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#544688 02/28/22 07:08 PM
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After researching the topic quite a bit, I've decided to build some BG beds in my existing pond. The pond is around 5 acres. I plan on putting down a geotextile fabric and build 2x6 boxes to hold the gravel in place. The fabric that I am considering using from HD comes in 6' x 100' rolls therefore I will build 6' x 16' boxes. How many should I build?

One question that I have concerns the gravel that can be used. I can readily get a material known as "crush and run". It is a gravel mixture that contains mostly small pieces with some larger pieces mixed in. It is commonly used for driveways or parking lots. Has anyone used this product for the beds or is this just a really bad idea? The pea gravel that everyone has suggested is much more expensive than the crush and run.


My goal here is to increase my forage for the bass in my pond. I have had the pond evaluated last year and the previous year. The recommendation each year has been to add 5000 4" to 5" BG. I can not justify spending that much each year so I plan to raise my own BG.

I have been feeding 3 times a day for two years now and plan on adding a second feeder this year.

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcomed.

Dean

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You really don't want crushed rock.. pea gravel or sand is better than sharp-edged crushed rock. Again, pea gravel would be my first choice because it doesn't tear the fish up and it provides some very small areas for fry to lay in the first few days.
Might also look at the "forage pond stocking recommendations" thread. Lusk explains the concept of basically exactly what you are looking for.

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You can fill spawn boxes both ways and then watch which seems to be used the most. You should be able to recognize this by the number of nesting depressions that occur in each box. I've seen BG nests in areas of crushed limestone mixed with sand although Snipe is very correct in his pea gravel suggestion. I and sunfish also prefer pea gravel. The pea gravel does not IMO have to be very deep in the spawn boxes as in 3"-5". If you use crushed rock try and get mostly the 1/4" - 3/8".

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/28/22 08:27 PM.

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Thanks for the advice and recommendations guys. The pea gravel that the supplier here carries is dime sized, he said. Being that a dime measures 3/4", is this too large of a rock? Also, how many beds would you recommend for a pond this size?

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Pea gravel is much smaller than 3/4". I would say 1/8" to 3/8" would be closer to true pea gravel. 3/4" may work, it's better than mud but I "think" that's a bit large..

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I think that I will go by tomorrow and look at what size pea gravel he has and go from there.

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Yeah, pea gravel is very close to the size of peas, so that 3/4" size seems way off.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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We put "washed pea gravel" in a few ponds, it varied from 1/8"-3/8" in diameter and SMB, LMB, BG, RES all use it for spawning.


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If I am unable to get the smaller pea gravel that you speak of, would sand work in the boxes that I am going to build? I can purchase masonry sand from the local block supplier. Thoughts?

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If you don't need too much, Google "pea gravel" and your local big-box hardware store like "menards" or "lowes" or "home depot" Or check here https://www.gravelshop.com/georgia-49/laurens-county-658/31021-dublin/index.asp

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Originally Posted by Deancutler
If I am unable to get the smaller pea gravel that you speak of, would sand work in the boxes that I am going to build? I can purchase masonry sand from the local block supplier. Thoughts?

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Vigoro-...=REC-_-searchViewed-_-NA-_-202523000-_-N

A 32 cu ft pallet of bagged pea gravel is $632 there in Dublin at the Home Depot. Look at the link RAH gave you, you might be able to get it cheaper in bulk.


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Lots here on the subject - see this thread

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=199269&page=1

BG are colony spawners so don't do long skinny beds - 10 x 10 would be better and put them where the BG spawn (not where silt is likely).

Look at these pics for some ideas. Dont need solid gravel but some in each bed. Replicate the pics.


[Linked Image from i74.photobucket.com]


[Linked Image from i26.photobucket.com]


[Linked Image from i74.photobucket.com]


[Linked Image from i74.photobucket.com]


[IMG]http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i263/ewestmnw/P5150012.jpg[/I

Another study addresses substrate composition importance. In Role of Male Parental Care in Survival of Larval Bluegills by Mark B. Bain and Louis A. Helfrich in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 112: 47-52, 1983 the authors noted optimum Bluegill nest materials were exposed coarse gravel ( 8-32 mm diameter) and pebbles (32-64 mm) in nest substrate and that Bluegill removed particles smaller than 2 mm. Particles larger than 8 mm provided suitable interstitial space to accommodate bluegill larvae. Survival of larvae was directly correlated with the proportion of coarse substrate in the nest.

Last edited by ewest; 03/01/22 02:39 PM.















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Thanks for all of the suggestions and advice guys. So what I gathered from your advice, 6' x16' boxes would not be a good idea. I went by the rock supplier today and what he has is much to large to use for this- not to mention that it's $90 yd. I calculated the cost if I purchased the bags from HD as mentioned and if I built one 16' x 16' box it would require 214 bags at a cost of about $830.

Looking at the pictures that you have posted, would just sand work? The first picture looks like a sandy pond bottom. Thoughts?

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Actually the first two pictures are gravel underneath sand. A thin layer of small stones with 2"-3" of sand on top would imitate what is in the pictures for BG beds. IMO the larger the BG the larger and deeper the nest that is created or enlarged as years go by. . .


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I believe the gravel in the bottom of the beds of ewest's beautiful pictures is actually due to "kinetic sieving".

This is a well-known phenomenon when studying sediment transport that is the result of moving water.

