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#508098 06/25/19 08:51 AM
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Augie Offline OP
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I picked up 50 1.5"-3" RES yesterday at NEMO Fisheries.

After I got home with them I put them in a 2' diameter x 2' tall mesh cage. I want to make sure there aren't any
accidental BG in the pond, so I decided to cage them for awhile to let them recover from the stress of transport,
and I can inspect them later to make sure they're all RES before releasing them into the pond.

Then it occurred to me that if I keep them in the cage for a month or two maybe I can get them started on pellets.

The acquisition of these fish was a spur of the moment thing, so I find myself with fish, but no proper fish food.
I'll order a bag of Optimal today, but until it arrives I need something to feed them.

I'm thinking minced shrimp or catfish bellies or whatever other kind of fish I can pick up at the grocery today.

I've read several threads on training RES, and have a rudimentary understanding of what has been done by others
to get them started. I just want to do my best to keep them in good shape until the pellets arrive.

Am I on track with my thinking here?

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Last edited by Augie; 04/21/20 10:50 AM. Reason: fixing the pics
Augie #508101 06/25/19 09:23 AM
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Augie, good thinking on trying to pellet train those RES. Until the Optimal arrives, offer them anything and everything you can get your hands on-yes, minced shrimp and fish, red wigglers, minced earthworms or nightcrawlers, mealworms, aquarium tropical fish food, crumbled moistened cat food, etc.

Do you have any other pellet feeding fish in the pond that you could catch and place in the cage to show the RES what It's all about? I put several fingerling GSF in an aquarium last year. They wouldn't eat anything for a couple of weeks. It seemed they were going to shrink down to nothing and starve. I added feeder goldfish who encouraged the greenies to try pellets, etc. Now they're all voraciously gobbling feed.

If you have vegetation in the pond that has snails crawling it, pull up some plants and stick some sprigs of that in the cage. You might put something solid on the bottom of the cage, such as plastic or metal, that would stop the food from falling through the mesh. This would give the fish more time to inspect the particles as they lay on the cage "bottom".

Remember, RES are low light feeders, so shade over the cage may help.

I'm probably reinventing a wheel that is already spinning, but these are some of my random thoughts.

Good luck.

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Aside from the forage minnows that went in last month these baby RES are the only fish in the pond.
I've been tossing a cup of catfish food every evening and the minnows have been cleaning it up.
I suppose I could catch a couple dozen and toss in the cage with the RES. Can't imagine it would hurt anything to try it anyway.

Right now the cage is sitting on the bottom of the pond, so whatever I toss in will settle where they can get to it.

I didn't even think about worms/nightcrawlers. Those are easy to come by and don't cost anything but the time to turn a few shovels full of dirt in my garden.

I wonder what the wife will say if she catches me squishing crawlers through her garlic press?

Augie #508109 06/25/19 10:57 AM
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That's just too funny imagining your getting busted using the garlic press.

Maybe the scale of the task requires the NutriBullet blender or the Ninja food processor. Either may be quicker to clean, hiding the evidence.

I'm wondering where this ends up...

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I bet a garlic press would make short work of a popcorn shrimp.
Think I'll buy one of my own.

Better safe than sorry. lol

I do like your idea of putting a tray in the bottom of the cage. I'll do that when I move the cage.

Plan is to hang the cage off the dock, but I need to build another 8' section of walkway before I pin the dock to the pond bottom.
I've got the lumber/fasteners/pipe for mud poles, etc. Waiting on the brown santa truck to bring another float.
It won't take long at all to finish the dock once the float arrives.

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Originally Posted By: 4CornersPuddle
That's just too funny imagining your getting busted using the garlic press.

Maybe the scale of the task requires the NutriBullet blender or the Ninja food processor. Either may be quicker to clean, hiding the evidence.

I'm wondering where this ends up...


I had buy a cheap ($10) blender to convert my Black Soldier Larvae into meal. There was no way in h#@* the wife was gonna let me use the bullet!


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
Augie #508116 06/25/19 01:23 PM
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why turn it into meal? To feed the other larva or do fish not eat the larvae unless they are ground up?

Augie #508117 06/25/19 01:43 PM
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Frozen bloodworms from the pet store, thaw them in water, feed in the shade.



Augie #508121 06/25/19 03:31 PM
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The bigger fish eat the whole larvae. But the feed I'm throwing,AM400, is too big for the fry and YOY, so I grind some up into meal and pour it out on the water. The minnows and small fish make the water shimmer as they suck the particles off the surface.


