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Good stuff, Bill; lots to ponder here. To your points:

- "Biologist": I just mentioned the person I talked to was an "actual biologist"- I even looked up the background of the gal I was talking to on the phone (their "staff" listing.) Fwiw: You've only got a 48-year advantage experience-wise. :-) So I will take your suggestion and consider my best source of guidance to be HERE, rather than w/ a business that by nature has slightly different goals than I. I will stock according to the advice I'm given here.

btw Jones is not "the only game in town," but I will really need to look around middle TN to see if there are better options. I have also talked w/SE Pond, and they were helpful, knowledgeable, lots of options....but they charge over $400 to make a delivery. What attracted me to Jones is the flexibility, reasonable pricing (it seems to me- only $39 delivery fee for Nashville to me, about 50 mi.), convenience etc.

- Dye: I didn't mention using dye myself, but I'm glad to learn the pros/cons. My intention would be not to use it unless I need to. I'm not looking for an azure blue lake; just want it to look nice, not ugly and murky. fwiw: the pond construction guy thinks it will not need any dye, due to all the limestone he's using to shape ("scult" is his preferred term) the pond.

- Curious about vegetation both in and out...whether I should add any around the pond; for one thing, maybe to keep leaves at bay....lots of trees around, lots of leaves in fall, but not a TON; maybe just play it by ear...and of course IN the pond, very curious how I should approach things....after all, "establishing the food chain" is the subject of this forum, and my primary interest as I get started with my new pond.

- Feeding: great explanation; makes sense. Certainly open to it, but hopeful I can rely on "natural forage" as I mentioned. I'll keep an open mind.

- Aerator: that's 100%. Definitely will have one; the guy has a great idea for me that he's done for many previous ponds, including his own, w/ a "waterfall," etc. He's explained it, I can't describe it offhand, but he says it's a great option and will aerate the pond beautifully.

- What exactly is "ladder stocking?" I think I have an idea, but please explain.

- When to stock: the pond should be complete the first week of March, then I will wait to see how it goes w/spring rainfall. Usually abundant around here; May generally huge rains. Also, the boss says he's going to try to get some water from the local quarry that accesses a nearby creek....they have a water truck and whatever they're willing to donate, that's great.

Regardless, I can't really move ahead w/stocking until I'm at what, about 4' ft.? That's my understanding. So I'm guessing I will have a couple months to decide on that first stocking, and I'll be all ears for what you suggest for a solid plan: just FHM/GSH first, or maybe SBS as well....or should I wait till fall to start initial stocking, etc, etc.

- There's a lot to consider, and I don't expect to get everything right the first time. Gonna try though....

Thanks again, and I look forward to your feedback.

(Note: still can't find how to get notifications for responses to the thread; I have to come here each time and check.)

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I had to go back and check the pond plans / details as a refresher. Lots of pond mgnt water went over the overflow since my last post. I will work on your questions. Refresh if I miss some.

"Biologist" Don't just take my word for it. Do your good homework and get opinions. I like to be the 2nd or 3rd opinion and tell the rest of the long term story for the prior opinions. Your "biologist" should know and have experience for the long term results and possible complications of the actions suggested.

Ladder stocking. This is just periodically adding some of the same specie of fish to the pond to maintain several size classes of fish that are preferably eating different sizes of prey.

Waterfall. These are IMO are mostly aesthetic, inefficient at moving water, costly to operate because you are pumping water not air as with a diffuser, and I think waterfalls require more maintenance than the added benefit they provide. Water pumps work hard and do not last nearly as long as air compressors that operate moving air to bottom diffusers that circulate much more water than a waterfall. Lots of algae will want to grow and inhabit the surfaces of the waterfalls. Most suggested control methods involve algaecides. Do plenty of homework on this before pulling the trigger. """""... but he says it's a great option and will aerate the pond beautifully.""" Depends on definition of "aerate beautifully". As in lots of top to bottom water, whole pond, circulation or it just looks pretty splashing some water. THEY ARE EXPENSIVE to operate and maintain compared to a good rotary vane compressor with the right diffuser/s that can turnover a 1/4 ac pond in about 1-2 hour. And the right compressor will likely last 30-40 yrs if taken care properly. My Gast compressor is going on 25 yrs with its first set of vanes; as it runs 5-8hrs/day per open warm water season Apr-Nov. . Motor bearings are supposed to last for 3 vane rebuilds. These compressors are work horses.