I suspect the material just off the shoreline was initially composed of poorly-sorted sediment consisting of a size distribution ranging from pea gravel to fine sand to silt. When the BG fan the sediment to create spawning beds, they are only capable of creating enough water movement to put the fine sand and silt into suspension. The gravel gets left behind in the center of the nest and concentrated as the depression gets deeper.

If you look closely at the second picture, you can see that the spaces between the nests are uniformly gray with zero observed coarse material. That is the "fines" that were fanned out of the nests by the BG.

If you look at the water's edge in the bottom of that picture, you can see some of the "unsorted" original sediment that exhibits some widely-distributed bits of pea gravel.

I am not a fish expert - my background is geology. But I believe our conclusion might be, that the material that is placed for BG spawning beds does not need to be perfect. If you get it close to their needs, then the BG are capable of doing the rest.

One of the cheapest aggregates to purchase is typically called some version of "river sand". Depending on the source, it should contain a fair percentage of pea gravel combined with finer-grained material.

I would think you could get a dump truck load of that for a few hundred dollars (+ trucking). Spreading that with your FEL or skidsteer over the fabric should make for appropriate accommodations for amorous BG.

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The only material that the rock supplier in my area is this: https://www.braenstone.com/materials/crushed-granite/

I believe they have the 1/4" size.

As far as size and shape of the stone, they are very similar. Will this work? I assumed that the pea gravel was much smoother until I went to the HD and looked at what they had. Their product is shaped much like the crushed granite I spoke of earlier.

I can purchase the crushed granite for $40 a yard making the cost around $175 per 16' x 16' box.

Dean

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Originally Posted by Deancutler
The only material that the rock supplier in my area is this: https://www.braenstone.com/materials/crushed-granite/

I believe they have the 1/4" size.

As far as size and shape of the stone, they are very similar. Will this work? I assumed that the pea gravel was much smoother until I went to the HD and looked at what they had. Their product is shaped much like the crushed granite I spoke of earlier.

I can purchase the crushed granite for $40 a yard making the cost around $175 per 16' x 16' box.

Dean

The crushed granite is too rough. Think of the fish fanning their fins over the bed, both to make the bed and to oxygenate the eggs. Would you want to be moving your hand over the crushed gravel for a few days or over the rounded pea gravel?


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It does not take a lot of gravel - see pics above. A big handful per bed is enough. Home stores and yard and garden stores sell rock by the bag and some in bulk. With 100 lbs of mixed gravel you could easily make 100 BG beds.
















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While I think it is common knowledge, BG spawn pretty well with no help. I have a clay bottom pond, and the BG seem to reproduce just fine. Has anyone had trouble with BG not spawning in their pond?

RAH #544783 03/02/22 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RAH
While I think it is common knowledge, BG spawn pretty well with no help. I have a clay bottom pond, and the BG seem to reproduce just fine. Has anyone had trouble with BG not spawning in their pond?

A couple of clients do. The pond builder made the sides 2:1 and the slope is too steep for them to pull off enough of a spawn to keep the LMB population fed without serious amounts of LMB culling.

I had that problem last year. I have ample spawning habitat, but once the water depth hit 5 feet, I made the slopes in the pond 3:1 to get as much depth as possible. With the pond being 7' low, there was no spawning habitat covered with water last year and it's not looking good for this year either.


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The gravel increases the survival % of BG fry and is their preferred choice of bottom.
















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Looks like steep slopes rather than the presence of gravel was the key issue?

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As my original post stated, my goal is to increase my forage substantially. I have seen beds over the past few years, but I don't think that I have near enough BG bedding to provide the forage to increase my bass growth rate. As I have stated in previous forum posts, I feel that I have much to vegetation in the pond. The vegetation seems like a double edged sword. It provides great cover for the fry but also reduces the amount of real-estate for beds. Therefore, I really think that I can help the BG out by creating bedding areas like I've mentioned earlier in this post.

Plan B: Do I just choose a few areas that are suitable for bedding and remove all vegetation chemically? I raked out a large area of vegetation to build a dock last summer. Shortly after I finished the dock, I could see quite a few beds in the raked area. Makes me think that the BG are looking of suitable areas to bed.

Dean

Last edited by Deancutler; 03/02/22 07:16 PM.
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Bill,

Are you saying that I can build the boxes, put a few inches of gravel and then a few inches of sand?

Dean

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"Are you saying that I can build the boxes, put a few inches of gravel and then a few inches of sand?" Yes that is my suggestion. That composition of materials of sand over larger types of pebbles is very much what the spawn nests look like in the post earlier by ewest. A layer of sand covering gravel and or 1/4" to 1/2 crushed stone. Medium size BG will create nests a lot easier in sand compared to larger pebble sizes. As BG grow to the large 8"+ sizes they are able to mover larger bottom materials. Again, you can use a could different types of material for the individual boxes and then evaluate which type of materials the BG prefer.

"Increasing my forage substantially" is not primarily about adding spawning beds. Increasing forage has a lot to do with proper amount and density of habitat such as weed beds and dense cover that acts as refuge areas for the fry and 1"-2" fingerling BG. The habitat also acts as a feeding buffet to produce more BG to a larger forage size. Once hatched the fry have to find food for survival. A good bloom condition with ample zooplankton allows the fry to survive, feed and grow toward the fingerling sizes.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/02/22 08:10 PM.

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