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Spent the last 8 days in Florida but back to work..
Feed received and ready to start a re-sort.
I'm guessing a couple of days I should be close and ready to start this..
Net pen is back in water, I've found if I "season" the net with Algae, I have near zero fungus issues.

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Originally Posted by Snipe
Net pen is back in water, I've found if I "season" the net with Algae, I have near zero fungus issues.

The feed trial hasn't even started - and I have already learned something important from a Pond Boss person documenting their experiences!

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+1 on FishingRod's comment.

Snipe, when you sort ... could you give us a lesson on how to sex adolescent BG? I would like to learn how to sex 5" BG when they are not yet demonstrating the full adult phenotype of the sexes.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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jpsdad, I will get some pics.. I've got about 31 sorted today, I should be close tomorrow..
I had an "unplanned" forage die-off last night that is about to kill me just thinking about it and that took a good portion of my time cleaning that up today. I seined my forage pond after pumping most water out and had around 45-55lbs of Red shiner, BNM and some FHM I put in a 700 gal tank with an aeration system and had a valve fail sometime in the night..95%-97% loss..makes me sick as hell.

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Snipe,
I’m sorry to hear about that. That definitely sucks and makes you sick to your stomach but be thankful that it didn’t happen in October and you had to wait 6 months to try again. I’m just trying to turn lemons into lemonade.

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Nothing worse than being greeted with a fish kill. So sorry to hear about it, hope it doesn't throw off your plans too much.


8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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I am very saddened hear about the loss of your forage, Snipe. You've got a lot to on plate to work out so take care of business first, everything else can wait.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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Time for an update. Going to keep things simple because this has been kicking my butt for various reasons..
After all fish were measured and weighed, I ended up using 40 per side.
Average weight= 54.78g
Average length= 141.1mm
WR average total= 99.477%
I weighed many fish in many combinations to get as close as possible in each side per weight.
Left=2191.6g, Right 2190.4
Left fed Purina Aquamax 500
Right fed Optimal BG
Both sides fed 3% of Total weight at start=2.2oz per side of each feed.
Day 11 I pulled, measured 10 fish from each and weighed the total in a bucket with 20lbs of water.
Purina side (left)=2449.2g
Optimal side (right)= 2408.8g, = 40.4 diff, minus original skew of 1.2g on left = total gain of
Purina= 257.8
Optimal= 218.4
39.4g advantage to Purina at 11 days= 1.6% better weight gain.
I am NOT going to pull and weigh every 10 days-this was incredibly stressful to the fish (and me)..
I'm going 30 days before I pull again which will be 22 July, 2021.
Personal notes at this time-- No real difference was noted on how fast fish began to feed. Some days fish fed much more aggressively than others but both sides reacted very much the same. Note- I expected some mortality after handling fish but have yet to note any morts.
The bottom line right now is this is just the beginning and I'm sure there are small errors that add up, so don't read too much into this just yet, as 10-11 days doesn't mean much to me at this point.
I chose not to post a bunch of pics right now because this whole deal has been way more time consuming than I had previously planned for, but I'm keeping up the best i can so we all can get "something" out of this without too many open variables to contend with.
I will add I went to 2.6oz/day on feed after weighing to stay ahead of the curve and they still consume total in less than 30 seconds at each of 3 feedings (.87g per event).

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jpsdad, where you at?? I need some input on feed rates. :-))

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OK. So I know some may think the FCR is very high and should have been lower. However, the FCR is excellent and demonstrates that both feeds are of very good quality. We can arrive at this understanding by comparing the feed to dried fish using the assumption that dried fish converts as well as its equivalent wet weight.

It's been commonly said that annual maintenance of a predator is 5 lbs forage for every pound of predator. The equivalent dry weight of 5 lbs BG (BG have moisture content of 80%) would then be 1 lb per year per pound of predator. So we can imagine that 1 lb of feed made from 100% BG would be able to sustain 1 lb of predator. Let's also assume that BG require the same maintenance. It is also commonly said that forage consumed above maintenance converts at 10 lbs Forage to 1 lb gain of predator. Converting to dry weight BG, then 2 lbs of dried BG converts to 1 lb gain. Let's assume this conversion also applies to BG as well and so let's feed a hypothetical group of BG a hypothetical feed made from 100% dried BG at the rate fed thus far in the trial working with this conversion and maintenance.

