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#14133 04/24/06 09:52 PM
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Ryan,

In addition to my primary pond I have a small pond around 1/6 acre in size, since the climate is tropical the Tilapia live to old age. In this pond Tilapia and numerous other local species were spawning and multiplying without my noticing any impact on fry recruitment, matter of fact the pond's fish were close to stunting from overpopulation. The addition of a few Peacock Bass brought an immediate halt to the overpopulation, but the point to be made is I don't think the Tilapia had much impact on the other fishes. Some of the local fishes that were in the pond prior to the introduction of the Peacocks's included small species such as a minature pike fish, Gourami's and a shad type fish each with growing populations. In an aquarium environment void of a Tilapia's natural diet I would think that some unnatural behavior traits may become more apparant.

Hate being on the opposite side of the world as my few posts always trail the ongoing discussions!


Don
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Thanks for the lead Ewest. I have stocked Oreochromis niloticus http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/TrophicEco/...ecies=niloticus It seems the diets are nearly the same for both species. During the planning for this experiment I came across a paper on LMB prefering BG over tilapia. It seems strange because their coloring is similar and the tilapia have a more slender profile which would make them go down a little easier. There should be enough predators in my pond to keep their numbers in check and Ohio's cooler temps should slow things down a bit. Time will tell.




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14135 04/25/06 08:33 AM
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I agree with Don's observations. My experience is that BG benefit from the presence of Tilapia not suffer. Studies of lakes in Mexico where Tilapia survive year around have pointed to the possibility that older Tilapia may consume eggs and fry. In lakes with heavy commercial netting in Mexico, there is no evidence of Tilapia feeding on eggs, but where there is no netting (of the older fish), there is some evidence of reduced LMB recruitment.

Ryan,

Do you happen to have a reference for that paper? It certainly does not agree with actual observations every summer in my ponds, i.e LMB preferring BG over Tilapia.

#14136 04/25/06 08:37 AM
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Ryan :

I have a paper that finds just the opposite on BG/tilapia from Fla if I recall. Not surprising that different studies show different results . I have run across such conflicting info on several matters. Uggh

Don great info and observations and never to late for such to be added to the mix. I am glad you keep us aware of the different pond systems and fish - a real needed mind opener.
















#14137 04/25/06 08:59 AM
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Ryan, if you don't have enough predators the onset of winter will cure any over populations of Tilapia. My guess is that you are therefore in a win-win situation and well positioned for the next year's crucial decisions.


Don
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I have faith that things will work out just fine and I agree, Don, winter 55 deg. temps will cure any problems that develop.I'm excited to see how the project develops




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14139 04/26/06 10:30 AM
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Ryan, did you ever tell us what you fed them in the grow out tank?

#14140 04/26/06 03:37 PM
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I fed 42% protein 1/8" pellets from Freedom Feeds. About half the pellets float and the other half sink. Only fed about 40lbs total. The feed is all plant based and they advertise that fish fed their products taste better. I was going to link to their site but it says it's been shut down. There has been rumors that they were on shakey ground. I have been feeding their pellets from the start and have been happy with the results. Their plant is only a few miles from me too.

They will grow fine on 32% feed or even lower. I used 42% because it was the only thing readily available in 1/8"




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14141 04/27/06 11:25 AM
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I was curious because pond food dirties the water faster than aquarium food. I think Lusk even told someone that. I thought maybe you fed something different.

#14142 05/01/06 07:33 AM
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Here are the one week results. FA on two banks has been eliminated almost entirely. They seem to be working their way around the pond clockwise. A little algae remains in the shallow end but they have reduced it by more than half. No chemicals have been used since last fall. Probably the most surpising is their impact even with the relatively cool, 64deg., water temps.

Before


After 1 week


I'm not sure if I should give the tilapia 100% credit. The tadpoles seem to be eating algae too. If you look close you can see them in the upper picture as well.





"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14143 05/01/06 08:15 AM
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Ryan,

According to the SRC, Tilapia do not feed at or below 63 degrees so that is indeed a surprising result. The B/A pictures are dramatic. I wonder if you had a major rain event during that week? Sometimes that will temporarily get rid of the algae also.

Regardless, now that they are ahead of the algae, you can kiss it goodbye for the season, in my experience, as well as the need for chemicals. Great pictures!

