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I have to say I disagree. The South, at least where I live in TN, gets cold weather too, though obviously nothing like the North; many of the ponds I've fertilized in the past had FA growing on the bottom to some extent all through the winter, and certainly had it growing when I first fertilized in the spring. More than a couple times, including once just over two months ago, I've fertilized a pond for the first time long after spring was fading into summer and the FA was already growing in large beds, covering in a few instances at least 20% of the lake. In every instance the FA was gone within a week. Sometimes it will grow more, briefly, with the application of the fertilizer, but as soon as the bloom happens the sunlight can no longer penetrate the water and the FA is going to die, pure and simple. That's just a basic scientific principle that is the same anywhere there's water and plankton and FA.

I would guess that Russ's pond is not extremely fertile naturally, because if it were fertile enough to get a good plankton bloom, he wouldn't have FA. FA is FA, and it requires sunlight to grow. And, some of the most naturally fertile ponds anywhere are in the South. I work with several phosphate pits, and I doubt that there are many ponds anywhere more naturally fertile than them.

Here are a few agencies, two state (MD, OH) and one multi-state, that recommend fertilizing in distinctly northern ponds, including several states that get colder than NY:

http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/programs/extension/aquaculture/finfish/factsheets/FF8/index.php

http://www.fish.washington.edu/wrac/images/wrac-104.PDF

http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/wildlife/Home/fishing/pond/fishproduction/tabid/6223/Default.aspx

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The point was not if there is FA or if fertilization is used up north but rather the recommendation to others to use fertilization in ponds if they have natural fertility. If one does that they risk to dense a plankton bloom and a DO crash. IMO an increase in the risk of a low DO event is a much more serious problem than a little FA. After all you can deal with FA in other ways without increasing the risk of killing your fish.
















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Thanks to all for the replies. My attempt to control FA with pond dye was a shoot from the hip response. It certainly made for some eye catching blue water but nothing else. In my case, and as Walt mentioned, I see FA blanketing the pond bottom even before ice out. Fertilization is certainly an option but my little puddle receives a good supply of inflow/outflow most of the year. Holding to that fact, this was gleaned from one of the articles linked above.

"Ponds with excessive water flow should not be fertilized. In ponds such as these, you are probably wasting time and contributing to nutrient overload, or enrichment, in waters downstream from your pond. As a general rule, if the total volume of water flowing out of a pond in 30 days exceeds the total pond volume, you should not fertilize. The added nutrients will probably not be in the pond long enough to develop adequate blooms."

Given the size of this puddle, removal of FA through manual means is not that bad. I don't mind dancing with the rake on occasion but this year, someone has put way too many quarters in the jukebox.

Russ

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Just a quick end of season update:

Within the past week, I've moved the BG and YP to new cages in preparation for the coming winter season. By "new" cages I mean algae free/clean cages. In doing so, its the first time I've sampled the fish to check their growth. To date, both species of fish have been caged for 4 months and two weeks.

BG: Initial stocking was 43, not the 30 I thought. To date, I've lost 8. Of the 35 that remain, the average runs 5-6". Its interesting to note that some are not that much bigger than the day they went into the cages while on the other side of the scale, a couple are just short of 7". With surface water temps at 52 degrees, no longer do I see any near the surface, waiting for feed.

YP: Initial stocking was 39, again not the 30 I thought. To date, I've had only one go belly up. Like the BG, their sizes vary. Average is 6-7", with one topping the 8" mark.

I plan to continue feeding worm chunks on occasion till ice covers the pond. The cages will not be pulled again till next spring, which won't come soon enough.

Switching to the pond itself, I'm especially happy to report that last weekend I landed three very nice BG. 1 measured in at 9" with the other two hitting the 9 1/2" mark! Needless to say it was a double Depends moment for me. I apologize in that I do not have pictures of these fish but my sister was gracious enough to assist me during the cage swap and took a few snapshots that I will try to post.

Russ

Big Blue 1



Big Blue 2



Big Blue 3



Growout cage BG



Growout cage YP






Last edited by ewest; 11/06/09 09:33 AM. Reason: add pics
Russ #189150 10/23/09 08:59 PM
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"...it was a double Depends moment..."

These can be tough times.


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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Question on fish color change. The weekend of 10/25, this BG puddle gave up the biggest BG to date....a nice 10"er. Beautiful dark blue hue with a golden chest. This past weekend, my neighbor landed another 10" beauty but the color was different. Without the benefit of a tag, could the same fish exhibit such a distinct color change in one weeks time?
About three weeks ago, with Fall leaf drop and substantial rains (2-3"), the pond has taken on its characteristic coal black color.

I'd like to think this pond holds more than one 10 BG.

Thanks

Russ

Russ #190909 11/04/09 07:25 PM
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It is possible for a BG to change color dramatically in a very short period of time.

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Congrats Russ on your fat BG, you get an A+.
For not providing pics you get a D-.



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Russ I will find a few of the prior threads on fish color. BG can change color in a few seconds. If you had one that size there are probably several more just like it.

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthread...=true#Post85635

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthread...=true#Post74247



Last edited by ewest; 11/04/09 08:43 PM.















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Bump - see Russ's pics added above. Nice results.
















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Nice pics, they appear to be well fed.



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Russ - The dramatic color change of the 2 large BG you caught was very likely due to them being a male and a female fish. I assume you have both sexes in the pond.


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Thank you Eric for posting the photos.

Bill, yes there are male and female BGs in the pond.

Some notes on the caged BG and YP (for future reference), along with the possibility of adding some useful info for others.

