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I am finally digging around 1/4 acre pond (maybe slightly bigger) at my house monday. It will be 5 to 8 feet deep rectangle. I have had really good luck with my one acre pond at the farm. I stocked RES and FHM first then added CNBG. I feed everyday and will with this one. With this pond being smaller, and first hand seeing how prolific spawners they are. I fear they will over populate in this smaller pond. My plan for now will be to stock 5 lbs of Fathead minnows and 150 RES in late feb/march. Feeding them Aquamax starter for a couple of months and getting the RES to take the feed without other fish like I did before. ( RES reached 7 inches in 7 months)

I was thinking of then adding 100 to 150 Hybrid Bluegill. Is this a terrible idea? I do not want to use CNBG in a pond this small. I would put some bass in the next fall maybe 30 to 40.

My goal is just to have a place for the kids and me to fish and another place to feed fish. I would kind of like to be able to compare the growth rates of CNBG in the other pond with Hybrids in this one just to see the difference in growth rates with same food. Once the fish get up to 4 to 5 inches move to Optimal JR.

Would love to have big bream!

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IMO a small 0.25ac Indiana pond would be much better long term if it had 8ft-10ft or 12 ft depth. Once dug it would not take very much extra time and $$ to dig the small belly area 3-4ft deeper than 6ft-8ft because the bottom of the funnel shape area is a small square footage..

Instead of using regular HBG (BGXGSF) seriously consider using specklebelly HBG (BGXRES) SBS. I think this hybrid will grow bigger than the regular standard HBG. Another bonus to SBS will be the surviving offspring genetics will not revert toward the green sunfish genetics. There are a few places in IN where you would be able to get SBS. Jones Fish Hatchery and Shelby Fish Farm in western central OH. Steve at Shelby is raising some SBS overwinter inside aquaculture. He said they are growing fast and by Apr-May they should 6"-7".long. It is common with lots of food for the SBS to grow to 3 pounds. Once state record is 6 lbs for SBS.

Malones' suggests 25 to 50 SBS in 0.25 ac.

https://www.jmmaloneandson.com/specklebelly-bream-.html

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/23/22 07:46 PM.

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Thanks I can get specklebelly from Jones in Nashville. I am going to get a solar aerator any suggestions?

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Jones has a branch in Indianapolis, but they don't hold fish there. Very likely it is just a pond treatment office - site. As with their other remote sited they probably bring fish to that location once or twice a year. I know Jones buys some of their fish from Shelby FF. IMO fish from Shelby will be fresher, less preliminary handling, likely larger, better quality, better trained to eat pellets and cheaper... If any of those items are important to you and if you put high value in your initial stocker fish, it would be well worth your effort to make a day trip to Anna OH. Shelbyville to Anna 2.5hr - 146 mi. Anna is 1.5 hr for me. I have driven 3 hrs one way lots of times to get good quality fish. Show up and they bag them with oxygen for the trip home. As usually the case, the initial stocker fish will be the best and largest fish grown in the life history of the pond. This is because the initial fish do not have any existing competition and almost always grow the biggest and fastest of all later generations. .

Solar. How far is a power source from the pond?? . You can push air through airline to about 1 mile away With a pond of your small size in central IN and in my extensive experience, a good quality dependable low maintenance 1/4 hp compressor and best sized membrane diffuser would be able to easily turn over your 0.2 ac pond once a day in two hours operation. I have some guys running in mid summer the compressor in small yellow perch ponds 1 hr per day. Running a 1/4 hp compressor 2hr per day @ around 5 hrs per KW May-Oct is cheap electricity run time. 1KW per 2.5days. Do the math. Plus this type of system would / could be close to 3X cheaper than a solar aerator system. Most solar aerators today do not make the same amount of air volume (cfm) as a 1/4 hp rotary vane compressor. For your homework find out how much is involved in rebuilding the compressor. The longer a compressor runs the more it needs to be rebuilt or replaced.
My rotary vane has run 23 yrs operating 5 membrane heads on its initial set of vanes and its motor bearings should be good for 2 or 3 rebuilds. There is a significant difference between frequency of solar rocking piston rebuilds and rotary vane rebuilds.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/25/22 09:18 AM.

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Another comment about growing fish to be as big as you can get them.

It is very important to get or buy the fish to be as big as possible in their first year of life because lost growth for the 1st year is LOST forever and never regained no matter how much they grow each year thereafter. Thus if they did not achieve maximum growth at one year old and were 1", or 2" or 3", or 4" short at age one, the final length at death will be 1", 2", 3", or 4 " shorter. So if you are interested in trophy class fish it becomes very important to get the biggest 1 year old fish that you can find.