Dye colorant. There are several colors at least 4 available for different purposes. All suppress natural pond productivity, thus fewer fish pounds are produced. I do not use pond dye in my pond but I sell it.

Vegetation - Not sure how much of it you would want in a small swimming / fish pond. Some emergent vegetation managed and contained at the opposite end of the swim area could function okay. Some dwarf water lilies opposite end of swim could help with algae control.
This from our Common Pond Q&A Archives
Plants
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=440475#Post440475

You should read through appropriate topics - Common Pond Q&A Archives section
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=22&page=1



For algae control research tilapia. Their favorite food is filamentous algae and the delicate submerged veg such as chara and small pond weed. I wouldn't manage a swim pond without each year using some tilapia depending on pond size and algae problems determines the number. You can actually eat the algae control agent at the end of the year; can't do that with dye nor algaecides. Tilapia also allow one to remove lots of bound nutrients lowering the pond's nutrient load at years end

Stocking - IMO you don't need to stock until the pond is full. The time it takes to fill the pond will give nature time to naturally colonize it with a good complement of invertebrates before fish start reducing, disrupting and interfering with the natural food base. This is important if the fishery is a natural or pellet based eco-system.
Locate the farm that has SBS. This is a relatively new pond fish and not all farms sell them. Some don't even know they exist.

Getting some added water from a local quarry that has a creek????? Does he know microscopically what is in the water? Are there any problem, harmful algal bloom algae hanging out in the water waiting for the right conditions to bloom? Will the water be strained through 500um mesh to remove problem invertebrates, or potential veligers or unwanted eggs. Newly hatched fish fry are only 3 - 4 mm long and not much wider than a hair. I would ask the "boss" is he is going to guarantee the water is not introducing any future pond water quality problems. Just because the water is from an apparently "nice" quarry does not mean there are no microscopic potential problems in that water. Microscopic inhabitants in the water wax and wane depending on pond conditions and seasons. Once introduced rarely do they ever leave that water body. I examine water microscopically for a living. I would not trust stream water going into a quarry and then into my new pond unless it was properly tested and then properly filtered. WAY too much unwanted stuff gets introduced into ponds by dumping the fish container / transport water into the pond.

No matter what you do you will NOT get everything right the first time. There are way too many variables involved in starting a pond. One BIG or major variable is TRUSTNG the fish farm did not have any unwanted fish accidently or uncaringly added in your order. The smaller the fish are the harder they are to correctly identify or see the intruder. Too many fish farm employees, low paid workers do not think this is a big deal. Way too many PB members here complain that the fish farm mixed 2 or more of the wrong specie into their order. It is way too easy, having too many ways, for unwanted fish to get into a customer's order.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/27/24 12:01 PM. Reason: enhancements

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
For algae control research tilapia. Their favorite food is filamentous algae and the delicate submerged veg such as chara and small pond weed. I wouldn't manage a swim pond without each year using some tilapia depending on pond size and algae problems determines the number. You can actually eat the algae control agent at the end of the year; can't do that with dye nor algaecides. Tilapia also allow one to remove lots of bound nutrients lowering the pond's nutrient load at years end

I learned something there. Hadn't considered removing dead tilapia a way to remove bound nutrients from the pond. Makes perfect sense, I just hadn't connected the dots like that. Thanks BC


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Thanks Bill.

Biologists: agreed. I'm trying to gather info/wisdom everywhere it's offered, and sift through it and judge it appropriately. Obviously the more I learn, the better judgment I'll have.

Brought-in water: WON'T DO IT. You convinced me. I'll just leave it to the rains.

"Waterfall": yeah, I knew I shouldn't use that word....I don't believe that's what he has in mind. I have zero use for "water features" like I often see: fountains, waterfalls, etc. What he suggests is not that; I'm just not sure how to describe it even though he has explained it to me more than once. In fact, one of the biggest things he mentioned was the low maintenance, etc. It will essentially be an aerator of some sort....I'll get the exact specs/details and run it by you guys.

