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My first fish kill
#523295 07/06/20 10:33 AM
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I had a feeling it was coming because of all the excess plant life in the pond. But I can't say it was the only reason I found 16 HSB dead and floating over the past two days. Most were the larger HSB in the pond with some going up to 7 or 8 lbs. So here is what I think happened. First off about 70% of the pond has vegetation in it which I have been told will lower DO at night. I increased the aeration run time from 3 hrs to 4.5 hrs running it only during night and early morning and we had 3 days of heavy rains with most every morning till noon where it was cloudy. Looking back I wished I had not run the aeration at all and almost did not run it because of all the vegetation. I ran it with a very slow start up and the fish died when I increased the run times. The system had run for a week @ 3 hrs per night but when I increased run time to 4.5 hrs the fish died. I think it was a combination of low DO due to plants but when adding the diffusers run times to the Pond it brought up dead water reducing the DO even more and it also increased the water temps. One thing I noticed this summer is the water temps were much cooler than other summers due to shading from the plants. So. Plants, aeration and water temperature along several cloudy days killed of the fish. I have only found one dead lmb about two weeks ago, it was in the 4lb range. No CNBG or RES have been seen dead and or floating. This morning the fish were actively feeding. Highflyer and I had a conversation a few weeks back about the numbers of HSB in the pond. He thought I had too many per acre and I can't rule this out either. I continue to run the diffusers @ 4.5 hrs but no plans on increasing run times.

I would suggest that anyone who has Bushy Pondweed (Southern Naiad) you need to get rid of it as soon as you first see it in the pond. In my pond it is a very aggressive growing pondweed and grew so fast I did not realize how fast it can take over a pond. Seemed like it had taken over in just a couple of weeks. You can't kill it off in the summer because treatment can kill the fish so it's pretty much mechanical removal and I'm not so sure you can keep up with it's growth. you can kill it off in very early spring using a contact herbicide. And maybe treat it in late Nov or early Dec will see if that works. Ok, I'm through venting.

Last edited by TGW1; 07/06/20 10:44 AM.

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Tracy
Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523297 07/06/20 10:41 AM
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Sorry to hear about the kill. I have to ask...Why do you only run the air 3-4.5 hours per night? Does this runtime achieve a full pond turnover in that period? Are all the HSB from the same stocking and how old are they?


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: My first fish kill
Quarter Acre #523299 07/06/20 10:52 AM
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Here in E. Texas if you run it any more it will raise water temps in July and Aug and early Sept to the 87 degrees or higher. Or it does in my pond. I also understand it is not necessary to turn over a ponds water in a 24 hr period. And the fish were ladder stocked each year for the past 4 and a half years. I can't say what the turnover time is with all the veggies in the pond. If I run the diffusers in the blanket of S. N. all you see are a tiny bubbles with very little water movement. When i first started running bottom diffusers i was told to run them 24 hrs and then as time went on i understood to run it only at night here and then it was said, "it's ok if it takes two or three days to turn the pond over"

Last edited by TGW1; 07/06/20 11:02 AM.

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Tracy
Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523304 07/06/20 12:01 PM
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When Texas got the hottest, George Glazener ran aeration 24/7 - a fountain during the day and bottom diffusers all night. And he kept his HSB (and all the other fish) alive through 3 or 4 drought years in a row


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Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523309 07/06/20 12:59 PM
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The only fish kill I ever had was when I was limiting my aeration time run and was trying running mostly in the daytime with the idea of turning the pond over during the time oxygen was super saturated. I was not home at the time as we were on vacation and only had the information from my grandson who was removing the dead fish. Most the largest fish and mostly CC with some large LMB also. Not many BG.

I had him put the aeration back on 24/7 and had no further problems.

Right now, right or wrong, I am running about 20 hours a day, shutting the air off for a few of the hottest hours of the day on each side of noon in an attempt to not heat the water quite as much.

If I ever get around to putting on the scuba tank and servicing the diffusers I think I might relocate them. When installed I put in the very deepest part of the pond. I think I might move them up a foot or two above the bottom.

