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Connor, I don't know of a fish feeder at that price that I could recommend. But, you can take an inexpensive deer feeder on legs and put it IN the pond. It doesn't have to be very far out. Put some kind of plastic or metal baffle or guard around the back so it can't throw backwards toward the bank. I've known several people who have done that. It's an offbeat deal but it works reasonably well.

As the water gets colder they will soon stop eating. I think I would go ahead and feed 3 or 4 days per week by hand and try to rig up a feeder next Spring.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:49 AM.

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After this past weekend's rain, the pond has risen to past full pool at 13 feet deep at the deepest and more than 1.75 acres. With this depth, I don't think winterkill will be a problem. I know threadfin shad are recommended for larger ponds , but there can't be any harm right? I don't know if I'll even be able to catch any at this time of year, so is there any benefit to stocking them now as opposed to around March?

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:50 AM.
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Not at this time. If we get a really severe winter, they could get wiped out.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:50 AM.

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With the unseasonable weather we're having in Texas right now, it seemed like it was a good day to check on the fish. I was surprised to see them taking pellets after not being fed consistently for more than a month. Saw no action on larger topwaters, so I switched to hydrated pellets on a long shank hook with a split shot weight clamped 1 foot above. I'm extremely excited about the growth rates on these fish, especially considering nothing was stocked over 8 1/2 inches back in June. One thing I noticed on the larger fish that is not as apparent in the pictures is that they start to widen out (get deeper bodies) considerably after 9 inches. They also seem to be in better body condition compared to the last time I went fishing in November. I'm assuming this is because the water level rose so much that many of the yoy fish were forced in to shallower waters with less cover, making them easier prey?

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Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:51 AM.
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I know that this year's unseasonably warm temperatures have caused the extended survival period for tilapia here in texas, but recent threads on the forum have me thinking about adding them to my pond this spring. I understand that they take to pellets well, so that would equate to a higher feed bill, and I'm okay with that. I'd be stocking them mainly for weed control to make it easier for the greenies to get a meal, but the added bonus of millions of young tilapia swimming around for forage would be great. What drawbacks besides decreased predation of YOY GSF exist if I add tilapia to the pond?

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Connor,

Those are some dandy GSF. Probably state records in some states.


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Tilapia won't help you with weed control, they are stocked to provide more forage for predators in a pond, and to eat Filamentous Algae.


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As David said above some use a deer feeder to feed fish. I have been using one for 5 years now! I have mine in about 4 foot of water but it will chunk food out into the 8 foot area.



Pros -
1. Not near as pricey
2. Works real well I set feeding twice a day.
3. Throws food in about a 10 to 15 foot circle.
4. I have mine out far enough where is can throw food in a 360 which give the smaller fish near the shallow a better chance at getting some food as well.

Cons
1. Not as good looking smile
2. Harder to fill up either need to get in a boat to do it or I have used waiters and a step ladder to fill up course mine is in a relatively flat area so I can use a step ladder.
4. Must be in a relatively level /flat area.
5. If the coons find it you better get a varmint cage put on it or they will empty it in a couple days!!

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Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/20/16 09:57 AM.

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RC1 - Good, fair, helpful evaluation.
C.Kelley Keep up the good efforts and keep up reporting of your results of growing green sunfish. You have produced some nice big GSF to show what these fish are capable of being. Your advice and experiences with GSF will be helpful to others. Keep up the good work.

I have found that blue tilapia when stocked at the higher densities (abt.30-40 lbs/ac) will when the filamentous algae is rare eat a noticeable amount of the more delicate types of submerged vegetation. Note the two important items higher density of blue tilapia and the softer plans are selected & eaten first. Coarser leafed plants will be ignored. I was surprised and impressed to learn this fact.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/20/16 07:56 PM. Reason: edit fix

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Originally Posted By: ewest
Fish 1 and 2 from the early part of the thread look like HBG possibly Fx (GSF x BG) but look to have higher % GSF genes. The pic above looks like the highest % GSF and may be a very high % GSF . I would call it a GSF not a hybrid.


Eric I wonder if fish could be like some other species in that the offspring can 1. some look mostly like the father species, 2. some look mostly like the mother species, 3. and many have an intermediate look with characteristics in combination of both. I'm thinking of cattle or even humans where characteristics of the offspring can be anything from one extreme to the other, but with most showing features of both.

