chance since I am in about the same climate as he. While researching the subject I came across a professor at a University about 15 miles from me that has a tilapia program already in place. I pitched the idea of stocking tilapia in Ohio ponds for their obvious benefits. I also acknowledged the drawbacks of our short season here. He is willing to give me "several hundred" 2" fish. The only condition is I have to take them in the next two weeks!

I obviously can't stock them now (ice on the pond Saturday) so the problem was overwintering them until the water temp is 62 deg.=late May or early June. The tilapia will need enough time to grow large enough to escape bass predation as well. I was considering constructing a "rubbermaid" system similar to one Bruce Condello is using for perch or even setting up several aquariums like Eastland. The wife already shot down the trout stream in the basement idea so I knew a project of this size would be a hard sell.

The local tech school has a greenhouse so I asked them if they would be interested in housing such a project if I provide the tank, feed, fish. The program that is using the greenhouse is a combination of landscape mgmt., pond mgmt., and horticulture and I thought this would fit in nicely. It just so happens that they have a 4000 gallon tank not being used but they do not have a heater or filtration and they do not have room in their greenhouse. They do however have room in one of their classrooms. The room is kept between 65 and 70 deg. They estimated that a heater and filtration system will likely cost about $750. The heater alone about $500 and they are not sure if they can secure enough funds.

So, here are my questions:
#1 What size heater will we need to keep the water temp. at 75 deg.?
#2 How big will they grow to, starting from 2"now, by Early June? I think I read something like .02 percent per day but I hoped someone could give me a round-a-bout estimate.
#3 Given the size scenario in #2 will filtration be need for 400 fish in a 4000 gal. tank if aerated?
#4 Anyone know where to get a cheap heater or will it even be needed?




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