Lots of variables in aeration that I sure do not have a handle on. When we have lots of wind i doubt if I even need the aeration. Back when I had some shore line erosion before I put the rock lining along the edge it was surprising seeing the currents that are generated in a pond by wind. I could watch the brown stream of water go out into the green pond water. Put a little pond dye in somewhere and watch it if you don't believe it.

Aeration is as much an art form as a science from my perspective.

Last edited by snrub; 07/06/20 01:01 PM.

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Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523312 07/06/20 02:17 PM
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Tracy, very sorry about your HSB. How many did you stock?

Yep, as Theo posted, George ran surface and subsurface aeration after he had a fish kill. IIRC, his son Jeff currently only uses surface aeration, but it's been a year or so since I was over there.


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Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523314 07/06/20 02:49 PM
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I think I read on here somewhere that HSB at around the 7-8 lb range start to become more susceptible to temperature and DO changes, so that would probably explain why. Sorry for your loss frown

Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523332 07/07/20 07:28 AM
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Al, ladder stocked 80 over a four year period, stocking both in spring and fall. Why so many? It was because in the beginning I would stock them and never see them at the feeders. So, I was not sure of survival. And almost never catch one. But, now looking back it was more about my fertile water and my high forage numbers. A little over a year ago I added the Alum/lime and water cleared to 30" and I started seeing the fish and was catching alot of them. I would see schools with 40 or so HSB in the 3 to 7lb range and very fat and healthy. Course they were feed trained and feed them most days with Purina LMB feed. I'm pretty sure there are still a good number of them based on a hand feeding trip yesterday. But I may see more dead ones today, if I do I will have to gather them up. I believe that when I increased the run time, it is what killed the fish. And I think it has settled down based on the fish actively feeding. The diffusers that are running do not set on bottom but 27" off bottom.

The first year i had the diffusers the water temp was seen at 92 top to bottom from 24/7 run times. You don't want that. I agree with snrub, there is a science to it and it's more about where, and the location of your pond.

Last edited by TGW1; 07/07/20 07:37 AM.

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Tracy
Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523333 07/07/20 08:05 AM
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One thing about setting the diffusers up off the bottom is it will create an area of anoxic water below them. Or at least that is my assumption to get a thermocline and cooler lower water.

This is just thinking out loud. I'm not stating any of this as fact. Just discussion material.

So based on the above thinking there would still be the potential of a minor "turnover" of that bottom water. Say there is a big cold rain or maybe a really windy day after a long hot still spell.

Of course this lower water would be a much lower percentage of the total water volume that what would be without aeration, but there might still be an anoxic zone if the diffusers were high enough off the bottom.

Does this line of thinking make sense? Or am I splitting hairs? If it does make sense how do we manage around it? Or is it of such minor consequence that it is irrelevant?

Sometimes it seems like the more we know the more we realize we don't know. Or know just enough to be dangerous.


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Re: My first fish kill
snrub #523335 07/07/20 08:39 AM
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I would think it would create a vacuum effect and draw the water up from lower... again just thinking

Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523336 07/07/20 08:58 AM
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I`m thinking along Pat`s line on this. Even if the diffusers are setup 12"-20" off the bottom it`s still creating a vacuum draw of water that pulls dead water from below and lifts it. Placing aeration in my opinion would be the most important thing. If the system is undersized that I could see causing dead zones, that are not moving with the upward flow.

Last edited by Snakebite; 07/07/20 08:58 AM.

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Re: My first fish kill
Pat Williamson #523338 07/07/20 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Pat Williamson
I would think it would create a vacuum effect and draw the water up from lower... again just thinking

I believe that you are correct. I don't see how it could work any other way.

