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Originally Posted by esshup
Good question, I just toss them into ponds.

I have read a thousand long-winded replies on Pond Boss that basically boiled down to, "It depends."

I chuckled out loud to read a reply that was just the opposite!

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Bill (and all others),

Except for "swimming" ponds, I think most people have reducing the FA with tilapia as a secondary objective after their primary fish management objective.

So, for example, if a person has a LMB/BG pond, and small BG eat lots of tilapia fry, then there really isn't anything the pond manager could do to help the tilapia fry survive to adulthood.

However, can you list some "supplemental fish" that you think should be excluded from a pond if you suspect the pond will have significant FA problems?

I am thinking about things like Golden Shiners, or Crappie that might really hoover up the tilapia fry, and therefore you should NOT include those species in your pond stocking plan if you think tilapia are going to be an important part of the pond's management tools.

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Definitely not a pro here but I'll chime in with my thoughts on why we moved forward with Tilapia at our place. Right, wrong or indifferent they are in the pond now and we'll see how it plays out for the year. The good news is that there's nearly a 100% chance that the Tilapia will die this fall as our temps for this area will likely have some amount of ice on the pond taking the water temps below critical for the Tilapia we stocked. I was hoping for Blues but settled for a Nile/Moz cross (availability).

Pros

1. The Tilapia will graze the FA we started to see on the riprap around the pond and provide an unplanned additional forage base for YP and LMB as I wasn't planning to have Tilapia until 2025.
2. My understanding is that the Tilapia in many cases take some of the pressure off of the BG/RES populations due to their prolific breeding which, in a bass overcrowded scenario, allows the BG/RES to repopulate balancing the pond population.
3. I have read that Tilapia become sluggish at lower water temps and in one article the swim in circles like a fish in distress. Predators gorge themselves on these fish which can only lead to potential weight gains.

Larry Harley - Texas Tilapia

Cons

1. The Tilapia may eat some of the pond plants we are trying to get established thus slowing down some of our work. Hopeful that our 1/4" wire mesh will help to prevent this.
2. Some of the Tilapia will likely outgrow the gape of our predators (LMB, and YP).

For my personal situation I looked at the pond as Quazi bass overcrowded as the forage base is new. We are seeing small fry in the 1,000's between 1/4 -1/2" in multiple areas of the pond. Assuming the BG will spawn this year as we stocked 3-5" - Hopeful we see 2-3 spawns but that's in Mother Nature's hands. Stocking the Tilapia was hedging our bets to hopefully allow full establishment of the BG/RES/YP/Shiner population with some or more limited predation on them over the winter by the LMB.

Would be a complete bonus if the LMB were able to gorge on some of the Tilapia going into the winter.

To your question on forage fish (BG and Golden Shiners) eating some of the Tilapia. My guess is that they won't have an impact overall. Both of them have mouth gapes that are small enough that the Tilapia will outgrow it. YP may be able to put a dent in them but that would likely help the BG/RES populations to get established. LMB will likely be the biggest player here as they can take the biggest bite but if the stocking quantities are right.....there's a buffet for them at the end of the year as water temps drop.

Looking forward to some other comments. Hopefully I didn't shoot myself in the foot.


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Thanks Boondoggle.

I think watching the development of your pond will be a good test case. Your are roughly in the middle of the "use tilapia for a single year" zone.

I hope you and your family get great enjoyment from your pond this year!

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Our typical Tilapia stocking is for FA control, not forage.


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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SRAC 0283: Tilapia: Life History and Biology
https://srac.tamu.edu/fact-sheets/serve/53

Reproduction In all Oreochromis species the male excavates a nest in the pond bottom (generally in water shallower than 3 feet) and mates with several females. After a short mating ritual the female spawns in the nest (about two to four eggs per gram of brood female), the male fertilizes the eggs, and she then holds and incubates the eggs in her mouth (buccal cavity) until they hatch. Fry remain in the females mouth through yolk sac absorption and often seek refuge in her mouth for several days after they begin to feed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tilapia have a higher early survival rate than LMB, BG etc. because of above parental reproductive method.

Last edited by ewest; 05/28/24 12:38 PM.















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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Bill (and all others),

I am thinking about things like Golden Shiners, or Crappie that might really hoover up the tilapia fry, and therefore you should NOT include those species in your pond stocking plan if you think tilapia are going to be an important part of the pond's management tools.


Tilapia post from 2013

Rod,

I stand corrected and there was some really good info in this post from some of the more experienced guys here on the forum not to mention Mr Lusk chiming in too.

Wasn't trying to lead anybody off the right track and wanted to make sure I provided the right info...some of this has been talked through before...

Enjoy the read, hope it helps with your questions.


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Boondoggle,

Thanks for posting that link into this thread! That is a good one.

I read that one a long time ago. I am pretty sure it was in the back of my brain somewhere when I was asking questions about helping the tilapia fry reach maturity.

I think that is an important step for increasing the forage value of tilapia to the other fish in the pond AND for increasing the ability of the tilapia to combat FA.

I know that process is very difficult to study and quantify. Just wanted to see how much our knowledge base has advanced in the last few years.

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