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#484285 12/18/17 06:59 PM
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A bunch of my bluegill have developed what i call blotches and lessions on them. It seemed to start in an area below my waterfall that is seperated from the main pond by another waterfall that is used as a level control. I could actually see the fish developing these blotches on them, then they started to die, not all at once, and not all of them had these blotches. Some small catfish have also been affected. Now some of my large bluegill in the main pond have started to die, with the same type of blotches. I dug a new small pond, and used 100% well water, added about 100 new bluegill from a great supplier, and started feeding them the same food from the small area, and noticed blotches on them within two weeks, then one death. I threw all of that feed away, as it was the only common denominator, and got new feed.
The problem started about 2 months ago, while water was still warm.
Pond is about 3/4 acre in just north of Houston, Texas.
Please help with identify problem and a way to cure.

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Billy E
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BillyE,
sorry I can't be any help to you but that is a terrible situation... Hope you can get it cleared up soon!


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What % of your BG have this condition? All you show are large adults. I doubt it is the fish food.
















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Thanks for responding ewest,
I cant say for sure on % of overall bluegill in the main pond.
A large % of the ones in the small area below my waterfall seemed to have had some blotches on them, and I have had about 15-20 dead ones over the course of the last two months show up in that area, all very small, but there are no big ones in this area as I drained and cleaned this area this spring. The only ones I have seen in the main pond that have died or near death, have been large ones. I do have a lot of very large blue cats in the main pond that may be eating the small ones, as they seems to become very lethargic before dying.
The bluegill are the only ones I have seen affected in the main pond, while I have seen some dead small mudcats in the small area with similar issues.
With the weather warming up this week, I may do some sampling (fishing) to see if I can catch some and if they have the same issues on them.
I have turned off my feeder until I get this resolved, should I resume with limited feeding to keep the fish acclimated to the feeder?


Billy E
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IMO in that second picture it looks kind of like the fish has wounds from some predator.


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That was the only fish with lesions that deep. Most are like the other two with an occasional lession.


Billy E
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I used to assume the fungus issues associated with cold water was food / fatty acid profile related. After running trials with Bluegill in cages and having heavy losses that involved fungus, I am thinking something else is at least an overriding factor. The key trial had several diets, each represented by 2 cages full of fish in four ponds so each diet was fed to eight cages and each pond had all diet represented. Diets were chosen to have a range of fatty acid profiles following theory that is the cause. Two ponds had light mortality as in the 5 to 10% range, another had about 40% mortality, and another had more than 80% mortality. There was no obvious pattern within ponds as a function of diet. Water quality was not an issue as that was checked regularly even with ice and snow cover over ice.

My assumption at this point is the fungus is secondary. Results of that particular trial completely destroyed or effort to compare the effects of winter feeding as function of diet.

I really do not like overwintering Bluegill in ponds that were fed heavy the growing season before as it can be replicated even when cages not involved.

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This is just an observation, nothing scientific.

I have a holding cage that measures something around 40"x40"x40". I use it to hold fish till I'm ready to clean a big group at once.

I can put one CC in there and they will be ok for maybe up to a week before it starts to get some skin problems with what appears to be fungus. I can put a single CC and a bunch of BG and get along ok. But if I put two or more CC, I better be planning on cleaning them within a day or two at most. They badger each other and within a week one will be covered with fungus and torn up skin. CC just do not hold well in the cage.

I can put 40 or 50 BG in there and two weeks later they will be fine (though I rarely leave them for more than a week).

No conclusions with that observation. Just what we have learned through experience.

Last edited by snrub; 12/20/17 08:11 AM.

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I see most outbreaks when there is extended periods of ice cover, especially after a rapid cool down prior to ice cover. By extended I mean more than a couple of weeks.


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These fish are coming out of ponds in Cleveland, Texas, just north of Houston. The water temperature when the problem first started was probably around 65+F. The main pond is stocked with Tilipia, and I have only seen one large one float up, which tells me the water temp was right about 55 before this warm weather started.
Weather this week has been in the 70's, with today about 80.
I have been told that this is typically a cold water problem, but I do not feel that is the case for this problem, as the problem started before the cold weather came in.