The bubbles go up, and bring water with them. When it gets to the surface the only place left to go is outward from the bubble column.
So you get a vortex effect around the diffuser, but vertical rather than horizontal like is seen in a whirlpool or river eddy. Everything in
the water such as weed growth, rock piles, brush, dock posts/floats, etc., will have some effect on the distribution of those currents.
Bottom contour will also have a great effect - dropoffs, humps, ridges, etc. If the pond is anything other than a round bowl with a
smooth bottom, and a single diffuser set dead center, there must be areas that receive a greater degree of mixing compared to other areas.

I set the diffuser in my pond 4' off the bottom with the intention of leaving some undisturbed water for a cool water refuge area.
Is 4' enough? I'm not sure. The thermometer I bought only has a 10' cord. Right now my pond is 83.5° at 6", and 82.4° at 10'.
I really need a longer cord to gather meaningful data. Anecdotally, we are able to feel noticeably cooler pockets of water when
we go swimming.

We've all read Cody's comments relating to temp/DO preferences. Those among us who are anglers know that it's quite common
to catch fish below the thermocline during the hot part of the year. Do they stay there all the time? Obviously not, but it's apparent
that they spend time there. Do they go there just to feed, or do they go there to cool off, and maybe get a snack if the opportunity
presents? Who knows?

I think snrub called it when he said aeration is an art, rather than a science.

Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523339 07/07/20 10:31 AM
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Experience at my 1/4 acre pond has proven that the 3 diffusers, set about 3 feet off the bottom, turn over the entire water column (no thermocline retained). One head in 10 foot of water (7' from the surface), another in 7 foot, and the 3rd in 6 foot...equally spaced on the dam half of the pond. I have taken temp readings (top to bottom) during initial start-ups that indicated that the system turns the entire water column over in a matter of hours. Within hours, the entire water column is the same temp top to bottom (within a couple degrees). The idea of a retained thermocline, with an adequate air diffused aeration system, must only be possible in larger bodies of water with substantial depth. I have yet to experiment with any heads shallower that describe above.

My concern regarding running the air less than necessary (whatever that is) is that it would not be bringing bad water up enough to make it good water and keep it that way (This is where, I assume, the "Turnover per Day" rule of thumb comes from). Hence, periodically bringing worse water up and mixing it with good water...making good water less good. I'd rather have good water at the top and bad water at the bottom compared to mediocre water throughout (and cyclic as well). I am not saying that I think this is what's going on with Tracy's pond...just making conversation and would love to hear others opinions on this topic.

I determine my air run-times during the worst of the summer by comparing the ambient air temps at night to the water temps of the pond. I will run my air at night as long as the air temps are below the pond's water temp near the surface (about 12-18" down). Example: If the 12-18" deep pond water temp is 85 degrees F...I don't turn the air on at night until the air temps are well below that (5 degrees or so). Air temps less than water temps means you will be cooling the pond by exposing the warmer water at the cooler air at the air to water interface. Overnight, my pond temps equalize top to bottom due to the turnovers and I will turn the air off in the morning as soon as daytime air temps exceed the water temp. This is where the '"art" comes in along with some other forms of magic...I, obviously, do not change my run-times daily. So, I have to watch/predict the highs and lows for the month and set the system accordingly with the timer. The depth at which I measure the water temp could be different for every pond too. It all depends on how the temp gradient is from top to bottom by the end of the day while the air is off. I try to find a depth that represents an average temp.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523350 07/07/20 03:29 PM
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Just for reference for this discussion I am running a Gast 1023 rotary vane pump max flo 10cfm into three diffuser bases with double 9" Matala diffusers in a three acre pond with the diffusers in a crescent pattern following the deepest part of the pond around the dam. The pump is also running two single diffusers in my sediment and forage ponds so the pump output is divided between 8, 9" membrane diffusers but only 6 are in the main 3 acre pond. I have the flow set pretty low to those two very small ponds (1/10th and 1/20th acre respectively).

I might be getting around 8 cfm in the main 3 acre pond split between the 6 diffuser heads. They are at about a 9' depth plus or minus a foot at the bottom of the pond. Right now running about 19 or 20 hours a day being shut off around mid day.

I'm pretty sure I don't know what I am doing. But that rarely stops me anyway.

