Ten days ago, we cleared our forage pond with alum and hydrated lime. It has a good population of Gambusia and nothing else, as far as I can tell. Fish truck came by our local feed store today. I was going to get about a dozen small CC to stock in the forage pond, which is an oval about 50 feet by 40 feet, average two feet deep, four feet in the middle, probably 20k to 24k gallons. I planned to grow the CC out this summer to be large enough to put in the other ponds to replenish the population. The fish truck guy was nearly sold out, ready to go home, and handed me a bag full of the small 4-6" CC, about 33 fish as far as I could tell. I guess I will feed these until they begin to stress, then catch some out and put in the other ponds. How much to feed 33 4-6" CC initially? I'm thinking about 8 ounces of pellets per day or so. Would it grow them faster if I got some Optimal BG?
That's way too much feed for 33 4"-6" CC at this stage. To maintain water quality you need to use optimized feed rates.
I have a spreadsheet on feeding CC. Pretty cool, it incorporates size dependent FCR and optimum size dependent % body weight. This is the optimum grow out for 33 CC to 11.5 " in 97 day. Will take 1/2 sack of feed (20 lbs). Look for an improved version in one of my posts below ...
The equations used to optimize the feed plan came from this study.
Thanks for the sheet. I don't have excel, so used a viewer, but cannot make changes. That's very informative. I think that things will need to be adjusted as I go along, because herons will probably get half of them. Also, the Gambusia in there attack the feed immediately, but I guess that won't bother the CC. I need to grow the CC as long as possible before removing and restocking in the larger pond that contains a couple of 18 inch LMB and a few 22 inch CC already. Probably until October first or so.
If you like, I can extend the SS to October. I noticed also I had the feed weight in grams, if more convenient, I could change to ounces. Just let me know. I am glad to help.
I saw where the SS could be improved on. So made it independent of how many rows are in the grow out. Now one can copy the bottom row and just paste into as many extra rows as needed (up to 300) without changing any formulas. The feed is in oz and the individual fish weights are in pounds.
Thanks much! My first try, I was feeding about 70 CC in a 1/4 acre pond. I guess I overfed. Starting with 7 inch specimens in September 2015, I had a few reach 22 inches and 5 pounds by August 2017. Most were around 20 inches and 3.5 pounds. We caught about 30 out and ate them. Around December, otters came through and decimated the population. I think there is one original left, and it's really big. Head looks five inches wide when it feeds and it's almost black.
I am going to be feeding them Optimal Jr, 1/8 inch pellets at least for the first several weeks, then probably go to the regular CC 32% pellets.
I realize I just put them in yesterday morning. I threw pellets out today (cloudy weather) and see no response from the CC. The Gambusia are all over them. I bought feed trained CC. When I started with new ones before, they came to food almost immediately. I carefully acclimated these to the pond over nearly a half hour, and the temp wasn't much different when starting between the bag and pond. Haven't seen any floaters.
A few of the small CC came up for pellets yesterday evening. They don't cruise around on the surface, scooping, like the larger ones do in the larger ponds. They swim quickly up, grab one pellet, and quickly dive back to the bottom, so hard to see.
Following up, the CC have now reached nine inches. Unfortunately, the neighborhood GB Heron got all but a half dozen of them. The project turned out to not be worth doing. Herons and otters. It makes me to just want to quit.
If I could only get one 300 pound Wels catfish, it would be fun to watch that heron get eaten.
It saddens me to read about the GBH ruining this project.
I have read somewhere that it takes 2 1/2 feet of water to discourage a GBH. If there may be an opportunity to reshape the forage pond to allow little water less than 2 1/2 feet you might inhibit a GBH's access to fish enough to have another go at it.
I wonder if a feed ring that is anchored in water too deep for the GBH would help prevent a GBH from accessing staging fish. Or would the GBH try to use it a platform?
Most of that pond is about three and a half feet deep. It slopes quickly to that depth and has a relatively flat bottom. Having work done on it is not worth the $$ to me at this time. I could have bought 100 pounds of ready to cook catfish fillets for all the money I have lost on otters and herons. It's really discouraging. Better to let others that are better equipped raise them I guess.