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#17775 10/22/02 09:04 AM
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I just put in 100 pounds of fat head minnows in my seven acre pond. Rather than having to purchase these fish once or twice a year, has anyone had success raising minnows in a large tank (300 gallons or better)? What about a small holding pond, possibly with a liner? Will they reproduce enough to give me decent numbers of fish, or would I be better off just letting them try to procreate in the pond and hopefully someday have an fairly established population. Currently I have LMB, channel cats, bluegill, crappie, and I will be adding hybrid stripers in the spring. Thanks JN

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Jason, I have a small 1/4 to 1/3 acre stock tank that I put a pound of fatheads and 50 bluegills in a year and a half ago. We have seined a lot of fatheads and blue gill to add to other ponds and there are currently many more than I originally stocked. There are so many that I had DO crash last Spring and lost some bluegills and catfish. The water,which is down a lot right now,is a pea green color, I assume, from having too much manure from crowded conditions. I have about decided that fatheads can live and spawn in a nuclear waste dump. I have another very small 30 ft. by 30 ft water hole that I put some fatheads and small bluegills in a year ago. It is still loaded with fatheads. The bluegill can't stay ahead of them.

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If you can raise them with little effort,go for it. However, what is your goal, to grow larger bass? If so they will add little to promote growth of the adult bass. If done before the bass arrive they will help out the fingerling sizes grow rapidly. However, for mature bass it is not energy efficeint to chase such a small prey item.


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Jason, I live in Indiana also and have had great luck raising fatheads in a small swamp on my farm. I just dump a couple of pounds in in March and soon there are thousands. I used a grater box and scraped a channel that retains water when the swamp is low. It makes the seining easy. Then they go to the pond! My bass male wakes when they hear the wheeler coming!

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Thanks guys! Nice to know they are real easy to maintain, and are very prolific. Do they just eat algae and plankton? If I use a tank or a lined pond, will they find enough to eat, or should I let the water settle for a month or two?
Greg,
My goal is to provide a forage fish for the smaller bass, and create a population of fish for the Hybrid Stripers so they dont eat into the native fish population to much. Just trying to maintain a balance in the food chain before I dump in the stripers. I figure, you can never have too much good forage to faten up the existing fish. Plus I plan on getting a high protein feeding program in place next summer.
Thanks,
JN

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Two ways to grow / feed the offspring of reproducing fatheads. Finely ground fish food (pond chow or catfish food) and or by fertilizing the water to produce a bloom of microplants and tiny water fleas (zooplankton). Either one or a combination will work. You will probably have to grind your own fine food from whole pellets. Finely ground 24% - 32% protein fish food is, to my knowledge, not available.
If you decide to use fertilizer try the brand "Southern Excellence" discussed by Bob Lusk under the topic Managing an Existing Pond/ Fertilization/ Fowl Vegetation, Post of Bob Lusk Oct 16, 2002. It's pretty fool proof; many have great success with it.

If you need more basic information on fertilizing and establishing a plankton bloom there are articles in back issues of Pond Boss Magazine. Come back if you need specific issue numbers for ordering which specific back issues.

Question?? How big is the tank or lined pond??


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Bill,
Thanks for the info. I see from previous posts you have a place in Malinta, I travel Ohio all the time on sales trips. As a matter of fact, I will be in Bowling Green next week. I gather you have a pond business, if this is the case, I would love to stop by and chat with you regarding my pond. I have tons of things I want to do in the first year, but I need to be budget conscience. Let me know If you wouldn't mind me "picking your brain" for a little while.

On the fathead tank, I was thinking about either going with a 300 gallon round farm tank w/ aerator or dig a 20' x 20', 2-3' deep lined pond. Which direction would you go??

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Once a lake has a significant population of coppernose/bluegills, should these fish be "culled". If so, should the larger or smaller fish be removed? Goal is double digit bass - I have read and been told various answers to this question so I remain confused as to proper management of baitfish. (Also have golden shiner population in the lake). Have two protein feeders running on an 8 acre lake and over three years have large numbers of these perch. Thanks for help.

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Jason - Was out of town for several days. You can stop by anytime; it is best to call first to make sure that I am here and not out somewhere getting wet in somebody's pond.
The bigger the pond the more fish you will be able to grow. Obviously you will be able to grow more minnows in the 20x20 area. Depending on conditions and, if optimun ALL the time, you can grow up to approx. 2000 lbs per acre ( naturally fertile, unfertilized ponds grow about 250-300 lbs of fish/ac). 20'x20' is 400sqft = 0.009 ac = 18 lbs of fatheads.
18 lbs of fatheads at even best conditions will produce 1.8 lbs of bass weight.


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