John

Last edited by snrub; 07/07/20 03:32 PM.

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Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523354 07/07/20 11:59 PM
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I'll add my observations from watching HSB in large impoundments here as it may apply to some extent..
In 2003 we had a situation in which we had some very high-unseasonably high- temps with near calm conditions for an extended period. Several weeks went by like this followed by a frontal system that brought record rainfall over a period of nearly a week. After about 4 days into the rainy, cool period we began hearing reports from the public about finding floating HSB.
What we later found was it wasn't just 1 lake, or even 1 state. This entire area including the western half of KS and SW Nebraska experienced the same ordeal and that was giant dead wipers everywhere.
The rapid change of 2 very opposite conditions were believed to have caused enough stress in a combination that the wipers didn't handle well. We know they don't handle stress well and in some lakes suffering low water conditions it's obvious they didn't handle low DO levels either. Wipers are funny fish and I feel there are a lot of unknowns yet but it's very obvious that if water conditions change for the worse the wipers (HSB) of large sizes are the first to show up.
It has to suck seeing that many fish that are almost like family, die.. Raising them to large sizes only to see them perish is not what we signed up for in this pond game. I hope things turn around for you Tracy.
This aeration game has a lot of unknows as well and I'm at the bottom of the pile in the knowledge area of this but after a month of having mine off due to turbidity from excessive craw activity and results of my trapping efforts, I'm going back to 1 hr a night for a few days then increasing 10-15 min a night per Cody recommendations until I'm back to my 10pm to 8am run time.

Last edited by Snipe; 07/08/20 12:00 AM.

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Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523355 07/08/20 12:05 AM
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Sometimes it seems like the more we know the more we realize we don't know. Or know just enough to be dangerous.

It all depends... :-))

I felt that was appropriate John.


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Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523362 07/08/20 05:05 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about your loss Tracy. Hopefully, you have a good number of others still remaining.

I think you could continue the ladder stocking. It may be wise to set a max harvest length where when they attain that length they are harvested for eating. A 22" HSB weighs just under 6 lbs at standard weight and is a dandy fish. Don't know but maybe that length, given you know you can grow them to that length, would be an appropriate length of harvest.

Seems like Bill C. mentioned harvesting at 20" because of high mortality after release. Not all will be caught, of course, so there is still a chance to grow and catch larger fish.

Re: My first fish kill
jpsdad #523363 07/08/20 05:30 AM
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What is the average or normal life span of a HSB?

Our largest and best LMB or SMB we kind of want to leave in the pond as long as possible to carry on the genetics as long as possible. But with HSB that is not an option.

So it would seem with the HSB harvest at some point is needed or ultimately they are going to die of old age at some point even if environmental conditions don't get them first.


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Re: My first fish kill
snrub #523365 07/08/20 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by snrub
What is the average or normal life span of a HSB?

Overton's says 6-7 years at their website.

Last edited by jpsdad; 07/08/20 06:14 AM.
Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523366 07/08/20 06:45 AM
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I agree with most every comment made since my last post. All of you, it seems to me are knowledgeable when it comes to bottom diffusers and ponds. I think i have learned alot over the past 4 1/2 years when it comes, DO measurements, temps and bottom diffusers and my pond. But this year I am dealing with a large amount of vegetation, it's something I have not dealt with before. It has effected my aeration.

Snrub, Snipe when you guys said we know just enough to be dangerous, I agree. The fish were doing good and then they weren't. After increasing run times and I knew that if I increased run times the water temps would go up. As I said the water temps were cooler this year because of the shading from blanket of bushy pond weed.

Pat, the diffusers do vacuum up the water below the diffusers when placed 2 1/2 feet off bottom. It was more about not disturbing the sediment when they are moved off the ponds bottom at my place.

QA, run times that u r doing is real close to what I was doing this year. Adjusting run times during the nights coolest times.