Below is a spreadsheet where predicted growth is calculated from the feed consumed exceeding the maintenance. The FCR is the dry weight equivalent of 10 lbs wet BG/1 LB wet predator (2 lbs Dry BG/1 LB wet predator). So an FCR of 2, based on the assumption of feed made from 100% dried fish. The maintenance rate is 1 lb/lb fish/150 day growing season or 0.677 % of body weight per day. The feed rate is 2.2 ounces which is 2.847% of the initial weight of the treatments. The feed rate is fixed for the first 10 days beginning day 1 and ending day 11. So the first thing I want you to notice is just how close this prediction is to actual results thus far. The predicted gain is only off by 3 grams (1.26%). So it is clear that if dry fish will convert equally with respect to the wet weight equivalent, both feeds in the trial convert comparably relative to 100% dried fish.

[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

In the next SS I adjusted the FCR until the prediction matches Snipes results so far. This really doesn't change the FCR that much (~1%) so its pretty remarkable that we could predict the outcome of 10 days of feeding this closely with such arcane principles of 5 lbs maintenance per year and 10 lbs forage to 1 lb gain. Its also remarkable that the feeds slightly out performed the assumptions of dried fish as feed.

[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

To be sure, dried fish may convert better than its wet weight equivalent. I don't know, but if it does, or if the conversion of wet weight forage is better than assumed then gross conversion in cages lower than a Gross FCR=2 could be obtained. Please keep in mind that the limit is very close to 2 for any fish that converts wet BG at 10 to 1.

Attached Images
FEED SCHEDULE 3% SFR.xlsx (19.79 KB, 21 downloads)
SHA1: c95559cbdb152ff70fa64ca99480f33fa5675703
Last edited by jpsdad; 07/15/21 08:30 AM.

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Hello to all that may be following this. Sat, July 31, I fed the BG their last meal of this trial, This am, Aug 1st, I started with the hardest part, yet most enjoyable job I know of- weighing and measuring.
Let me start by saying I had intensions of running this another 30 days but as it worked out, I've had algal growth darn near close off the 1" mesh cage- 3 times during the last 25 days! I'll explain the details of how I handled that later...
I have to say a BIG THANK YOU to both PURINA and OPTIMAL for providing the goods to go as far as we could with this. I believe a big thank you is also in order for PondBoss for bringing us all to the same table to share with everyone, whether we give or take that information, I can't think of any better place than right here to do that, so Thank You to BOB LUSK and crew for giving us a place to do this!
Now, I cheated a bit on this by pulling 1 fish from each side every 3rd day to see if a pattern developed or if any major changes were occurring during this to confirm the calculations that jpsdad helped with on this and I will say that on day 20 it became obvious that the weights and lengths I was coming up with was not a fluke-on EITHER side. After weighing a few fish on the 9th day after starting the 3 day weigh, I started to think I had recorded or miscalculated something so I thought, Snipe, this is going to show up in the end and I'll get the full picture so here we go....
LH-Purina AM 500, 40 day total weight = 5,052grams, Average length = 177mm, Ave weight = 126.3g, WR = 107.93%
RH-Optimal BG, 40 day total weight = 5,288grams, Average length = 179mm, Ave weight =132.2g, WR = 108.84%
Fish had a range of 98-118% WR, really, in both sides which leads me to believe some fish are just programmed differently even within the same species.

Here's where I am still shocked at both brands... Purina, 1.53 to 1 FCR, Optimal, 1.42 to 1...!!!!!!! I've been over this figure a hundred times and in this case, I'm going to assume they were utilizing something else available in the pond system because the trial was performed "in the pond"..

There is NO LOSER here.. it's very clear that both feeds produced exceptional in my mind, I would have never guessed it would be so close!
Note on male vs Female- I had 5 northern males and 5 CNBG in each cage. Both feeds show the same results-in this case-that males achieved an ave of 2mm more length but less weight than a female of the same length. I have to assume this would be different at different times of the year, interesting none the less and I have to also assume that upon achieving a larger size this would possibly skew the other direction. I can note that the CNBG were starting to add more length and weight than the NBG were.
I have many, many, many pictures and tons of little tid bits I'd like to share-and will- but I was excited to at the least get the numbers up so we can start the discussion if anyone cares to comment or ask questions!
I should also add on Friday I had 1 mort on the Purina side that I'm sure had nothing to do with Brand X or Y. I did not skew the numbers to exclude that fish as it was the only loss so I added the average X1 to total.

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I am still up for a lesson on determining the sex of 5" BG smile

I am a bit disappointed the trial couldn't grow longer. Based on the conversion and gain less than 12 lbs of feed was fed to each treatment ... just hoped we may have gone through most of the individual bags at different rates of feeding before it ended. The conversion was exceptional and I do think you are correct that pond organisms played a partial role in the conversion you logged. Anyways, thank you for doing this Ken.


