I was going to add this to my previous post (Cage to Cage transfer: crappie 4-25-12) but thought it might benefit others as a new topic.

April 7 - Picked up 25 black crappie (BCP) fingerlings from the hatchery

April 18 - BCP started taking freeze dried mealworms.

April 18 - May 19 - started tossing in pellets, Aquamax 5D05, but they were not interested. Started thinking that perhaps BCP are sight/texture feeders and decided to try and make the pellets look like mealworms. By May 19th, the BCP were feeding aggressively on "mealworm" pellets. Here is how I make mealworm pellets.

After referencing a previous PondBoss article on artificial feeds and feeding, I settled on using a mixture of 20 grams of pellets with 13 grams of water. The pellets and water are placed in a small plastic bottle and shaken for 1-2 minutes. The pellet/gravy mixture is then poured out onto a plate, leveled out and left to sit for 2 hours so the pellets can absorb all the water.
After 2 hours I make a pellet pie crust by placing a plastic sandwich bag over the mixture and rolling it out with a wooden rolling pin. The pellet crust is maybe 1/16" thick.
Next I take a dough/pastry scraper and slice the crust into 1/8" wide by 1/2 to 3/4" long strips....my mealworm pellets. The whole rolling/cutting process takes less than 10 minutes.

Due to my work schedule, the fish get one feeding per day during the week. On weekends, I double up.

July 4th - transferred the BCP to a new cage. Sampled 6 fish.
Average weight 39 grams. Length 5-6". I had one runt in the net, 2-2.5 inches. No mortality from the original 25 !
With some fish weights in hand I sat down to figure out how I'm doing on my feed amount. Aquamax does not list a feed chart for black crappie so I deferred to the one for yellow perch. Based on this, my calculations show that I need to increase my daily weekday rate from 20 to ~30 grams/day.
For those folks that read this, does anyone know if a relative weight table exists for BCP ?

As this is my first attempt at cage raising BCP on pellets, I'm open to all comments/advice.


- Russ

** mental note to self. Pick up another pastry scraper and rolling pin before making this years holiday pies.