#14144 05/01/06 09:52 AM
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We had a little rain over the week and temps have been cooler. Other pond's filamentous algae in the area has been growing as expected with floating mats and pieces breaking off. One pond owner raked the algae out from his pond about two weeks ago and it has returned with vengence. It appears he has more than he started with.




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14145 05/01/06 12:04 PM
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The fish donors suggested I build a couple of 10'x10' areas fenced in with with 1/4" mesh to serve as "control" areas to keep the tilapia out for comparison. I think it is a good idea and would like to give it a shot. I have plenty of fence posts but would like some suggestions on some cheap mesh.




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14146 05/10/06 05:11 PM
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Hi Ryan: Awesome experiment!! I would be interested in settig up something like this my self. I would like info on how to get tilapia for my pond(9.6 miles north of I-70 off st rt 201). I have raked my pond two times so far, it is killing me. Also, My wife and your wife teach together. Small world.

Would love to chat more with you about tilapia and fishing and pond other pond info

you can email if you would like @
tiltaplenty@verizon.net

Thanks Brian Carter

#14147 05/11/06 12:37 PM
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My niece dropped her fishing pole off the dock this weekend in about 3-4 feet of water. While trying to to "fish" it out my pole came up with quite a bit of FA on it during my retrieval attempts. It appears that the tilapia have been only eating the algae in the shallows. I assumed all the algae was gone because I couldn't see any. I imagine this is because the water is warmer in the shallows and the algae has been free to grow below the thermocline. Has anyone else experienced this?




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14148 05/11/06 08:10 PM
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Hi Ryan: I would think they would eat where it is warmer. Wouldn't they eventually move deeper if the food was not available in the warmer areas? Will be interesting to see as the summer gets going.

#14149 05/31/06 07:56 AM
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Cold snap update: The 3rd and 4th weeks of May were pretty cool here. water temps dropped into the high fifties and the algae started making a comeback. I was beginning to wonder if the tilapia would make it. The water has warmed considerably the past 7-10 days and the algae has disappeared again. I have been seeing a few schools of 4-5 6-8" tilapia circling the pond and some 3" fish in very shallow areas. While feeding last night I saw some of the 6-8" tilapia taking pellets for the first time. I also saw one large approx 12" fish slurp a few pellets off the surface.




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14150 05/31/06 08:06 AM
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Good report, Ryan. Since Tilapia stop feeding at and below 63 degrees water temps, your experience makes a lot of sense. As you may be aware also, artificial feeding can reduce their algae eating amounts by more than 50%

#14151 05/31/06 10:52 AM
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I really have no idea how many tilapia I have left. I'm interested in others observations of how many tilapia they stocked vs. how many they saw throughout the season vs. how many floated to the top in the fall.




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14152 07/19/06 07:40 AM
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The pond was almost completely free of algae for the first couple of weeks in June. I noticed the algae increasing again around the 3rd week of June so I stopped feeding. I returned from vacation on July 9 and there was even more algae. Before yesterdays rain the algae appeared to be about where it started at this spring. Water temps are in the low 80s. I see schools of four or five tilapia about 4" long about every 30 feet around the bank. I dropped a handful of feed off the dock and one tilapia appearing to be about 10" managed to get a couple of pellets in the boil of bluegills. No fertilizer has been used in the field surrounding the pond.

What happened/is happening? Could they be spawning and therefore not eating nearly as much(2/3 are female)? I have not seen any tilapia fry but it is hard to tell because there is a lot of bluegill fry and, I think, a few bass fry (more slender with a black tail) as well as fatheads.

I have several options on what to do now and I'm interested in everyones input.

1. Let it go as is and keep the experiment pure, running full cycle through the season and see what happens.

2. Treat half of the pond with Cutrine and see if the tilapia can take care of the rest.

3. Treat the entire pond, half now and the other half in about a week, with Cutrine and see if the tilapia can maintain the pond for the remainder of the season.




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14153 07/19/06 10:21 AM
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Ryan:

I remember Meadowlark has stated that it took more than one season of Tilapia to get his FA fully under control, and that he used chemicals the first year (or two?) in conjunction with the Tilapia.