.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
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The Optimal shipped today, but there may not be any left alive by the time it gets here.

Two floaters in the cage yesterday. Five more floaters today.

Pulled it up to see if there were any sinkers and a couple of what's left look rather lethargic. And there's only 32 in there. 7+32 doesn't equal 50 if my math is right.

They were nice and frisky when I picked them up. By the time I got home none of them looked very happy, so I only gave the bag about a 15 minute float because it was obvious they were suffocating and I wanted to get them into the water before they croaked.

$35 worth of fish isn't really a big deal, but it is a bit disappointing that they didn't make it here in better shape.

I'll call the hatchery tomorrow and see what they say.

Oh, I chopped up a couple nightcrawlers and tossed in yesterday evening, and again today. As many minnow fry as there are swimming around they'd probably be fine without being fed.

So I'll keep an eye on them and see what happens, but I'm not terribly optimistic about how it's going to go with this batch.

Augie #508196 06/26/19 08:46 PM
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John

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snrub #508204 06/27/19 08:49 AM
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Thanks for the links. Much to learn...

Augie #508272 06/28/19 09:01 PM
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One dead RES yesterday, no more dead ones today. The 30-ish that are left seem quite healthy.

I moved the cage next to the dock yesterday.

Been feeding chopped up nightcrawlers because that's what I had on hand.

Optimal arrived today. Mixed a couple tablespoons of that with the chopped crawlers that I fed this evening.

Noticed that a few tadpoles and some sort of water bugs had made their way into the cage. There wasn't much left of them. All of the small bits were gone.

So it looks like the 30-ish RES that are still in there are little savages and probably will do fine from here on out.

I'll continue to monitor and report.

Augie #508363 07/01/19 03:51 PM
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Two more dead RES since last post.

They like minced bluegill and nightcrawler.
The most aggressive feeders will come to the top of the cage and fight over that stuff.
They mostly spit the Optimal pellets.

Experiment continues...

Augie #508368 07/01/19 04:13 PM
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Keep up your feed training, some will transition to pellets but it takes time. I like your addition of minced BG - you're doing everything right, keep on it.

I find hydrated feed is far easier to train fish with - can transition to dry floating feed later once they are on the hydrated. When I feed my caged fish daily I start with dry, floating feed until they won't take anymore, then I switch to hydrated feed and they will consume 4-5x more than dry float feeding. Pretty amazing how much more they can fit into their bellies.

I was losing several caged BRES and HBG I purchased in May - fungus developing in areas where they had lost scales or had minor injuries due to rough handling from hatchery. Lusk taught me many years ago to combat bacterial infections by feeding medicated pellets. I use antibiotic designed for fowl, cattle, horses or hogs either liquid or powder form and mix it with hydrated feed. After a couple days feeding the morts dropped from 10+ daily to 1-2, and after 3 days of treatment I didn't lose another fish. Continued antibiotic hydrated feedings for 14 days, and all surviving fish are eating well and demonstrate no lingering effects of the infection.


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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Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
I find hydrated feed is far easier to train fish with...

Continued antibiotic hydrated feedings for 14 days


What a difference a day makes.

The pellets that I'd mixed in with the minced BG/crawler were quite mushy this evening. Rejection rate went from almost 100% to virtually zero.

A solid dozen of them came to the top when I opened the cage. They just hung there and stared at me. When I started dropping in little globs they were quite competitive in their feeding, and a few more swam up from the bottom and joined in the feast.

Several of them would take the feed from my hand.

I fed until they lost interest. I'm going to miss three days this coming weekend so I'll give them all they want until then.

Mixing some meat in with the pellets was key, I think. I'll continue that next week, then gradually transition to pellets alone, then starting working in the dry pellets. Maybe feed some minced fish/crawlers out of hand every few days just to entertain myself. lol

I don't really want to turn these fish into pets because I intend to eventually catch some of them and eat them, but it is a hoot when they swim up and take it out of my hand.

Your mention of feeding antibiotic sparked a memory. Many years ago when I was #1 bait catcher for my Grampa Wilkie, he always added a couple or three tablespoons of tetracycline powder to the water in the bait tank after we'd been out seining. I expect that I can get my hands on some of that easy enough. It might not help with this batch, but I'll be getting more fish this fall. It would be good to have some on hand if I need it.

Based on what I've observed with these little guys I'm thinking I'll build a couple more cages for the YP and SMB that are coming in the fall.