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I do understand disappointment in Trial length, but moving fish every 8-9 days into different cages so I could spray cage with Hydrogen peroxide (30%) to cut algal growth was producing what "I thought" to be too much of a stress factor. There is always a lesson to learn on everything we do and hind-sight is 20/20. If I do it again, I will set it up in my FHM pond as the nutrient load is less there but there will be more incidental FHM additions to the fish in trial.
I've found it hard to find time to get on here and post lately, and I've probably bit off more than I should have but I'm a one man show trying to babysit 2.5" SMB (feed training 5,000) and transferring 3-5lbs of FHM every day to YP, general upkeep and a new building going up.
I will get to the point of documenting the pics and other information involved with this in a short period of time.
jpsdad, appreciate your help on this with base-line numbers to use, and I did adjust as I felt needed for reasons I believe were relevant to maximize growth.

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Snipe where did the fish go after weighing ? Nice work !
















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Very good work. Snipe I have discovered if one or two small tilapia are in the cage with the test fish, so far the tilapia have kept the cage clean. Maybe numerous tilapia outside the cage also help clean the cage.


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You did ALL the work. I didn't add much but happy to hear what little I did was helpful.


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Originally Posted by ewest
Snipe where did the fish go after weighing ? Nice work !
I have a separate BG pond ewest, I fin clipped LH pec on Purina fish and RH pec on Optimal fish. I know they grow back but it always leaves a ridge that in my past experience, has been easy to identify.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
Very good work. Snipe I have discovered if one or two small tilapia are in the cage with the test fish, so far the tilapia have kept the cage clean. Maybe numerous tilapia outside the cage also help clean the cage.
Bill, I have 3000+/- Tilapia in another pond and that would likely be a good answer and I wish I would have thought of that. If nothing else it would have extended the time between clog-ups!

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Originally Posted by jpsdad
You did ALL the work. I didn't add much but happy to hear what little I did was helpful.
No... I didn't do it all. Your figures that you took the time to put together were extremely useful in me making a determination of whether I was feeding what I should-without having to stress fish by handling more than needed. I upped the rate to feed what I felt would be close to 3% or slightly above on the last of every 3rd day at that rate. I appreciate that, it was actually very accurate in the increase percentage over-all. Thank you for that.

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I just mean that spending a couple of hours lending a hand isn't all that much in the grander scheme of feeding three times a day and all the rest. You are most welcome of course, I am glad I could contribute in the way I did. Still it was as they say in Spanish "de nada" (which is how they say "your welcome it was no problem").

Last edited by jpsdad; 08/02/21 11:32 PM.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
Very good work. Snipe I have discovered if one or two small tilapia are in the cage with the test fish, so far the tilapia have kept the cage clean. Maybe numerous tilapia outside the cage also help clean the cage.

Snipe/Bill:

I do the exact same thing, put a couple Tilapia in the cage (4' cube) and they keep the cage clean of algae all summer long.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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Will be interesting to see the future results on the test fish. cool
















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It is beyond the scope of this experiment, but would be very interesting to see if the type of feed makes a difference in overall fish health. For example, tolerance for low DO, temperature extremes (high or low), longevity (and ultimate max size), fecundity, etc.

I fed Optimal in my forage pond and, surprisingly, my CNBG survived the Great Freeze. Maybe they'd have done the same with MVP, not sure. Pretty sure a cheap feed would have been fatal.

Last edited by anthropic; 08/03/21 05:23 PM.

8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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jpsdad not sure how to make those comparisons. It is a matter of energetics and you have to count energy expended. On feed trials on fish (not fish food) there is a huge difference as those that I have seen use live fish so the energy expended to capture is a negative. It is significant amount also. On fish food trials there is little to no energy output. I will find the study that provides that feeding can be between 4 -8 times more efficient in BG because there is no energy output.

Couple of threads
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthre...ds=energetics&Search=true#Post278746

More from another thread - this is 2011 data and fish food and what we know about feeding has changed a lot since then.

natural food is better for fish over the long term

pellets (the right type) are 4 + times more efficient than natural food because the fish does not have to expend energy to catch it

lack of food is the single biggest limiting factor in fish growth and condition

From my presentation at PB IV � Fish Nutrition � Applied Science to Small Waters

Bioenergetics is the subject of a field of biochemistry that concerns energy flow and transformation through living systems.