Dyes: good to know.

Vegetation: ditto. I'm hearing various warnings, such as don't plant anything as it will provide cover for land predators, plants can soak up water and affect the pond, etc. I'm also reading that judiciously chosen vegetation can be helpful in things like keeping leaves etc. out of the pond....Just trying to educate myself.

Tilapia: interesting....sounds like a good plan. From what I'm reading ~7-8 lbs. of them for my 1/4 acre pond.... seems about right? Jones- which does stock SBS btw, lists Tilapia exactly as you say: "as an alternative to chemicals for algae and aquatic weed control." However, they add: "Their prolific reproduction helps feed the predators within the pond." What are your thoughts on that? I read that Tilapia won't survive water under 48 degrees....I don't yet have any sort of reference point on that here....so I have no clue what spawning options I'd have with them.

Suggested articles/threads: I will read/devour ALL OF THESE.

Getting it all right the 1st time: Yep, I don't expect to. Not even close. Way too much to learn, and that's part of the adventure, isn't it? I'm retired; in no hurry.

Unwanted fish: not sure how to avoid this risk, except to go with a respected/trustworthy vendor. I would LOVE to get advice from anyone on here who knows the local fish farms/etc in middle TN. What is the best way to find that out? Googling it gets me businesses from all over the place....I believe a recommendation from people in Middle TN- or at least within a few hours (that means Al, GA, KY can all be within a few hours)....is probably my best bet. As I mentioned, Jones seemed a good bet, but happy to listen. And, I have time, since I won't be stocking for a few months anyway. Plenty of time to research.

Thanks again. Got a lot of reading to do.....

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I'm working on another long answer. Stay tuned. I need a break.


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Do not buy from the traveling fish wagons, I'm down in Tullahoma with a 1/3 acre pond and I bought a few hundred RES last year from the fish wagon, lots of BG and a few GSF mixed in. I did not want either of those in the pond initially. I've been trapping out a few GSF, but I know it's a lost cause. . just hate to kill everything off in the pond at this point so i'm going to let it go for a while and see what happens.

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Jones is typically pretty good. They get the majority of fish from the same fish suppliers that I do.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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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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Good to hear. Thanks. I just don't know what the competition is around here, except for SE Pond, which as I mentioned, seems pretty expensive ($439 for a delivery??)

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Originally Posted by bob_esper12
Do not buy from the traveling fish wagons, I'm down in Tullahoma with a 1/3 acre pond and I bought a few hundred RES last year from the fish wagon, lots of BG and a few GSF mixed in. I did not want either of those in the pond initially. I've been trapping out a few GSF, but I know it's a lost cause. . just hate to kill everything off in the pond at this point so i'm going to let it go for a while and see what happens.

What a drag. Well, thanks for the tip; I will stay away from them.

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SE Pond is a good outfit.

With the cost of fuel and other expenses these days, that doesn't seem unreasonable for a delivery fee especially if they cannot string several deliveries together.


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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Originally Posted by Sunil
SE Pond is a good outfit.

With the cost of fuel and other expenses these days, that doesn't seem unreasonable for a delivery fee especially if they cannot string several deliveries together.

It's just that Jones is only $39.....SE Pond indicates that they'll do a very thorough job of placing the fish, etc. etc. but
I'm not sure how their delivery differs overall from what Jones does. I'll have to research further.

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I see.

$39 seems very low to me for a delivery fee, but as others mentioned, Jones is good too.


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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Yeah, spoke w/ SE Pond today once again, their fee for delivery to me (~175 mi. away) is actually $350. But doesn't seem like they are going to do anything special beyond what Jones will do: deliver the fish, make sure temp etc. is right, ease the fish into the water....seems that both companies do the same, so that being the case, can't see why I'd pay $300 more. Also, the price of the fish is much higher. I'll show their estimates later to compare; I'd like to see what y'all think.

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Okay I am learning more about your pond situation which improves the advice you are getting.