I could go on agreeing with u guys. Theo, I have been wanting a surface aeration system for my pond for at least the past 3 yrs. I think as u said, George seemed to have it figured out after his first fish kill. I have mentioned I wanted it it here in the past but did not have electricity at the pond. I am pretty sure George ran his using solar power. Thanks for bringing up George Glazner , he lives on here at this forum.

I spoke with Brian (Highflyer) yesterday with plans on how to do a solar system that will run at night during the hot times of the year. He helped out WBJ here with his mountain retreats pond and i am sure he has helped others here and through his PB Magazine articles . Brian said he is really busy right now with his flying, but still he offered to help. Good Guy that I met through this place!

Goals, What is or was my goal at the pond? To grow as many large trophy fish as I could so kids/young people could catch a big one. Bottom diffusers are supposed to increase the area of a pond so more fish can be raised per acre of water. That might be possible but i think it needs to be used with surface air.

Last edited by TGW1; 07/08/20 07:31 AM.

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Tracy
Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523381 07/08/20 10:05 AM
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Tracy - sorry about the loss. My 2 cents it was not just or even mostly the aeration. More likely new water and cloudy skies for several days. Doubt it was heat related. With that short a run time increase and no whole pond turnover the HSB would have moved to the part of the pond where DO was higher. Probably running at to high a carrying capacity and whole pond low DO due to new water and cloudy skies. Could easily be wrong though - a guess.
















Re: My first fish kill
ewest #523405 07/08/20 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ewest
More likely new water and cloudy skies for several days. Doubt it was heat related.

I agree, cloudy days with no wind are recipe for a DO sag and a fish kill. One thing I have noticed is that when a DO sag occurs fish tend to move shallow next the bank so there may be some wisdom in surface aeration in shallow areas.



Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523415 07/09/20 06:08 AM
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Seems like the more we manage a pond for high output by increasing the feed and increasing the aeration, the more management it takes.


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Re: My first fish kill
TGW1 #523416 07/09/20 06:29 AM
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Wow, Tracy, it sucks to lose big fish! Sometimes it's our mistakes, but sometimes it's unavoidable when we have a BOW loaded with fish. Happened to my large CNBG in fall of 2017, otherwise I'd have some two pounders now.

I'm beginning to think that either surface aeration or nanobubbles might be less risky than bottom aeration. Could be just a coincidence, but seem to notice that there are a lot of fish kills associated with mixing bottom water in the summer, even when done thoughtfully & carefully.

Last edited by anthropic; 07/09/20 06:30 AM.

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Re: My first fish kill
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Originally Posted by ewest
Tracy - sorry about the loss. My 2 cents it was not just or even mostly the aeration. More likely new water and cloudy skies for several days. Doubt it was heat related. With that short a run time increase and no whole pond turnover the HSB would have moved to the part of the pond where DO was higher. Probably running at to high a carrying capacity and whole pond low DO due to new water and cloudy skies. Could easily be wrong though - a guess.

I think you r on track Eric. I don't think it was heat related. It was more about lower DO in warmer water if we are talking bottom aeration and not looking at other influence's. I have seen it in my pond when I first started running aeration and checking DO. DO went down the warmer the water during the summer and running bottom diffusers. But I do think the increase in diffuser run time also had an influence, it's just that it happened at the same time the diffuser time was increased. I think "it was all the above" a combination of it all.

You know, if it were not for all the reading I've done along with the recommendations from the people that are supposed to know about bottom air , my 4 1/2 years of experience with bottom air i am not so sure it is the right thing to do. I really think surface aeration is more likely the best way to go, in my pond anyway. Half of my pond is 6 to 7' with an acre and a half of deeper 9 to 10'. Certain times of the year it will be a little deeper.

Last edited by TGW1; 07/09/20 07:56 AM.

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Gast Pump Housing
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dam blowout/convert to spillway
dam blowout/convert to spillway
by drrehak, June 30
Transport Cooler
Transport Cooler
by Shorty, June 7
Fish Habitat or Fish Trap
Fish Habitat or Fish Trap
by Phoenix, May 30
Fawn Pic
Fawn Pic
by bryani289swmi, May 28

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