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That is AWESOME Hal! Wow. Thanks for sharing that.

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What a tremendous account, Hal. Thanks a ton for sharing that. I am stocking tilapia in my 1/2 acre pond this coming spring and, based on your experience, am really anxious to see what they do. I had a pretty bad watermeal problem last year, followed closely by FA, and can't wait to see what they do. Compared to the cost of chemicals, if these babies do the work for me like they did for you, it'll be an annual experience for sure.


Todd La Neve

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 Originally Posted By: Hal Johnson
John,

When I learned about using tilapia from this forum a few years ago, I didn't really expect anything, but gave it a try. We have a family run golf course in Franklin,Tn and I knew we were spending huge amounts of money on chemicals to fight algae problems in the ponds.

I was lucky enough to have an International Market in Nashville, which sells live tilapia for 3.49 LB. I bought 10 lbs the first year. In less than 90 days we took an acre pond that you could walk across because of FA to a fishable and pleasant to look at body of water.

Fast forward to last year. My brother contracts out to scuba divers to salvage golf balls. One day last summer my brother relayed this conversation he had with the diver. He said the diver came up after a short while underwater and asked what we were using on the pond. My brother had no clue what he was talking about and said what do you mean. The diver said he had never seen a pond stripped clean of FA like this and thought we had to be using some new powerful chemical.

I got such a kick out of that story because it cost less than 40 bucks for the whole year.

We have a couple of small ponds(1/4 acre or less) on the course also. As an experiment this past year I put in 5 fish (not lbs..fish) in each small pond. Now these are muck filled nasty bodies of water. The Only fish to survive each year are green sunfish (a staggering number)

By the time October rolled around, we had at least 4 identifiable generations of tilapia in the small pond. The most incredible part of our experience was the fact that the tilapia displaced the green sunfish in 1 season. From 5 fish to catching up to 3 lb tilapia in an overcrowded GS pond to me is unbelivable..but that is what happened.

In reference to fishing...Our 1-acre pond is somewhat unique. It sits less than 200 ft from the Harpeth River. We usually get a flood or two a year. I have logged 17 species of fish on rod and reel. I understand from this forum that this is not an ideal setup for good Bass fishing. I think the tilapia have helped. After a few years of 5 lb Bass or smaller, I finally cracked the 6 lb barrier last fall. It might have nothing to do with the Tilapia, however I believe it did.

I was worried the first few years about the die off in the fall and winter. Not anymore. In October-November I told my brother to look for dying tilapia. We have yet to see 1 dead tilapia in four years of use. The thing that got my attention last fall was the animal droppings around the pond. I am talking MOUNDS with fish scales stacked as much as 10" deep. We are fortunate to live in an area with great wildlife variety and believe me..they ate better than I did last fall.

Hal

Thanks for your report, we need to hear from you more often! Your BOWs sound really interesting - I'd especially like to hear exactly what 17 species ended up in your pond due to flooding/stocking.

LMB
SMB
WC
BC
Common Carp
CC
BC
FC
Bigmouth Buffalo
Smallmouth Buffalo
Mirror Carp
Longnose Gar
Shortnose Gar
Sauger
Gizzard Shad
BG
and.....
Tilapia?


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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TJ,
It is times like this when I'm grateful that irony isn't a known carcinogen.

You left green sunfish off the list.

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I thought we were listing FISH species, not parasitic organisms?


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Picking on poor JHAP's beloved fish during tax season just ain't fair...

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Sorry,

Don't know all the abbreviations.

Small Mouth Bass
Large Mouth Bass
Rock Bass
Warmouth
Channel Catfish
Yellow Bullhead
Green Bullhead
Blue gill
Green Sunfish
Pumpkinseed
White Crappie
Black Crappie
Common Carp
Gizzard Shad (snag)
Tilapia
Unidentified
Son caught goldfish someone in the neighborhood let go.

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Fish Acronyms

I have never heard of a green bullhead? Do you mean black?

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I'm not sure!! I used to keep a log of fish caught, but not anymore. That is what I had written down. Remember, I love to fish but I am not a fisherman. (haha)

I had never seen many of the fish I was catching, so I had to use the internet for identification. Not so easy!

Anyway, the 1 acre pond was originally stocked with LMB,BG,and CC only. I do not have the option to manage like many of you, (One heavy rain event and we have 3 holes three feet under water)
however, I do like the fact that every day can be a surprise, so it makes fishing more fun.

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Todd,

We had watermeal problems too. Tilapia solved that problem also. The bad news is that they only did it after the FA was completely gone.

I read somewhere Tilapia have been used in Egypt to actually lower sediment levels in places. High concentrations of fish had to be used and I will test that this year. Still a little too cold outside to start.

Good luck,

Hal

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learn something new everyday. Now I know what to add this spring.


Just working my pond for Grandkids
GET THE NET PAWPAW
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Sounds like a very unique fishery Hal...

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Here is a picture from 2006. The ponds to the right had watermeal and duckweed 4 inches thick. I remember telling my brother I could get that out in no time. I grabbed my dad's pool leaf net and pushed it in the muck. It must have weighed 80 lbs. That stuff is dense! Needless to say I didn't finish the job. I'm glad those days are gone.