1. Back on Feb 20 you said "”4) YP sound like great option, however not legal in Tennessee for stocking. If you have suggestions for acquiring them, that would be great.””
Yellow Perch
I am not sure where you got that information about YP as illegal in TN. . I searched and I found no where that I looked that stated YP were not legal to be sold by fish farms in TN. The Tennessee Pond Management booklet which was a pretty good general pond guide did not mention yellow perch. See also below about TN DNR fish restrictions.
https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/twra/documents/habitat/how-to-managing-small-lakes.pdf
Page 8 for species recommended to not stock. Not recommended although not illegal.

The Tennessee DNR listed the illegal fish to be those as: Banned In Tennessee It is unlawful to possess or transport live specimens of the following animals: • Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) • Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) • Black carp (Hypophthalmichthys piceus) • Blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) • Marbled Crayfish (Marmorkreb) (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis) • New Zealand mud snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) • Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) • Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) • Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua) • Snakeheads (all members of the Family Channidae) • Swamp eels (all members of the Family Synbranchidae) • Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha).

YP in TN are on the southern edge of their comfort temperature level, however they will grow to quite large sizes in TN waters. Recent state record angler sizes are in the 15” size ranges. YP due to their cool water needs and lack of use by fish farms in TN, YP are difficult to acquire for pond stocking and getting a fish farm to sell you only females is a very unusual request and a REAL big challenge to any fish farm. Thus I would not stock YP in your small ¼ ac TN pond unless they are all female fish. You do not want a lot of unnecessary sport fish reproduction for an easily managed small pond for having high quality fishery. YP can be very efficient for recruiting annually new perch into the pond. For your goals I would initially stay with the minnow, SBS and for the predator use HSB as the easiest species to manage and the best species to overall grow well in an all natural food based small TN pond. SBS are much better adapted to grow large compared to YP in TN. Claims are made that the SBS can grow up to 3 lbs which is a huge sunfish. If you can grow SBS to 12” and 2lbs you are doing very well for a ¼ ac pond. You will get praise. My test sample of SBS grew to 8” in just one year. The test is ongoing. I expect 10” at a full 2yrs old.

2. Added Water.
Outside water can be okay for adding to the pond IF it is filtered at the discharge through 500 um mesh also called a proper mesh sized filter sock. Creek water when running clear with low nutrient concentrations can be very okay if properly filtered. Do not let any hose pumped fill water drain with direct contact down the exposed dirt embankment. This erodes the basin, makes the water muddy and adds soil nutrients. Use piping or a tarp on the bank to let the water run into the pond.

Another important water to not add to the swimming pond is the fish transport water. Your pond is small so you will not be dealing with large numbers of fish. Thus the added effort is minimal for the added benefits obtained. Do a water rinse for ALL added fish. Be prepared to dip fish out with a minnow live well dip net. Do the dip / water rinse by placing the net with some of the removed fish that are net held for a few seconds in a bucket of pond water. Lift out fish in the net; allow to drain. Dip fish in second bucket of pond water. Then from 2nd bucket allow netted fish to quickly drain & release fish into the pond. I have some careful clients do a 3rd rinse. These rinses are mainly to rinse off and reduce microscopic bad algae and plant fragments that are usually present and spread around amongst all fish farms that grow and hold fish. Most if not all small, medium and large fish farms buy their fish from big commercial farms. Small fish farms including Jones buy almost all their fish because they sell far more fish than they can grow in-house.. Fish farms are big incubation areas for algae/ weed problems transported from farm to farm because they all add the transport water to their ponds when releasing purchased fish that usually are sourced from other states. It is the practical way to receive and deliver large numbers of fish. Numerous tiny celled contaminant problems are all water born and very easily transported.