Growth, development and metabolism are some of the central phenomena in the study of biological organisms. The role of energy is fundamental to such biological processes. The ability to harness energy from a variety of metabolic pathways is a property of all living organisms. Life is dependent on energy transformations; living organisms survive because of exchange of energy within and without.

Living organisms obtain energy from organic and inorganic materials. For example, lithotrophs can oxidize minerals . In photosynthesis, autotrophs can produce ATP using light energy. Heterotrophs (including fish) must consume organic compounds. These are mostly carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The amount of energy actually obtained by the organism is lower than the amount present in the food; there are losses in digestion, metabolism, and thermogenesis.

Energy Budget ---- Inputs = Outputs + Growth


Because fish growth often is limited by food availability, supplemental feeding is a logical tool to improve the condition of fish in small impoundments as the energy cost for bluegill to feed on pellets is small relative to the high caloric intake, which can be 4-5 times greater than those fed natural foods (Schalles and Wissing 1976). Substantial increases in the standing stock of bluegill in ponds that receive pellet feed have been recorded (Schmittou 1969) and, in lakes, pellet feeding has been found to increase the number of large bluegills (Nail and Powell 1975).

These results indicate that total fish production and production of bluegill were each increased approximately 75 to 80% by supplemental feeding in 19 months after stocking (Schmittou 1967)

Previous studies demonstrated that feed in excess of 10 pounds per acre per day in bluegill ponds was not utilized. Some accumulated and decomposed, thus depleting the supply of dissolved oxygen which resulted in fish kills (Schmittou 1967) .

the rate of growth of sunfish can be increased by short-circuiting the food cycle, thereby producing harvestable size sunfish in a shorter period of time than would occur under natural conditions (Carnes 1966).

The pellet size should be approximately 20-30% of the size of the fish species mouth gape. Feeding too small a pellet results in inefficient feeding because more energy is used in finding and eating more pellets. Conversely, pellets that are too large will depress feeding and, in the extreme, cause choking. Select the largest sized feed the fish will actively eat. Addition of supplemental pelleted feed did not contribute to the rate of growth of young shad, but did increase the growth and spawning frequency of adults.

Last edited by ewest; 08/03/21 05:56 PM.















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Quote
On fish food trials there is little to no energy output. I will find the study that provides that feeding can be between 4 -8 times more efficient in BG because there is no energy output.


I will respectfully disagree. Sorry but we have to have the freedom to disagree.

The truth is that the assumptions (Swingle's theory and widely held wet weight conversion) very nearly predicted the outcome of the first 10 days. Even Snipe will tell you that assumptions demonstrated predictive ability. To be sure, Snipe isn't saying that the feed converted at 1.47ish in the absence of pond organisms. In fact there must have been a very substantial proportion of consumption attributable to pond organisms and he explained the results in that very way. Snipe isn't new to this and he would not lead us to think that feed converted all on its own at 1.47ish. Snipe told me that the best he had seen with YP that were feed-trained before the testing was about 2.2 to 1. He said that it was in clean water tanks without the normal eco system present but feed rates were much higher than 3%, like 7-8%, with Optimal Jr.

You want to see something really cool?

Let's try to predict the FCR of Snipe's YP at an 8% feed rate using what was realized in first 10 days of this trial using optimal. As a starting place lets assume 0.667 % maintenance solve for the intrinsic FCR. Below this is displayed in the spreadsheet where an FCR of 2.158 is the solution intrinsic conversion (Intrinsic FCR) above maintenance that is consistent with 0.667% maintenance and the growth of Snipe's BG fed Optimal feed with a GROSS FCR of 2.85. These assumptions if true would grow the BG to the weight Snipe observed.

[Linked Image]

Of course true intrinsic FCR depends on the true intrinsic maintenance rate because they are variables of the function that models the observed growth. You see, assuming different values of SMR (specific maintenance rate) makes you solve for different values of intrinsic FCR. True values can only be obtained by feeding over different periods different rates of feed. Only by doing this can the values of maintenance of intrinsic FCR be obtained. These properties, intrinsic to the feed/species combination, are true only if they are the same at any reasonable SFR (specific feeding rate). SFR is merely the proportion of fish weight that is fed every day and so clearly there is a limit how high that can be. For example fish can't eat two times there weight in feed. Ideally to solve for these intrinsic properties we constrain the solution to a feed/species combination. That said, lets firmly press our tongues to cheek and just see how closely we can predict the FCR of Snipe's YP at an 8% feed rate.