For each year class or spawn of a fish species, the fish in that entire group at one yr old, will have around 15-20% runts, 60-70% regular or average size ones and about 10%-15% as largest fastest growing ones also known as 'shooters' or 'jumpers'. The entire year class is often graded but not always by the fish farm and each size group is then sold at a different price. Buyer Beware and informed as to what you are buying. The 'runts' will never get as big as the average size ones nor the shooters. That is why I always try and buy 'shooters' or the best fish from places that actually hatched and grew those fish. If those largest 1yr old fish cost a little more, they are well worth the added money if you are really interested in growing trophy class fish.

So if a fish farm receives fingerling fish in the fall and grows them indoors all winter,,, those fish will be much bigger than the other fall sibling fingerling fishes that were held in cold water ponds all winter. Both fish will be 365 days old on their first birthday. Those grown inside would be 6”-8” and those held over winter in the cold pond would be classed as fingerlings 2”-4” all one year old. Know what you are buying if high quality fish is your goal.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/26/22 09:02 PM.

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Well said Bill


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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I have it dug and it is hair bigger than quarter acre rectangle. I was able to get 6 foot everywhere and 7 to 8 foot most of it and 8.5 to 9 in center. Deep as we could get here. Its about 1/4 mile from house so I am going to try and run as air hose, thanks for idea, from the house.

My other pond at the farm worked out great it is 1.1 acre. I stocked 15 lbs minnows and 400 red ear shellcracker first. Got them to eat aquamaxx starter for 60 days then I added 300 coppernose my growth rates feeding everyday have been great. But CNBG are so prolific at spawning they spawned every month till october. Added 135 bass to control them in september,

I have several months to wait on this pond to fill. I love the CBNG, the way the take feed and grow! My fear is I put them in a pond this small they will over populate. So the plan is when got enough water add 5 lbs FHM. Then going to add my Red ear (150), use the starter food for 60 days. As I posted was thinking of adding Hybrid or Speckle Belly 100 to 150 then feed wait maybe add 30 to 40 bass in the next year. What if I did coppernose but only did like 50 to 75 would that be ok and maybe then do more bass?

The way these coppernose spawn I have fear off not being able to control them in 1/4 pond but I sure do like them!

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Originally Posted by LANGSTER
The way these coppernose spawn I have fear off not being able to control them in 1/4 pond but I sure do like them!

Any chance you could bucket stock single-sex CNBG into the 1/4 acre pond?

If you sexed them from your main pond at the height of the spring spawn you might get 100% correct identification.

The 1/4-acre pond could then be your trophy pond. A limited number of fish should grow very rapidly.

Put in 10-20 each year for ladder stocking, and also catch and eat 10-20 of the big ones each year to balance the pond.

It might work until you eventually make a misidentification. At that point you could put in four female LMB and run a different kind of trophy pond! grin

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by LANGSTER
The way these coppernose spawn I have fear off not being able to control them in 1/4 pond but I sure do like them!

Any chance you could bucket stock single-sex CNBG into the 1/4 acre pond?

If you sexed them from your main pond at the height of the spring spawn you might get 100% correct identification.

The 1/4-acre pond could then be your trophy pond. A limited number of fish should grow very rapidly.

Put in 10-20 each year for ladder stocking, and also catch and eat 10-20 of the big ones each year to balance the pond.

It might work until you eventually make a misidentification. At that point you could put in four female LMB and run a different kind of trophy pond! grin

How to sex the female LMB?


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Originally Posted by LANGSTER
The way these coppernose spawn I have fear off not being able to control them in 1/4 pond but I sure do like them!

I think I'd forget about putting CNBG in the new 1/4 acre pond. Stock it with FHM, crayfish, and RES. Add scuds and grass shrimp if you can get them.

You'll have red ear like this one in no time, and no worries about how to control the BG numbers.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

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The 135 LMB you added to the bigger pond will (within 3 years) out eat the forage base without active management. You may need to move some of those CNBG from the new pond to the old pond. I would not add multiple Lepomis species (BG , RES , PS , GSF , LES etc) to the same pond other than RES and BG.
















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If you are pushing air 1300ft (440yds) be sure to PROPERLY size your air line ID so as to not cause excessive backpressure at the compressor. Rocking piston compressors due to their higher working pressure are better suited for pushing air long distance. Don't skimp on initial investment. Do good due diligence as homework so you have ample air volume in the pond so you can operate a larger or more diffuser/s moving more gallons per hour so you don't have to run the compressor long hours in a small 1/4ac. Ideally with the right system, you would only need to run the pump 2-3 hr/day for one circulation resulting in Long pump life and low annual electrical cost.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/07/22 10:37 AM.