3. Vegetation.
Educate yourself to pros and cons of vegetation species that can be beneficial for a pond. And then ask questions on this forum. Higher plants growing in the pond absorb and compete with problem algae for nutrients. Whenever you can remove any plant or part of a plant that grew in the pond you are removing nutrients from the pond. Nutrients grow algae. Excess nutrients grow even more algae to the point it becomes a problem. .
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=440475#Post440475

4. Tilapia –
TP will die each winter when water temp drops to 55-48F depending on the specie or variety of tilapia. An annual cost is present when using tilapia, however so is the annual cost of pond dye and various algae control chemicals. I prefer natural control for the pond water quality vs chemicalization. ALWAYS do your best to manage nutrient input and some annual nutrient removal. This nutrient removal mgmt plan or habit plan reduces plant growing problems. IMO this is better than just killing algae / plants each year and letting all die to decompose in the pond.
Jones recommends 7-8lbs of tilapia in 1/4 ac. Some suggest 40lbs/ac or 10 lbs in 1/4ac. These numbers are often too high in my experience for a new pond or well managed ponds. Number of tilapia per year is based on amount of algae and small weeds present. Low algae = low tilapia numbers. Each fish can eat just so much algae per day. More algae requires more fish. For a new ¼ ac pond without aggressive predatory big mouth LMB, I suggest 3-4 lbs of tilapia. Sometimes only 2 lbs of mixed sizes of TP. Remember the males are always larger than the females so ASK the seller for at least a couple larger ones (males) on the truck or tank. Males build the nest; smaller females put eggs in the nests all summer long. Males grow faster than females which is why farms growing TP for the food market have all males. It is your baby tilapia that are really your algae eating ARMY. Stocker larger tilapia get the algae consumption started but it is the babies that eat most of all the new algae short growths. If you put enough TP in the new pond it should be swimming pool clean by late summer and clear up into early winter when they all die (water 45F). Some algae in the fall – not enough TP at the start or maybe TP were all one sex. IMO it is very good they all die each year because you never get an overpopulation of TP which can be a problem in itself. And next year you can buy more or fewer depending on how well of algae control they did the prior year. This way you are in control of the pond not the fish when ad if hey become too abundant. .

Do your best to reduce amount of algae before getting tilapia. Try to find and buy a smelt dipping net which is very good tool for removing excess algae, leaves, floating debris, and dying, dead tilapia, at the end of the year. Notice the long handle length 7.2ft. Cummings makes one 10ft long which is the one I prefer.
Cabelas or Bass Pro - FRABILL Smelt/Shrimp/Shad Net

Some of the smelt nets have a net rim yoke that has a hole for a spring button connector. I have found that if the ID of the yoke is 1.25" then you can use a pool skimmer pole (12'-16') from a box store such as HomeDepot to fit into the smelt net rim connector yoke.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-16-...le-with-External-Cam-Set-61316/205542693
I have fit the smelt net rim yoke into the skimmer pole, drilled a hole through both and inserted a bolt and wing nut to hold both together.

By reducing the amount of algae in spring pre-TP, the new stockers don't have to 'play a big catch up' to get the algae problem under control. Remember all plants that you remove from the pond reduces the nutrient load in the pond. Removing dead or dying tilapia also removes the bound up incorporated nutrients from the algae that TP ate as they grew. TP should at least double in size before they die. You can catch the larger tilapia with a worm and bobber fished in the shallow water beach area in Aug-Sept-early Oct before the water temp drops below 70F when TP quit spawning. Water temperature of 70F is important here. During summer, most tilapia are near the nesting - spawning area – usually the shallow area where the bulldozer drove out of the pond – i.e. beach. Water lower than 70F the TP stop spawning and it is harder to find and catch them by angling. Cleaning & eating the tilapia are pretty good and better quality than those usually sold in the grocery. Usually you will only catch a few of the TP during each angling period – they learn quickly to be cautious. IMO they are inherently shy fish.

5. Unwanted Fish.
’’””Unwanted fish: not sure how to avoid this risk, except to go with a respected/trustworthy vendor.”””
As noted by numerous others on this forum, this is a definite problem and risk for those thinking it is important wanting only the correct specie of fish ordered / purchased. Uninvited fish are IMO a major problem for those that have spent lots of careful effort planning the pond fishery. Reproducing unwanted fish can be a definite long term problem in a pond. For me, I hand sort all fish added to my pond as I do my fish rinse transfer. However, remember I had lots of fish identification class work and experience when in undergraduate, graduate, and post college endeavors. Not very many pond owners and fish farm personnel have this amount of knowledge and experience. Although these ‘hatchery’ workers do/should know pretty well the identification characters of the fish they commonly handle and sell.