[/img]

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Strange that it didn't make it to the bigger pond to the left and the creek.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Hal, did any fish survive in those ponds with that heavy a duckweed and watermeal infestation? All the sunlight being blocked would sure cut down the food chain and I'd think the DO would suffer as well...

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 Originally Posted By: Hal Johnson
Todd,

We had watermeal problems too. Tilapia solved that problem also. The bad news is that they only did it after the FA was completely gone.

I read somewhere Tilapia have been used in Egypt to actually lower sediment levels in places. High concentrations of fish had to be used and I will test that this year. Still a little too cold outside to start.

Good luck,

Hal


Interesting to hear that, Hal. I just yesterday got to check the pond that will be stocked with tilapia and the ice is out and I can already see some of the FA or what I believe to be FA. It's not heavy, but it's there. The WM didn't really emerge last year until later summer, so perhaps the tilapia will have plenty of time to work the FA before the WM appears and things will go smoothly. I'm getting a pretty good amount of fish for my this 1/2 acre pond, so I'm hoping the volume of fish will let us see a good impact this year. Rex (Rainman), who I'm getting them from, has said that it would likely take a couple of years (since we'll only have the fish for probably 6 - 7 months due to water temps) to get things really under control, but that after that time we should be able to go with a smaller number of fish if we want.

Thanks again for that additional insight. Looking forward to seeing them at work this year.


Last edited by Todd3138; 03/11/10 09:28 AM.

Todd La Neve

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The only fish to ever survive until tilapia, were the Green Sunfish and I know why. I have determined Green Sunfish do not require oxygen.(Slight exaggeration) Last year we trained the Tilapia on whole kernel corn by throwing a few handfuls a day out during the year. By fall you could literally catch a fish a second, no exaggeration.

Early on, we would catch 10 to 1 Green sunfish. By October, reverse those numbers. The wild thing a found out about Green Sunfish is I would take a couple of buckets to hold the fish we caught. Tilapia would pipe to the surface fairly fast, However, I noticed you could cram dozens of Greenies in a bucket and the never acted like they were stressed.

The years we had horrible watermeal and duckweed problems, Green Sunfish survived by the thousands.
Last year I started letting all the <2 lb. LMB from the big pond go in the small ponds. Caught a few in the fall that looked like they swallowed a basketball. Those middle ponds are muck filled nightmares. Last year I was putting in some floating islands (Thanks Adirondack) and sank past my knees in muck. The pond was only 5 or 6 ft. deep originally and now with all the undecayed tree limbs and leaves more like 0-3 feet. Told the family we will need to dig it out someday, but Im not holding my breath.

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The big pond has never had duckweed or watermeal.(FA to the max) It is only eight feet at the most but gets a lot more wind. Most duckweed and watermeal problems exist in calm water surrounded by trees.

The big pond is also the course irrigation pond. We pump water from the river into the pond and out to the course. Challenging during the last few years of drought. Pump runs 12 hrs. a day and sometimes the pond will still drop a few feet.

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Great posts Hal...glad you are hanging around. We need all the TP research/stories we can get to educate the forum. I'm learning more everyday thanks to pond managers like you.

You mentioned significant accumulation of "muck" on these shallow ponds - have you ever considered aeration? Would help faster decomposition of the organic material and help you reclaim some depth.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Have wanted to for years. Even got a quote from Sue.That is definately a project i would like to do. Problem is it rained all spring last year and we lost a lot of days. People who think you are rich if you own a Golf Course have never owned one. If one of you guys want one I can get you in cheap.

With that said this has turned into a mission this year. When someone tells me it can't work...I do my best work. I have a full time job in the concrete business, do all the maintenance on the carts, and thanks to my brother, will be mowing till 10:00 p.m. 4 days a week this year.

My son will be washing carts at slave wages and will be recovering Golf Balls in his non-existent spare time. Not sure what the wife will be doing besides giving me the usual orders, but we will find something.

Thanks to the Tilapia I might actually have enough time to fish a day or two.

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Hal, That was a great story. I am very excited to see what they will do for my 2 acre pond. Most of my problem is also FA and possibly Chara. I hope they wipe it out. Thanks for the reply's
John

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Well I got my tilapia from Weissguy and they are doing great. I noticed those fry are pooping machines. I have about 170 1 inch fingerlings in a 20 gallon tank inside for now. I can tell I am gonna need another filter on that tank. I fed them like crazy and they keep wanting more! It seems like they eat a bunch and two minutes later it's coming out the other end, holy crap! Then I have about 30 2-3 inchers in the 100 gallon tank in the garage. They are doing well for now ,here's to good luck for my fishes!

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JohnK,

Tilapia should have feed available 24/7 till they reach 3 inches in length...If you do that, they will hit 3 inches in less than 3 weeks... \:o



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Wow, How do you have feed available 24/7 ?

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 Originally Posted By: JohnK
Wow, How do you have feed available 24/7 ?


Take them to Denny's


Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
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