This made it seem to me that FA control with Tilapia can be a progressive thing, beating the algae back some each year and leaving a smaller residual amount of FA to start up again the following year.

If your FA situation seems better now than at the same time (and weather) last year, I think would be an indication that you and your Tilapia are making progress.

I'm sure ML will add much more detail.


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#14154 07/19/06 11:07 AM
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In previous years I treated the 1/2 acre pond with 1 gal. of Cutrine when I saw FA on more than half of the bottom in the shallows, roughly about every 6 weeks from spring through fall. This kept the pond very clean. My "before" pics are the worst it has ever been. I have no doubt that without the tilapia the pond would be completely covered with a near solid mat of FA by now. I would like to resume feeding soon, I'd hate to slow down the growth of the BG, so I am leaning toward treating the entire pond and seeing if the tilapia can maintain for the rest of the year.




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14155 07/19/06 11:14 AM
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Ryan,

You've had a couple of things happen which didn't happen to me:

1) you had a rapid disappearance of algae following initial stocking of Tilapia...and during a temp period which, as I recall, was not conducive to Tilapia feeding.

2) you've had the algae come back as bad or almost as bad as before Tilapia stocking.

Here's my guess, Ryan, and I underline guess as to what may have happened:

The first occurrance was an act of nature...either temp change, rain or some combo knocked the surface algae down but not nearly out, on the bottom of the pond...and that was not due to the effects of Tilapia. By artificially feeding Tilapia in the early season, you delayed or lessoned their effect on the algae.

Now that your temps are up and artificial feeding is limited(the eighties are great for Tilapia), they are working their magic on the bottom residing algae. It took me a full growing season the first year to see complete algae control. The second season I used early season treatments of cutrine plus to help with control before the Tilapia were "unloosed". The third season and subsequent have been completely chemical free and algae free....this has made me suspect, certainly not prove conclusively, that there is a cumulative effect from Tilapia relative to algae control.

What to do now? I think that's entirely your preference/call. My experience says, if you are patient, the Tilapia will reduce/eliminate the algae as the season progresses....and it will get better with each passing season.

You could treat with chemicals if you want more immediate results. A word of caution, however, regarding use of chemicals in the full summer temps...use sparingly and only on partial areas of the pond, in order to lesson the risks of DO problems.

Bottom line from my experience....be patient. Hopefully you will report down the line, like Looptech did recently, that the Tilapia have worked their magic. Good luck.

#14156 07/19/06 12:23 PM
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Thanks for your replies. The pond is very close to the house so I am going to give it a round of chemical treatment. I believe the combination of tadpoles and tilapia in the early stages during cooler weather contributed collaboratively to the dramatic decrease immediately after stocking. I also suspect that the 300 or so unexpected 1-3" tilapia fell prey to the LMB and HBG the few weeks following stocking without YOY BG present. I read Looptechs thread and I would be interested to see what he would come up with if he drug a rake across the bottom of his pond. I suspect there is still a significant amount of algae 3 feet deep based on my experience a couple of months ago.

It seems that the tilapia paired with a quality dye would make a good team in these Northern ponds. In theory, the tilapia would eat the FA in the warmer shallow areas while the dye shades the deeper. Personally I am not a fan of dyes but they are safer than algaecides.




"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking
#14157 07/19/06 04:53 PM
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I was wondering how much cover you have in the pond and how many predators you have. Tilapia in the belly of a Bass cant clean much grass. Algae didn't rhyme. \:\)

I have a new pond without any predators except CC. I put 10 # of large tilapia 11 weeks ago. I have had literally thousands of fry. The original spawn are now 5" and have spawned themselves. My limited experience with them leads me to believe they are not that good at avoiding predators. The first spawn swim in schools of dozens. One of the large originals was white. These offspring are so easy to spot that they are bound to be easy fodder. You can see them so easy that the darker cousins look like shadows swimming with them. My CC have quit eating completely. I believe their belly's are full of tilapia. I think the small tilapia fry would be quickly devoured in a pond with enough BG to boil the water. My water boils with tilapia when I feed. Have you done a seine survey to see what kind of numbers of original tilapia you have left? My opinion is that the tilapia would do much better if they had lot of cover or a caged area of the pond to spawn and keep their numbers high enough to take care of the algae.


Please no more rain for a month! :|
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