Stocking: Looking back, one of the initial mistakes I made was not verifying exactly what I had prior to releasing the fish in the cages. With Bill's Rule #1 for cage raising fish, minimize stress, firmly tattooed in my mind I simply added the fish to the cages once I got home. I see this mistake now in the numbers. I thought I was getting 30 fish of each species but the numbers say otherwise. Thankfully, I did not get any unwanted species in the mix. Won't repeat that one again.

Cages: So far the cages have held up well. The twine and mesh are still firmly intact and secure. I know I have turtles (snappers)in the pond but they or any other critter have not bothered the cages. When the cages are swapped out next spring, to check the extent of algae fouling, I will replace the pool noodles with plastic jugs. The noodles are beginning to fray, at least the part that is exposed to the sun but I'm certain they will last till spring.

Feeding: This is one area I need to improve upon. In the beginning, I started feeding worm bits. The way I did it, it was easy to see the pecking order getting established early on. In conversation with Bill C, he noted how this would be one factor leading to the variation in fish sizes that are now evident, both with the BG and YP. (Bill please inject any corrections you deem necessary).

Losses: To date I'm still down 8 BG and one YP. All summer long, at least during feeding, I had a handful of welfare bass and BG circling the cages, hoovering up any handouts. Could/would the presence of these fish, especially the bass, stress the fish enough to cause death? Of the ones that died, there were no external signs leading to a cause.

Goals/Grade: The initial goal of this project was to see, if in fact, I could cage raise some fish. To that extent I'll give this experiment a B+. Always room for improvement. The next goal is to see how they survive the winter.

Thanks to everyone for all your help.

- Russ



Last edited by Russ; 11/06/09 06:00 PM.
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Russ - I too have never had problems with turtles damaging cages despite two large turtles frequent the cage area for surplus pellets. For floatation I've found the 2 liter pop bottles hold up well when expsosed to UV light, however I prefer the 2 quart Ocean Spray clear juice bottles. They hold up very well to UV and have indentations to help hold them to the cages when tied with twine.
I doubt the fish outside the cages caue any stress to fish in the cage. Much more stress will come from pecking order stress from inside the cages. Fish will bump and bruse each other which can lead to not eating and fungal infections. Also fish that don't feed or go off feed will die especially if they are dominated or bullied by other fish. I consider your losses minimal and quite normal. I would rate your first attempt at cage raising an A- or A.

If my caged fish are plump at freeze up and not overcrowded, I get no losses during winter ice cover. As soon as ice is melted around cages feed caged fish a small amount of chopped worms or soft rolled sinking pellets.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/06/09 10:23 PM.

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Bill, Cecil or any northerner cage raising fish

How concerned should I be with algae fouling of the cages before ice over? While feeding the other day, I noticed some buildup and decided to pull both cages for cleaning.

As a side note, there were no floaters of either species.

Russ

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I would clean most of attached algae from cages before ice formation. I try to have my cages free of algae growth before the fish have to endure the rigors of winter. If the algae on cages is a cold water algae it could get a little more growth under the ice or after ice melt. Cold water algae growth could easily increase on cages since I try to keep the snow off ice around the cages which allows light penetration around the cages. A little algae on the cages could help keep DO slightly higher around cages.


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Just a note for future reference. Last weeks snow/rain combo added a sustantial amount of weight to the fish cage top covers. As a result, one half of both cages went under. Fortunately the snow/ice bung in each cage prevented any escapes. Free floating cages (without dock access) can be challenging. Thankfully the weather warmed, both tops cleared and the cages righted themselves.

Merry Christmas

Russ

Russ #195860 12/18/09 09:07 PM
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Thanks for the warning, I'll have to keep an eye on mine. I have 1" chicken wire for a top cover.


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Just some mental musings.

Since building this little puddle, this is the first year that we've had ice over occur before Christmas. Augering the ice two weeks ago showed a depth of 6". What started out as nice clear ice quickly turned to a combination of ice/snow thanks to a storm of mixed precipitation, rain/snow. It will be interesting to see what, if any, affect this "cloudy" ice cover will have on spring algae growth. In the past, with clear ice, I could see algae forming on the bottom long before the ice cover melts.

Russ

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Minor update: Augered an inspection hole in both cages this past weekend. 8" of ice right now. Could not see any fish in either cage.....water was too dark. Dropped in a few pre-soaked pellets. Got hits from the fish in both cages.

Russ

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That is good news Russ. I would sure feed them a little over the winter. Not much though.
















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Spring update:

With the hard water now completely gone off of both ponds, I thought it would be time for an update on my caged fish. Both cages survived the winter intact with no damage. Algae fouling was much less than expected. Ice over this year was earlier than previous years so I do not know what affect, if any, that may have had. Last weekend I took advantage of unseasonably warm weather to swap out the cages, for cleaning purposes. Mixed results on fish survival.
Based on pre-winter numbers, I lost 4 yellow perch but no bluegills. After the cage exchange, I monitored the fish for the next couple of days for any stress injury/death but everything looks good. I have not yet started pellet feeding due to low water temps. For curiosity sake I did toss a handfull of pellets, Aquamax D506 (straight from the bag.....no presoaking) into the pond to see what would happen. To my surprise, I had a half dozen BG take the pellets.

The geese are back, rats are scouting out the pond, water color is a nice blue green right now with limited algae. This years fun may involve an attempt at cage raising some black crappie. Looking forward to another season working this puddle.

Russ

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Thanks for the update... Sounds like you had some pretty good success this winter.

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Russ good to hear the winter wasn't too hard on your fish.
Big warm-up coming in a couple days, hope it takes the rest of my Ice.



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Russ thanks for the update. Any pics to share?
















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