I don't know. Just asking. In other words, if a GSF female eggs are fertilized by a male BG, can a few of the offspring look more closely resembling the GSF, a few more resemble a BG, with most looking like what we typically think of HBG????

If that is possible, a hybrid showing more GSF parentage could be either the offspring of an F1 HBG x BG or simply a regular BG x GSF hybrid with natural variability leading it to look more like a GSF.

Like I said. I don't know. Just asking. Maybe it does not work the same way with fish as it does some other species. How much natural variability is there within a HBG spawn or between different male x female pairs?

Last edited by snrub; 01/20/16 11:07 AM.

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Connor you are giving me the itch to get to feeding my GSF better than I have been. After finding out my old pond was infested had GSF, decided to try and make lemonade out of lemons and I also am trying to grow the GSF up to good size. Now I return GSF back to the water that are over 6" and remove any smaller that I catch. Also have a modest feeding in this pond of about 2.5-3# per day and the pond is about an acre.

Nice looking GSF. Hope I can get some that size.


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snrub - natural variability of a species exists and it is important to know that degree or amount of variability especially when it comes to outward appearance. The variability from the "normal" or standard can vary from population to population and area of the country. Intermixing of genetics complicates the problem. When the variation becomes a consistent different trait or feature for numerous generations within a breeding population, those individuals are usually considered a new variety, strain, form, type, subspecies or sometimes a new species depending on the amount of or type of variation.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/20/16 07:55 PM.

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Tilapia work well when stocked very early at high densities. Once an infestation hits, nothing seems to work.


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.

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Originally Posted By: RC51
As David said above some use a deer feeder to feed fish. I have been using one for 5 years now! I have mine in about 4 foot of water but it will chunk food out into the 8 foot area.



Pros -
1. Not near as pricey
2. Works real well I set feeding twice a day.
3. Throws food in about a 10 to 15 foot circle.
4. I have mine out far enough where is can throw food in a 360 which give the smaller fish near the shallow a better chance at getting some food as well.

Cons
1. Not as good looking smile
2. Harder to fill up either need to get in a boat to do it or I have used waiters and a step ladder to fill up course mine is in a relatively flat area so I can use a step ladder.
4. Must be in a relatively level /flat area.
5. If the coons find it you better get a varmint cage put on it or they will empty it in a couple days!!


To add to what RC51 indicated in the "cons" department, when temperatures change, I have a lot of what appears to be fog (water vapor) that forms and blows across the pond. On certain mornings, the water vapor is so thick that it softens the pellets in the feeder to a mushy consistency to the touch. Then, as the temperatures rise, the feed dries into a brick-like consistency. The pellets will not feed down into the cone and the motor will just spin at the designated feeding times with no pellets being thrown. I've had to break the feed up with a stake to get it to feed back down into the cone...then, there's the mildew that forms in areas that don't completely dry. I've always read here on the forum to never feed mildewed pellets. Also, with the constant moisture issue, I could never get a feeder motor to last more than 6-9 months. I recently purchased a dock feeder. Best thing I ever did...

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Even with the addition of an automated feeder to the pond, would tilapia stocked at a lower density (5-10 lbs per acre) be an efficient way to maximize available forage for green sunfish? Also, since any fish over three inches long is out of the mouth gape range of the all but the largest green sunfish, could tilapia cause biomass issues in the pond? One of my concerns if that even though tilapia are tolerant of lower DO levels, my other fish could be put in jeopardy due to more pounds of fish in the water and, consequently, more oxygen being used up.

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Rex(Rainman) says that tilapia actually help the O2 levels.


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.

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Originally Posted By: Connor Kelley
Even with the addition of an automated feeder to the pond, would tilapia stocked at a lower density (5-10 lbs per acre) be an efficient way to maximize available forage for green sunfish? Also, since any fish over three inches long is out of the mouth gape range of the all but the largest green sunfish, could tilapia cause biomass issues in the pond? One of my concerns if that even though tilapia are tolerant of lower DO levels, my other fish could be put in jeopardy due to more pounds of fish in the water and, consequently, more oxygen being used up.


Conner, a low density stocking will not pose any new DO worries. As Dave mentioned, in most pond settings with detritus/muck on the bottom, tilapia will increase DO in otherwise anoxic parts of the pond. Tilapia will grow about an inch a week to 6" then add more girth than length, so I'm sure many GSF will get fat and happy too. My only concern is how many Tilapia would survive predation and possibly cause an aesthetic issue when dying once your pond cools. There is no danger of an excess load of nutrient, even if terrestrial critters don't perform a quick cleanup, because any unused, unbound nutrient not used in GSF growth, is just recycled from what was already present in your water.