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Originally Posted by esshup
How to sex the female LMB?

Is observation of being massively gravid during the LMB spawning period fool-proof enough for amateurs? Or would you recommend the insertion of a cannula to reject males - also performed at peak spawn?

I am also worried about correctly identifying the sex of the CNBG. Can that be done correctly by amateurs considering there is no true period of "peak spawn" for them?

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If you catch bass especially in shallow water nesting area during the relatively short spawning period window, males where bellies are gently squeezed should be thin bodied and oozing white milt used as egg fertilization. Females should be plumper than ones oozing milt. This is the only time I would even attempt to withdraw females for restocking. Done carefully success rate should be close to 95%-97%. Also using the genital pore shape during spawn should improve the success rate to 99%. If success 100% is needed then I would use the catheter tube to sample for eggs to verify if those in doubt were actually females. Pay very close attention to the genital pore of ones proven to have eggs.

For visually sexing CNBG, the individuals should be a minimum of 8" long for best accuracy and sometimes 7.5" for good accuracy. Using prespawn to post spawn CNBG are easiest and most accurate to sex. Provide several photos of Spring prespawn & spawning representatives of the population and we can help choose male vs female. Clear water helps with color to help for recognition of the fish.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/07/22 08:56 PM.

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Thanks Bill!

My "100%" solution is to create a micro grow-out pond that is easy to seine.

Follow your advice above and put in the single-sex fish and some appropriate spawning habitat. If there are no YOY the following year, then I probably managed to correctly sex ID the fish!

Move those fish to their final destination pond, and then rinse and repeat.

If I make the system sufficiently "idiot proof", then it just might work for me!

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Does anybody have, and could they post a real photo of SBS. Fish Wagon says they have Hybrid Specklebelly. Is it a RES/CNBG or a BG/RES hybrid? Does anybody know? I want to see a real photo of one to know what it looks like before I buy them. May add 100 to my other pond and when my new one is ready really get them for it.

Photo Jones and Malone show is photo shop type generic photo. I want to see the real fish size does not matter

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I question if the guys on the fish truck are selling real specklebelly hybrids (SBS). My guess is the fish wagon is just selling a HBG and calling them specklebellies. WHAT IS STOPING THEM FROM DOING THIS??
One thing you should do is ask to FIRST see a copy of the possession paperwork for the SBS. For fish farms to buy SBS from Malones, they have to sign a couple pages of paperwork from Malone due to some sort of propriety non-disclosure agreement. Jones buys their SBS from Malone. Another thing to check is to look up the website of the owner of the 'fishwagon'. See what fish species that they ACTUALLY raise or produce at the farm. Most small fish farm places buy all their fish for resale rather than actually growing and spawning them in-house.

If I wanted pure SBS that were not contaminated with BG, RES nor HBG, I sure would not buy them from a traveling fish wagon. What recourse do you have from a traveling, long gone, fish wagon if the small fish you buy are contaminated with other types of sunfish??? Contamination of stocker fish can really mess up well planned goals for a long term fishery. IMO 2"-4" SBS do not look all that different from a regular BGXRES or some BGXGSF hybrids that I have seen, especially ones that have strongly faded body colors and hue due to transport and truck hauling conditions.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/25/23 07:08 PM.

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Somebody has a photo of a real fish i just want to see it. They did not offer hybrids at all last year. I have asked for more info, I have had good luck pre ordering with them. I got 300 RES from them last year they were small but they had them when rest did not but I know RES. I just want good photo or 2 of SBS maybe a stocker and and an adult. Even Malone or Jones do not show you a real photo

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As soon as I go to Shelby FF which should be in February I will take a picture of one or two SBS. As I said above fish size makes a big difference as to how well they show adult colors and hues. Water color and light intensity also have a big affect of color of fish. Put a pond caught fish in a white bucket and watch its color change - color fading is dramatic What fish eat can also affect the chromatophore color in the skin.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/25/23 07:34 PM.

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Originally Posted by LANGSTER
Does anybody have, and could they post a real photo of SBS. Fish Wagon says they have Hybrid Specklebelly. Is it a RES/CNBG or a BG/RES hybrid? Does anybody know? I want to see a real photo of one to know what it looks like before I buy them. May add 100 to my other pond and when my new one is ready really get them for it.

Photo Jones and Malone show is photo shop type generic photo. I want to see the real fish size does not matter

I'll check later to see if I have any pictures. I get mine from Malones and had to sign the contract.


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