This is what I would advise for those new small pond owners who do not want to get unwanted fish.
1. Be sure to tell the fish farm employee when ordering your fish that it is important to not get unwanted fish mixed into your order. Tell them their reputation is at stake here. Be present if fish are delivered. If fish are delivered, repeat your request of no mixed species in your allotment to the driver. Emphasize this. Tell them this is important to you. Now they know you are not the casual pond owner and to be extra careful when picking out fish for your order.
2. Do not order/buy the fingerling sizes of sunfish/hybrid species. These smallest ones are VERY difficult to recognize when the size of fish is 1”-2” long. The smaller these fish are the harder it is to recognize its true identity. Spend a little extra money and buy the larger sizes of stockers. Buy the next larger or 2X larger sizes. This heavily reduces the chance of identification error.
3. Buy your fish rinse net. Walmart sells a very good low cost net for fish transfer by pond owners. I sell this net for TP clients that arrive for their TP.
Promar Fun Multi-Color Bait/Fish Fishing Net 16" long x 8" wide x 1" High.
4. The Fish Rinse. If fish are bagged and oxygenated for travel, look at them in the bag to see if any look noticeably different than all the others. Use the net to lift out several fish for the rinse. Again look at them for abnormal shape or significant different coloration pattern as they sit in the net in the pond water bucket. Release captured several fish as the net-group into the pond after doing the water rinse/s.

Fish Sources
Since your pond is small you will not need to purchase very many stocker fish especially if they all have to survive on all natural pond foods. It might be interesting and worth your time to make a day trip to drive and get your fish from the fish farm distribution center or arrange to meet the deliver truck when it is relatively close to your pond. Stocker fish that have been bagged and oxygenated can survive an 6-8 hr drive home especially if the water is below 70F. Fish travel much better in cooler water conditions. Water holds measurably less oxygen the warmer the water becomes - warmer water stresses fish when they have to travel in containers. IF you drive to get your fish remember to remind the fish guy that it is very IMPORTANT to not mix any unwanted fish into your allotment. Tell them you have heard bad stories about this happening to new pond owners.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/29/24 11:53 AM. Reason: Improvements

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It's always nice to see a long post that's chockful of good information.


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Bill, just a FYI. All the fish farms that I pick up fish from use flow through systems to hold their fish, and use well water in those systems. So, there is no pond water used to hold the fish.

When the fish are initially added to the holding raceway they are put in there with pond water, but they are held in the raceways for a minimum of 3 days to purge the fish so all the pond water is gone from the raceway.

Once all those collected fish are sold, they drain the raceway, sterilize it (typically with bleach), scrubbing the painted walls, the raceways are refilled with water, any remaining chlorine is neutralized (if needed) and new fish are stocked.

The amount of water that they pump through the holding tanks on a daily basis is mind boggling. The water then exits the raceway to a ditch and exits the property.

When I fill up the hauling tanks, it's with well water. Some of the fish farms furnish oxygenated water for the holding tanks, others furnish straight well water and I have to make sure the O2 levels are up before adding the fish to the transport tanks.

It's all about bio security and not transferring nasties from facility to facility. With some facilities, if you walk inside, you have to walk through a sterilizing solution so you don't track anything nasty inside on your shoes/boots.


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esshup - It is good to know that some of the more modern fish sellers such as some of the National famous largest wholesale fish farms use clean water holding methods. They have learned the hard way by loosing many thousands of $$,$$$,$$$ of valuable fish from the widely used technique of using pond water holding fish facility methods. It would be good to know what percentage of all those fish farms - largest to smallest - that sell fish operate using your above described methods. I know of some fish haulers while on the delivery trips will drain stressed out metabolite laden tank water and replace it with some convenient type of surface water from various convenient sources.

I - My - big question is what is done with the 'clean water wholesale fish' when they arrive at the small fish farm for resale until the fish are sold????? This holding time may last several weeks. I know of no small reseller fish farm that takes the precautions you describe above. Fresh oxygenated water is IMO all they are concerned about regardless what is present microscopically. Fresh oxygenated pond water is all good water - right? I doubt if any of the many smaller retail sellers even have the ability to microscopically examine their pond water used as dilution water for hauling fish. If some retailer fish sellers cannot even sell a fish allotment having sometimes thousands of fish, without introducing a few other "wild" or unwanted or unordered fish,,,, then what type of clean water methods are they using to hold their fish for resale????