[Linked Image]


So starting with Swingle's principles, an assumption of 0.667% maintenance rate, and the first 10 days growth of Snipe's BG we predict that at 8% of body weight daily that Optimal feed has a GROSS FCR of 2.35. To be sure, this is not exact. Not that far off from Snipe's best of 2.2 with YP but not exact. Far off is going from an FCR of 2.85 in the first 10 days to an FCR of 1.42 in the following 30. Like Snipe said, that doesn't make sense unless the fish ate something other than feed in the latter part of trial. So if you don't bat an eye at the FCR going from 2.85 to 1.42 during the trial than you should be absolutely astonished that we could predict an FCR within .15 using the assumption of 0.667 maintenance and the principles Swingle left us. "A fish must consume maintenance to maintain its weight ... it may convert consumption above the maintenance into growth". Eloquent and it fits what scientist call a physical law. It can be expressed as an equation and it can be tested against evidence.

We failed by 0.15 to predict the FCR of Snipe's YP. This may be because YP convert differently than BG. Or because the assumption of 0.667% for maintenance is wrong. But for now, lets assume YP convert Optimal equivalently and that we need to adjust the maintenance so that the maintenance and intrinsic FCR are equal for both treatments. I got very lucky and with a single guess for maintenance at 0.8% I found the Intrinsic FCR to be 2.019 where at an 8% feed rate the FCR is 2.24.


[Linked Image]

Now that is down right close ... still I would much rather do that with the same species than mixing and matching BG and YP. Anyways, it tells us that it takes a little less than 1% of a fish's body weight of Optimal to maintain its weight. It also tells us that Optimal converts "somewhere around 2" (give or take a little) for the feed fed above maintenance. This means that in a pond, for fish that are growing anyway, the direct conversion of the feed is ~ 2 to 1. There is an additional manuring effect where the fish manure from eating the feed further stimulates the food chain providing additional natural foods. To imagine this effect think of third world countries where producers very effectively grow fish soley by stimulating the food chain with animal excrement. Yes when you feed your fish ... you are adding animal excrement to your pond ... it is just that the fish are eating the feed first. This is how FCRs can be below 2 in pond settings. Pond foods provide the maintenance and a proportion of the growth. The feed is converted at the optimum rate and receives credit for all maintenance and growth.

Another thing. Don't be persuaded that Optimal outperforms Purina from the results of this experiment. As Snipe mentioned, the reason for such low FCR is that the fish were eating supplemental pond organisms. Because of this we can derive no valid conclusions about the intrinsic properties of the feed (maintenance and intrinsic FCR are those properties). Except, perhaps in the early going when Purina outperformed. The conversion made then implies strongly that the food the fish were eating was limited to feed. Based on that alone, I lean to Purina though by my calculation the FCRs are comparable. Because pond organisms played such a large role ... I would lean that the Optimal cage occupied better real estate which had the effect of providing the BG more pond organisms to eat.

But back to conversion of feed being 4 to 8 times more efficient. This isn't supported by real world conversions of feed to fish flesh. The analysis above using 70+ year old principles leaves no doubt that it simply can't be the case. This is because the acquisition of food is evidently only a small proportion of the metabolic consumption each day and it probably can be ignored. In other words, an easy meal doesn't actually add all that much. Furthermore, comparisons of efficiency are only valid when the dry weight consumptions are equivalent. There are lots of ways to twist facts into something that is not true at all. What I love about Swingle's principles of maintenance and growth is that they form a natural law that has proven to be fundamental to the energy budget of fish maintenance and growth. The variables of the function (FCR and SFR) represent intrinsic properties of a feed/species combination. This is what makes science beautiful to me. It removes the anecdotal mumbo jumbo of three bug eyed BG grown on three different feeds and it instructs you not put that in your mouth and swallow. Science uses simple principles that have mathematical relationships such that theory becomes testable in the real world and a highly sharp tool for control and planning that have real world application to the economics of growing fish. Science weeds out false claims and it creates a firm platform by which to expand knowledge. But for sure ... some will say Optimal converts at 1.42 referencing this anecdote even after Snipe warned us that this isn't the case because the fish ate supplemental pond organisms in addition to the feed. And that saddens me because its just an example of picking what one wants to believe (or for some what they want to sell) as opposed to getting to the fundamental knowledge of the feed/species combination. The former is BS while the latter is something you can apply in the real world as so many fish producers already do.

Attached Images
FEED-SCHEDULE-8%-SFR.xlsx (11.15 KB, 14 downloads)
SHA1: fc4e992ae921c83ee8b6416fc25df07fbdead645
Last edited by jpsdad; 08/05/21 08:20 AM.

Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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