Thanks again for the advice. It's much appreciated.

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Couldn't put my hands on any tetracycline today, but I got some antibiotic stuff at the local aquarium store that will have to do for now. The guy that runs the place was a bit intrigued by what I'm doing.

I didn't sample the medicine, but it must not taste so good. The fish didn't seem quite as enthusiastic about eating as they were yesterday. I picked up a small bag of frozen bloodworms while I was there. They aren't crazy about those either. Not a big enough bite maybe?

I'm out of the minced bluegill, but I've got a couple skipjack in the freezer. I'll chop a piece of that up and see how they like it tomorrow.

Augie #508426 07/03/19 12:19 AM
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RES like subdued light. Might consider some shade for them.


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Augie #508510 07/04/19 06:55 PM
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The aquarium store medicine is working. Visible reduction in fin fungus. Taking well to hydrated Optimal.

There are ~15 left of the "50" that I bought.

They are savages. I'm glad they don't have teeth.

Augie #508512 07/04/19 11:52 PM
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Im glad to hear it buddy - that treatment has saved my fish twice now. I might just employ it anytime I cage new fish.


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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The little savages were happy to see me yesterday after my long weekend in sunny Iowa.

They are readily taking the hydrated Optimal. They prefer it stuck to a piece of fish or crawler, but at this point they will take pellets alone, won't spit out a pellet until they're starting to get full, and they will come to the surface any time of the day to do it.

I'll get the name of the medication the aquarium store dude sold to me. It seems to be quite effective. I haven't pulled the cage for a close look, but I'm not noticing any fin fungus when the fish come up for chow.

Augie #508614 07/08/19 11:49 AM
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I suggest using sun dried or freeze krill like you get from the pet store. You might also consider shading the pen as the RES are less inclined to feed at surface when light levels are high. Otherwise look into a sinking diet.


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Augie #508615 07/08/19 12:07 PM
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Great work Augie - that's a graduate level class you just aced! I lost a lot of fish due to transfer stress before I learned about the antibiotic treatment - you're way ahead of my curve. Congrats.


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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Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
Great work Augie - that's a graduate level class you just aced! I lost a lot of fish due to transfer stress before I learned about the antibiotic treatment - you're way ahead of my curve. Congrats.


Your experience has me considering the impact of feeding medicated feed before seining my grow out pond and transferring fish to my large pond. Hmmmm......


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Augie #508661 07/09/19 12:22 PM
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The stuff I used from the aquarium store is called NeoPlex Marine and Freshwater Medication. It's a neomycine sulfate product. Powder form. It's labeled for addition to aquarium water - no mention of oral application, but under the circumstances I didn't see a downside to trying it.

I just mixed in an amount that "looked right" with a couple tablespoons of Optimal and some minced bluegill/crawler meat. Nothing scientific about how I did it, but it worked. It seems they don't particularly care for the taste of the medicine - if I put too much in the feed they would spit a lot of it - so I had to fiddle with the amount for the first couple days. After they got used to it I've increased the dose and they don't seem to be terribly put off by that.

I went from losing one or two a day and the rest of them with fin fungus to apparently healthy fish within a week. I can still see a bit of fungus on two of them, but it's less every day. They are eating like pigs and getting fat. I try to feed at least three times per day, and I drop it in until they stop taking it. They all look like tiny little footballs now.

This is a very small sample, but it has led me to decide that any new fish that come to my pond will 1) be caged for feed training, 2) receive medicated feed for two weeks post-arrival, 3) spend a few minutes in a tank of salted (Snipe walleye handling tip) AND medicated water before going into the cage in the pond, 4) when I travel to buy fish in the future they will come home in medicated water.

Aquarium store guy gave me a tip that I think will come in handy for training/medicating fish that tend to be bottom feeders - take whatever fish/bug/worm/pellet/medicine mix you're going use, spread in a very thin layer on a teflon cookie sheet, pour plain boiled gelatin over the top just enough to bond the food mix, refrigerate until cool. Then peel the congealed mixture from the pan, chop/shred to appropriate size, and feed it out. They will eat some of it on the drop, and the gelatin will keep what makes it to the bottom in coherent bits they can find and eat off the floor.

He said to guesstimate the amount that will be used in a week and make that much in one batch. Keep the mixture refrigerated. Only take out the amount required for a single feeding. When you run out just make another batch.

I plan to try this method for starting my YP when they come.

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