Knowing all this information above, our ever present global wide Mother Nature has her own hundreds of ways to introduce her unseen gaggle of microscopic organisms into an open pond. My point main point here is when buying your fish hauled in bags or dipped out of a hauling tank why add one more unknown variable into to your pond that could have been easily avoided.?

In my example #2 above I say that added water from a drainage ditch, creek or river or another pond is acceptable to add to a new pond providing it is filtered at the discharge through 500um mesh (filter sock). Do you have any idea how many microscopic organisms and micro-algae as species of potential problems will pass through 500um(0.5mm) mesh?? Answer: ALL OF THEM. . Microscopic organism to me are things smaller than 2mm maybe 1mm (1/16"). Some of the adults could be retained by the mesh netting,,,, but how about those same species that are as forms of immaturity and many sizes smaller than the adults? Again - ALL OF THEM! My fish rinse technique is just a simple precaution and not a necessity.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/29/24 12:35 PM.

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Originally Posted by esshup
When the fish are initially added to the holding raceway they are put in there with pond water, but they are held in the raceways for a minimum of 3 days to purge the fish so all the pond water is gone from the raceway.

Great information from all of the contributors in this thread!

esshup (and others), what specifically does the term "purge" mean in the quote above?

What are the most common/likely biological contaminants that we are trying NOT to spread throughout our facilities and ponds?

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by esshup
When the fish are initially added to the holding raceway they are put in there with pond water, but they are held in the raceways for a minimum of 3 days to purge the fish so all the pond water is gone from the raceway.

Great information from all of the contributors in this thread!

esshup (and others), what specifically does the term "purge" mean in the quote above?

What are the most common/likely biological contaminants that we are trying NOT to spread throughout our facilities and ponds?

Purge means allowing their digestive tract to be emptied out so they aren't swimming in their own toilet during transportation.

Most common are algae and plants. The facilities/growing ponds have the fish in them tested annually for a broad range of viruses and other nasties. Then you have the hitchhikers - fish NOT of the same species that a person is buying. Those are typically sorted out at the hatchery, but sometimes ESPECIALLY when the fish are small it's impossible to sort out all of them. For instance regular BG mixed in with RES. Dang near impossible to sort out 100% when they are <2" or so.


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Originally Posted by esshup
ESPECIALLY when the fish are small it's impossible to sort out all of them. For instance regular BG mixed in with RES. Dang near impossible to sort out 100% when they are <2" or so.


^^^Heed this advice to the letter or suffer the consequences later on.^^^

I have a pond full of unwanted BG. In my defense I did attempt to hold my stocker RES in a cage until they sized up enough for positive ID.
Daughter's doberman went swimming a couple days after I caged them in my pond, dump trucked the cage, and a dozen or so of 50 fingerlings escaped.

Since then I've been soaking traps 24/7 from April to October removing every <9" BG that I catch, but it hasn't been sufficient to keep up with their prolific spawns.
I bought a fyke net last fall and will begin using that once the water warms above 60° later this spring. I'll never be fully rid of them unless I drain/nuke the pond,
which I currently have no intention of doing, so I will continue the trapping but on a larger scale.

That said, I have good numbers of >10" BG along with a good crop of >12" RES, both of which I attribute to a good feeding program along with the constant trapping.
I'm just having to work a lot harder than I'd like to maintain that situation.

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Thanks for the clarification of "purge", esshup.

That is what I thought it meant, but I wasn't positive.

This leads to a related question. If fish aren't fed for 3 days (for direct transport), or aren't fed for weeks (multi-stop transport or fish wagon), at what point does the lack of food start to impact their survival rate in their new home?

(I know that fish are cold blooded, but most of my experience is with the reaction of humans and other mammals when they are extremely hungry. No clue about how much it drains fish!)

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Originally Posted by Theo Gallus
It's always nice to see a long post that's chockful of good information.

Better believe it. Wow, a lot there.....all of it good, and part of a loooong learning process, that much is obvious to me.