Billy E
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Fungus is generally a sign of some other stress related issue. Stressors like rapid temp changes , spawning , overcrowding , poor nutrition , intense competition/predation and others can cause fungus. Determining what that/those stressors are would be the place to start. I have not seen normal supplemental feeding in a pond cause a fungus problem. If feeding is a large part of the fishes nutrition (aquaculture), crowded conditions, high competition , cages , pens etc then yes , but it is the conditions not the feed. Over longer time frames bad food may cause problems with diet and condition and may cause water quality problems.

Last edited by ewest; 12/20/17 11:43 AM.















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Feed promotes conditions changes by the addition of organic matter. Feeding regimen I typically is not supplemental, rather feed impacts on growth dwarf the forage impacts. The organic matter may be promoting abundance of bacteria / fungi that are facultative pathogens.


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No expert here, but if this is a stress induced situation, did the hurricane/flooding impact your area this year? Are you certain the water quality has not been affected through runoff, leaching and/or temporary raising of the natural water table? Just a thought.


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Great question DamdWaters.
Yes, our area was severally impacted by the flooding this year. The ponds did overflow, but there were no other water sheds that invaded them. All of the water that flows into the ponds are from my property, 5 acres, and no stream or springs (that I know of) feed into them.
Now that you mentioned it, it does seem like the problem started about a month after the water went down. I don't overly fertilize the yard, and use almost no pesticides, so I don't think there was a lot of contamination put in, but maybe some. The only thing that does not make since, is I dug a small tank for overwinter and raising some bluegill in, about 3000 gallons, and I noticed a few of them started developing the same symptoms, with two deaths out of 100 over the last three weeks. 100% of that water was well water, which in the past has proved to be very favorable to any fish I put in tanks. The only quality that stood out when I tested the well water, was the high PH, but again, that was just on the small tank, and not in the ponds. The only common items between all the ponds/tanks has been one bucket of feed, that I have had for most of the summer. I used it to hand feed the fish below the waterfall, which is where the problem started, and has been the worse at. I then used some on the new fish in the fresh small tank, and right away they started developing the same problem. Feed was then thrown away, so even the dogs could not get to it.
I am going to test the water in the area below my waterfall tonight to see if anything stands out. Maybe something got in there during the flood and started this problem, as it is where all the runoff goes before entering the main pond. Maybe the chemistry of the pond changed enough to stress the fish and allow the fungus to get started.
So maybe there is hope...
My wife will be happy if the solution is time, instead of money.


Billy E
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One more thing to add to the equation, I added some bacteria tablets to the pond right before the problem started.


Billy E
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My thought is that if the ground or surface water rose to a level it has never been or has rarely been at, it could have hit something that was otherwise stable which was then set free by the high water then pulled into your body of water and possibly changed the chemistry. I'm obviously not familiar with your geography, but I wouldn't trust the assumption that the water in your BOW includes only the runoff from 5 acres. Do you have water samples from the past that could be compared to current samples? Adjusting PH is relatively easy to do.


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Just checked pond water and found PH 6.8, just a trace of Ammonia, trace of Nitrite, and trace of Nitrate. All looks good to me.
I have seen some small bluegills with growths on them but alive, in the shallows.
I had several large Tilapia turn up over last couple of days due to temperature I assume. No growths, blotches, or lesions on any of them.
Problem seems to be letting up as no deaths in recent days.
Bluegill in new small pond were eating today and I did not see any marks on them.

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Billy E
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Just as a follow up on this, I started seeing less and less problems over the course of a few months, and eventually no problem at all.
I consulted some of the very large fish farmers i know and they said i could either spend a bunch of money on antibiotics or just let it run it course, and they were correct.
Over the last 6-7 years, this problem has not come back, so to anyone else that sees this on theirs, there is hope and time does heal.


Billy E
Cleveland Texas

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I had a rash of fungus infected fish a couple years ago. Seemed to be caused when I over fertilized the pond but there wasn't enough alkalinity for a bloom.


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