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From reading on this forum and various articles, I gather that fertilizing is a more cost effective way to increase the productivity of a pond than feeding is. At least for a standard LMB and BG pond. What I would like to know is this: if you have to lime every few years in order for the fertilizer to work, is it still more cost effective?

My calculations are like this for my 1.75 acre LMB/BG pond.
-$300 to put ag lime in that will last maybe 5 years, so $60 per year (plus lots of manual labor to put the lime in with the jonboat-plywood-shovel technique.)
-$100 or so per year on fertilizer
So a total of $160 per year.

If I were to spend that $160 per year to feed the BG, would I see more LMB growth than if I go the ag lime and fetilizer route?

Basically, I don't have a lot to spend on the pond. $160 per year is about it. So, will I get more bang for my buck with ag lime and fertilizer? or feeding my BGs? or maybe on something else like tilapia?



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Nathan, it's all relative. The pond needs nutrients (fertilizer) for the base of the food chain---it just changes form from microscopic plants/animals to the fish when eaten. Any fish you remove is removing the nutrient. Sooner or later the nutrients have to be replaced, either by you or Mother Nature.



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Thanks Rainman, that makes sense.

What I would like to know is where to spend my money to produce the most LMB growth.



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If your goals are to grow LMB, then you could feed the less expensive Game Fish Chow to the BG. That means you should be able to feed about 200# of feed a year. Or, if you have feed trained LMB, then get a Sweeney feeder and feed AquaMax LMB food.

If you live on the property, you could hand feed, saving the expense of a feeder. If you don't then a few years budget is blown on a feeder right off the bat.

If the goal is to grow large LMB, then I believe you will attain those goals quicker by feeding the LMB. I've fished ponds that have both feed trained LMB and non-feed trained LMB that are the same age. The LMB that are eating pellet are about 50% heavier than the non pellet eating LMB.

I think that if you feed, you will be indirectly fertilizing the water at the same time, kind of a two for one deal.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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I would think the lime/fertilizer would be best long term, but feeding, even cheap CC feed, would provide more growth.



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Like so many questions -- it all depends. Many ponds are naturally fertile and don't need lime or fertilizer. So it starts with your pond facts. How is the alkalinity and do you have a natural bloom? If the alkalinity is good you don't need lime or can get by with a lot less. Good alkalinity also helps water quality and lessens stress on fish which helps them grow better.

There are all types of feeding approaches with different goals in mind. One point to keep in mind is that feeding does not necessarily mean bigger fish as it can mean just more small fish surviving. It must accompany good population balance achieved by harvest or predation or both.

I have not seen IIRC any studies on which is more cost effective.
















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Originally Posted By: ewest
Like so many questions -- it all depends. Many ponds are naturally fertile and don't need lime or fertilizer. So it starts with your pond facts. How is the alkalinity and do you have a natural bloom? If the alkalinity is good you don't need lime or can get by with a lot less. Good alkalinity also helps water quality and lessens stress on fish which helps them grow better.

There are all types of feeding approaches with different goals in mind. One point to keep in mind is that feeding does not necessarily mean bigger fish as it can mean just more small fish surviving. It must accompany good population balance achieved by harvest or predation or both.

I have not seen IIRC any studies on which is more cost effective.



Very well put sir!



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I took a water sample to the county extension office about a month ago and their test said the alkalinity was 13ppm. They recommended 2 tons of ag lime per acre. The pond definitely hasn't had a bloom in the last two years that I've gotten more serious about pond management. I don't think it had one in the 10 or so years that I've fished it before that.

One thing I hadn't thought about until reading on here last night was that I might get a bloom with just the ag lime and wouldn't need to fertilize. I think I'll just do the ag lime and see what happens. If I need to fertilize I'll do that instead of feeding for a few years and then reevaluate.

The half acre pond that I want to stock CC in soon got an algae bloom after I drained it and treated with hydrated lime to kill off the stunted BG. It looked just like the pictures in this thread. The green foam has been there for a good two months now. Sometimes it gets thicker and sometimes it thins out a little. I had never seen it before I put the lime in. I'm wondering if the nutrients in this other pond were there all along and adding the lime was all that it needed to bloom. This (future) CC pond is directly upstream of the LMB/BG pond. It would be nice if I could get a bloom in the LMB/BG pond with just the ag lime.

I think I have a good harvest plan in place for the LMB/BG pond. I've kept careful track of weights and lengths and harvested every LMB that is under about 95% WR, which is all but three fish so far. Most of them have been in the 60s and 70s, with some 80s. I've harvested 11.5 pounds of LMB this year (23 fish). Still another 6 pounds to go if my calculations are right (10 pounds per acre per year for a non-blooming pond x 1.75 acres = 17.5 pounds).

Last edited by Nathan Payne; 09/17/10 03:49 PM.


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The foam is most likely algae that has a lot of gasses from decay that lifetd the growth from the bottom.

I always suggest 2-3 times the suggested per-acre lime recommendations for several reasons. Mainly because the rate is to reach a minimum often lower than desired PH, also usually for a single year growing season at said PH. Also because the lime buffers normal PH swings, adds needed calcium for growth, reduces clay turbidity and application frequency. and just generally makes fish healthier and less srtessed.



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Would that be the same kind of algae that you try to get to bloom with fertilizer? Or a different, undesirable kind?



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Most likely it is a form of FA....the filaments are what trap the gasses.




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