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Lots to digest here, Bill.....thank you a TON for taking the time to put all this down. I'm going to look into everything you mention, and definitely keep in mind your strong suggestions for how to stock the fish, especially the procedure for keeping the stocking fish free of anything negative they can bring to my pond. And, all the thoughts on tilapia.....So much to learn....

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Bill:

This isn't in regards to BJ Nick's pond re: Tilapia, but to others that might be reading this thread that have a pond that hasn't been taken care of and have an overabundance of FA in their pond. We have found out a number of things over the years.
1) Stocking Tilapia at the rate of 40# per surface acre is needed in those ponds.
2) Stocking Tilapia that are 5"-9" in length work the best, stocking 10"-12" fish more then likely are food grade fish and they most likely won't have the reproduction that is needed in the pond.
3) If the Tilapia that were stocked are "food fish" meaning they were treated at egg fertilization to be 99% male, then even at 40#/surface acre they won't do a good job. (your statement that the army of hatched in the pond Tilapia do the majority of the work eating the algae is absolutely 100% correct)
4) If the algae in the pond isn't treated with some sort of algaecide close to stocking the Tilapia (we use 5 days pre/post as an example) then usually the Tilapia cannot consume the algae that is already in the pond AND consume the newly growing algae. Not even if they are stocked at over double the recommended stocking rate.
5) If a pond owner is using Tilapia for the first time, and for whatever reason the Tilapia do NOT control their algae that year, they usually will not give them a try again in the future; they will go back to the chemical route of controlling the algae.



In regards to the clean water, all of the hatcheries that I have been at in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wisconsin use well water and a flow through system to hold their fish. You are correct in that the smaller secondary ones do not. At this point in time, we as a secondary supplier do not - we use pond water to hold the fish during the late Spring/Summer/Early Fall. We use oxygenated well water to hold fish over the winter. The long term plan is to build flow through holding tanks inside a building and use oxygenated well water like the bigger guys do. Until the bank account gets built up, it will have to be that way. I estimate that it will run somewhere North of $200,000.00 to build a large enough holding facility to hold the different species and sizes of fish in well water.

The way the laws are set up in regards to interstate fish sales, it would take a whole new thread to explain the intricacies of the regulations, and that thread would have to be updated every year because the laws change from year to year depending on what state you are talking about.

Some states just require the fish to be health tested and certified. Other states require that in addition to the fish being health tested and certified, they also require the fish farm to have their water tested to ensure that there are no "nasties" that are unseen but still in the water, i.e. Zebra Mussel veligers etc. None that I know of test for any type of algae or Starry Stonewort. Some states require the fish health test and certificate to be re-done if the fish tough ANY water that was generated in a Great Lake State, even well water. Now when testing requires that 60 fish of a certain size and species be killed for the test, and that a specially trained veterinarian collect the species, and that the testing has to be done every 6 months or every year. that can really add to the hatcheries bottom line of expenditures. When the bill runs between $600 and $1,000.00 just for the test for one fish species and size of fish, (not including the cost of the fish) and a hatchery has 10+ different species of fish, that adds up pretty durn quick.

What we as fish suppliers and stockers do to minimize any transfer of nasties is to use buckets to transfer fish from the tank to the pond. The bucket that dips water out of the tank never is used to bring fish to the pond. The nets that are used to get the fish out of the tanks are never put in the pond. The buckets are either allowed to dry out between stops, or they are sprayed with Hydrogen Peroxide and then let dry. Unfortunately there is no good way to inexpensively and quickly sterilize equipment between deliveries that is 100% foolproof. Then at the end of the delivery day everything is sterilized before starting the next delivery cycle. Transport tanks, nets, buckets, etc., etc. We can use more aggressive sterilizers back at the farm. We have never had to get water while on the road from another source other than the hatchery that the fish came from.

Last edited by esshup; 03/01/24 10:33 AM.

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Esshup explains a very good practical fish transport and distribution program. IMO and experience the precautions that esshup uses as Hoosier Pond Pros is not commonly used by all the smaller fish farms. My advice is know your fish supplier. Most all have their own methods of transporting and holding fish for resale that are the reasons why I utilize my homemade fish rinse system.


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