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dwaun Offline OP
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Hello Everyone!!!

Last year I bought a property with a small 1/4 acre pond in North Texas. I monitored the pond thru last year's dry summer and it seemed to hold up well, so I'm hoping I can stock a few fish in it this spring. My thought was to add some minnows and sunfish. What I'm trying to figure out is if I need to do any prep work before adding fish. That pond's water has always been surprisingly clear and there seems to be a good bit of aquatic plants. Is this an issue for minnows and sunfish?

Attached are a couple photos of the pond. I know I should be going with catfish for a small pond, but I'd really like to avoid that if at all possible, unless they'd be a good supplement to other fish like the sunfish.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
dwaun

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Welcome to Pond Boss!!!

How deep do you think the pond is, and do you think there are any fish in it now/already?

Adding fathead minnows and bluegill are a good way to get started, and you really don't need to have catfish unless you want them.

I would also add some kind of cover into the pond to provide some refuge for the fish, and maybe some kind of shade depending on what you use for cover. Some live lily pads could do a job for you.

Also, will you plan to feed the fish? If so, your options increase vastly.


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With a 1/4 ac pond, what are the fishery goals? Will anybody be swimming in it?


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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Here’s the problem. Every predator needs prey and every prey needs predators to keep them from over spawning and fouling the water. I have used both bass and cats as small pond fish predators. Wait a year before adding bass or cats. When the prey gets thick enough for a bass to go to sleep with its mouth open and wake up with a full belly, it’s time to stock them.

Cats are, to me, preferable because they spawn but it is seldom successful due to the fry going everywhere in a school and are easily picked off.

I liken their relation to coyotes and rabbits. Same concept.


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The submerged vegetation is helping to create clear water by competing with plankton in the water column. Know your water alkalinity. Good alkalinity is above 20 and better 30ppm for good plankton growth. Low alkalinity leads to clear water and tends to not allow plankton abundance and thus it allows abundant rooted plants to be the most common type of plant. The vegetation has several pros and cons.

Fish options. Bluegills and minnows will reproduce and make lots of small fish. If it is to be a fishing pond then you can add several largemouth who will also reproduce to make lots of little bass that could soon be too abundant and eventually eat all or most all the small fish. Balance becomes important when having both reproducing prey and predator. If the pond is not mainly for active frequent fishing, first consider adding hybrid striped bass as the predator and not largemouth. The HSB do not reproduce. Too many HSB remove some to few and BG are too abundant add more HSB - you control their numbers. With first using HSB later LMB can be added to control too many BG or sunfish. HSB will grow to sizes that are determined by the amount of small fish to be eaten. 1/4 ac would not need very many predator bass to keep the minnow/sunfishes/ BG controlled.

Another option in a small 1/4 ac is use HBG instead of regular BG. Pros and cons of either one. With HBG you could use either LMB or HSB as predator. When using HBG with LMB, the LMB do not grow very big because the HBG do not make very many small offspring for LMB to eat a lot and thus grow very big. Usually with just HBG LMB do not grow much bigger than 12" to maybe 14" depending on how many LMB are in the pond. The fewer LMB present the bigger they will grow in any pond.

Ask questions for some answers and more opinions.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/04/24 10:23 PM.

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Thanks for everyone's comments. I did find out that the pond is only about 6 feet deep, so a bit more shallow than I anticipated.

So if I understand things correctly, plankton is good for the fish, but the plants are reducing the amount of plankton. Since the water seems very clear, can I assume that I have too much plant life? Also, last fall I did a water test and it showed an Alkalinity level of 76, so it sounds like that should be good for plankton growth.

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Correct, the plants are contributing to the clear water. I'd try and treat about 1/4 to no more than 1/2 of the pond for underwater weeds and see how the phytoplankton responds in 2-3 weeks after the plants fall to the bottom.


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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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