Fishponds On Farms: Capacity of a Pond for the Production of Fish
Fishponds On Farms: Capacity of a Pond for the Production of Fish It is difficult to estimate the capacity of ponds for the various stages in the growth of fish. It depends upon the amount of appropriate food available.
A 2-acre pond producing 10,000 one-year-old black bass from 4 to 6 inches long would be a remarkably successful enterprise, and 20,000 one and one-half to two-inch yearling crappie or sunfish to an acre of water would be like- wise notable. These numbers have been realized and, in some instances, exceeded, but the average results are doubtless much smaller.
The stock will be decreased through cannibalism at least 50 per cent by the end of the second year, and the yearlings held over will consume a large percentage of the fry hatched during the second and succeeding years of operations. Enough should survive, however, to maintain the adult stock at the maximum number that the pond will support.
In waters of elevated temperature those species adapted to culture in ponds will attain maturity and reproduce at the age of 2 years. In cool waters reproduction may be delayed until the fourth year, or in case the species is very poorly adapted to the temperature conditions the fish may remain small, stunted specimens throughout life and never reproduce.
There are many enemies of fish, especially of fry and fingerlings, against which the fish culturist must wage continual warfare. The heaviest losses will be from cannibalism, and these will be gauged by the balance of the food and fish in the pond. Some species are more predaceous than others.
For this reason, black basses, the scourge of restricted waters, are recommended only for large areas of the highest fertility. Such species as pike and pickerel should never be selected for culture in ponds, as they are the most piratical and devastating fishes inhabiting fresh waters.
It is necessary to guard closely against the inadvertent establishment in a pond of any undesirable species of fish or animal.
Turtles and snakes will consume large numbers of fry and fingerlings during a season and should be barred from the waters as strictly as possible.
Kingfishers, herons, ducks, mudhens, fish hawks, etc., Boon locate a pond and prove the most persistent poachers. Powder and shot are their most effective deterrent. If inroads on the stock are made by mink, they should be trapped in season— t a time when they will, at least in part, make reimbursement for their board. Muskrats, while not fish destroyers, work havoc with pond embankments and should be exterminated.
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