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Have a fairly new pond full of FHM but no plants. Would adding RES likely end in poor establishment since there are virtually no aquatic plants?

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I'm in the same boat RAH with a new pond and no plants. Part of my stocking will include RES as the same time we add the BG in.

Do you have places for the babies to hid if there's a spawn or other fish habitat?


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Originally Posted by RAH
Have a fairly new pond full of FHM but no plants. Would adding RES likely end in poor establishment since there are virtually no aquatic plants?
RAH, I had little success with RES until my veggies were well established, not saying you won't possibly have better luck and hope you do, but in my case there was nothing to support aquatic inverts, snails or any other common larva. FHM were present but they didn't start showing up as recruits until the end of year 4 .

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I think snrub had some RES in one or two ponds with very few plants and they did pretty well. (However, my memory may be faulty.)

If you search the archives and add his name in the search parameters, you might see if he had any good insights?

I think(?) he had RES in a tiny grow out pond that he hand fed, and had RES in a larger pond with SMB. The RES in the grow out pond were seined and then moved into his main pond.

(He is in SE Kansas.)

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I have a pond full of FHM babies, but near zero plants.

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Curious....Would the limestone rocks and riprap help with the plant shortage for RES?

I have some plants on order but very nothing established in the pond currently.


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I ask because even without the plants we have seen a few (3-4) snail shells on the bank, and with the warmer temps we just started to see a few crayfish tubes close to the water's edge as well.

Is there a size that the RES switch from algae and microorganisms to snail, crawfish and mollusks?

There would be some food in the pond for them to survive on in RAH's case even without the plants if he had some habitat that could produce forage while the plants were getting established?


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I guess that my real question is: Do RES require snails/mollusks, or are small fish enough as food? Will likely add 15 RES this spring unless failure is imminent.

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Only 15?, I think they would certainly survive and have a decent chance of thriving.

I can't remember, how big is your new pond?

I have a tiny new pond (re-excavated old pond) with no plants, and it is full of aquatic insects and larva and it hasn't even got that warm here yet!

Do you still have any of your nice rock available? Perhaps if you were going to rock one section of the shore, now might be a good time. Some of the small aquatic creatures that use that environmental niche might add to your food supply for the RES.

Finally, have you jump-started the pond with some FHMs? Throw in a few cedars to make a substrate for your periphyton film, then start some FHMs.

I do enjoy escargot at a fancy restaurant. However, I will also eat a cheeseburger at a greasy truck stop. I am no expert on RES, but I think they would enjoy fat, slow FHMs while they were waiting for snails to populate in the pond.

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Pond is about 1/3 acre and has an attached wetland of about the same size. I am planning to add riprap to the area that connects them. Unfortunately, the pond leaks and drops 4' during the summer. Pond has had FHM (no other fish) for a couple years. [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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Yep, that is the pond that I remembered you getting finished!

I would definitely put in 15 RES the next time you have them in hand.

In a worst case scenario that a drought pulls your water level way down, you could probably seine them out or trap them and move them back to another pond.

I think they would be pretty happy in a pond filled with FHM and several seasons worth of insects.

If you are NOT working hard to establish vegetation in your new pond, then maybe you could add some crayfish when you add the rock. I think RES will eat any crayfish that are small enough to fit in their mouths.

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The "volcano-forming" crayfish already moved in. Can pickup RES in early May. Water level if deep enough in the center trench even during droughts, but not sure on O2 levels. Was originally thinking of warmouth due to their tolerance of low O2 but have not yet been able to source any. If the RES do not survive, I won't be out much. Just did not want to kill them if the chances were very low that they survive. Pond is almost 100% spring/sub-surface fed. On a bright note, my SMB pond is doing great. Neighbor caught a really fat one, and when he looked down its throat, he saw a tail fin. Plenty of food by all appearances. Guidance from this group was spot on! Not sure if it is the YP, golden shiners, lake chubsuckers, or a combination of food, but it is working. No RES have yet been caught out of this pond. Hopefully, the CC and black crappie will spawn this year in the catfish (3rd pond). Not sure if the spotfin shiners or transplanted lake chubsuckers established in this 3rd pond, but the fathead minnows or some other babies seem like they are doing well. Very few plants in this pond too. Even the lotus continues to struggle after years in the pond. It keeps dying out in the older spots as it moves around the pond. Maybe it will eventually find a spot in the clay bottom where it can survive. This pond is still a foot below full pool due to last year's drought and below normal rainfall since then. The new pond is down 2' coming out of winter. First two ponds are running out the drain pipes. We did get a couple inches of rain last week. Always fun!

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Awesome. Glad to hear the other ponds are doing well - especially your SMB pond!

If you can't catch any of your RES, could you trap a few? That would let you sample your existing population, and if they look healthy you could re-home them in your new pond.

P.S. Since you have groundwater ponds, are the "volcano-forming" crayfish zero threat to your pond integrity? If so, then they might like the rock in the new pond. I have never dug out a burrow to see how deep our similar local crayfish go. I might have to excavate one burrow to measure if I see any in the creek this spring.

Do you have crayfish in the SMB pond? About this time of year, when we would catch spotted bass in our favorite rocky reservoir they would have crayfish antenna sticking out of their craws on 90% of the landed fish! I think SMB like their crayfish suppers just as much?

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Not really worried about the burrowing crayfish as they have not caused me any issues yet. SMB pond has papershells as well as burrowing crayfish.

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Decided to add just 10 RES this Saturday. Can always add 10 more next year.


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