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Conner, young tilapia fry to fingerling sizes are pretty agile and a lot of them or the majority are IMO likely to not get eaten by your GSF. In my experience with GSF they are not nearly as aggressive as bass for chasing/catching small fish. GSF like the slower moving prey. However it is probably a good idea to try some tilapia to see how well they perform helping with your weed problem. Report back with your results of how many small dead tilapia you find when they die of cold temperatures.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/22/16 12:05 PM.

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Update: With the water temperatures rising, I've been feeding more as time allows. With the longer daylight hours, I have been able to go out to the pond more and check the fish. A few I caught last week were in good condition, but not excellent like I would prefer. I was curious as whether it would be more economical to stock tilapia at the earlier-mentioned density of 5-10 lbs per acre and feed a lower (32%) protein ration, or omit tilapia and feed optimal bluegill feed. Obviously it'd be best to do both, but it makes me cringe a little to think of spending $150+ on tilaplia and another $200+ on feed. My hesitation with going the latter route is that weeds could get to undesirable levels and discourage natural predation of YOY gsf. The concern with doing it the first way mentioned is that I can't control what percentage of the feed I throw to the gsf and not the tilapia, meaning that the gsf would either eat less, or eat more of the (I'm assuming less nutritious) YOY tilapia or YOY gsf. I should mention that I am going to build multiple traps to set out around the pond to catch younger fish and fin clip them to make them easier prey, whether or not tilapia are added.

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In my personal pond, I stocked Tilapia at the rate of 40# per surface acre. I didn't see any eating the Optimal that I was feeding last year.

Tilapia will eat filamentous algae, Triploid Grass Carp will concentrate on eating the underwater weeds. If you have an underwater weed problem, Tilapia won't help to the extent that Triploid Grass Carp would.


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In the past 36 hours we've gotten 5 inches of rain with more on the way. My pond is at the water level where it must spread outward another 1/2 acre in order to rise 1 foot. I saw thousands of 1-2 inch lepomis young of last year. I'm assuming they're bluegill because I see two class distinctions in this area of inflow that I'd like to label as somewhat of a delta. These fish are also entirely different from the two size classes I see in deeper areas of the pond as well, meaning I believe there to be at least 4 different spawn classes of fish in the pond, including the green sunfish yoy. Should I be concerned with such a large number of forage sized being possibly trapped when the water level recedes in this area?

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I expect a lot of the fish will be trapped in small pools when the water recedes. But, an awful lot of them will follow the water as it drops back to the original pond. But, if you lose a thousand or so of them, they will quickly be replenished by the spawns.


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My pond floods/backs-up over once in a while and it does get small fish trapped in lower pools. Depending on management goals, this could be good/bad. If you had a swale ( as deep as deepest part of the pool) that would lead back to the pond from the pools, the fish will go back when water recedes. Of course if this is the case, you wouldn't have pools. smile You can always net a good amount out of the pools to move back, if you can beat the herons to it!

I have found tilapia will eat pellets, both Aquamax and Optimal. Actually, when feeding the Optimal I found that catching the tilapia in the fall was easier. They are more likely to grab a worm on the hook since it is similar shapes. I also think the tilapia are much more aggressive than BG at the feeding. Can't say about GSF, I would think they feed more aggressively than BG.

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I actually wet a line for the first time in at least 6 weeks today and am encouraged by my findings but need some culling advice.

The bluegill spawns' growth from last year is acceptable, but not excellent (no bluegill were sampled over 2 inches).
The green sunfish spawn from last year have grown at or above par (year class average is 4 inches and chunky).
The one adult green sunfish sampled today was 8 inches long and in good body condition.

As far as biomass goes, how far away from carrying capacity should the pond be? It was Esshup I believe that mentioned the largest GSF would function as <9 inch bass, so can the predator carrying capacity be calculated the same as with bass?

Because I'm lacking sufficient numbers of top tier predators, who needs to get pulled? I'm thinking that more GSF need to be culled than bluegill, just because of the difference in forage production capabilities. With the tilapia coming into the mix soon too, I'm sure that'll make figuring out a balance all the more difficult/interesting.

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