Fishponds On Farms: Sources of Water Supply for Ponds.
Fishponds On Farms: Sources of Water Supply for Ponds. Springs are the most dependable of all the sources of water supply, requiring the minimum expenditure in preparation and being the least subject to outside influence.
The presence of injurious mineral substances can usually be detected without expert analysis, but the amateur fish culturist may be surprised to learn that so-called pure water often carries abnormal proportions of oxygen or nitrogen gases in quantities inimical to fish life.
This may be due either to sub aeration or super aeration, and the results following the use of such water will be as disastrous in one case as in the other.
This contingency and the requisite of elevated temperature make precarious the embodiment of springs and wells within the pond bed. In the absence of thoroughly demonstrated fitness, the more prudent course will be to provide an independent water supply reservoir, apportioning its area to the volume of the spring.
While being held in this reservoir the gaseous contents of the water will be corrected and its temperature seasonably modified.
The flow from many springs is so obstructed through the trampling of stock or from other causes that they emit only a small portion of the water available near the surface.
In such cases the supply may usually be materially increased by sinking 2-foot lengths of terra- cotta pipe over the bubble and removing the incased earth.
Several such pipes in a promising area will often result in an astonishing increase in flow. “Where the cost is not prohibitive, however, the better course will be to excavate the site and wall it in with rock and concrete.
In profusely watered sections—notably, in the States bordering the Great Lakes—there are many tracts of marshy characteristics, some of them hundreds of acres in extent, promiscuously interlaced with tiny rivulets which combine to form streams of considerable size.
Seemingly inexhaustible quantities of water lie close to the surface in many such places, and by driving pipes only a few feet into the ground flowing wells are obtained.
Where the volume of water is a matter of concern, the overflow level of spring reservoirs, sunken tiling or driven pipes should be kept as low as possible, consistent with the object in view, as the flow will naturally decrease with the elevation of the head against which it works.
A brood pond contiguous to a spring reservoir may be fed through a spillway directly into the stock pond. Where a reservoir is impracticable, at least partial correction of any abnormal condition of the water may be brought about by conducting it to the pond through open ditches or raceways of wood or concrete, the choice of material being determined by adaptability of the soil and the comparative expenditure involved.
The chief objection to creek or river water as a supply for fishponds is the great quantity of mud and debris carried during fresh nets, and the excessive cost of effective measures to prevent its introduction into the ponds.
Streams subject to extremely high-water periods are impracticable as a source of supply, while those of lesser floods can be utilized only after a considerable initial expenditure, and much vigilance will be entailed in their use, as large and continuous deposits of mud in breeding ponds will ruin any eggs present, and invariably kill recently hatched fry.
Furthermore, protracted roily water will retard and sometimes prevent growth of aquatic vegetation so essential to pond fish- cultural operations. It is also imperative that undesirable and predaceous fishes be rigorously excluded from the ponds, and it will be impossible to accomplish this if the water supply is beyond control during certain periods.
From the foregoing it can readily be seen that if a stream is subject to appreciable changes, because of storms or drainage from local watersheds, it would be unwise to establish a pond therein by the construction of dams, as is often contemplated.
It will be entirely feasible, however, to conduct water from such a stream to ponds adjacently located, provided the intake is screened, the supply arranged so that it can be cut off during times of excessive turbidity, and measures are taken to prevent the inundation of the pond site in high-water periods.
It may be necessary to erect a dam in the channel of the stream, to provide the required head of water for gravity flow to the pond, in which case it may be of a simple type, designed merely to accomplish the end in view.
The intake from the stream should be wide and deep, thus presenting a large screen surface to obviate the complete stoppage of the water supply in the absence of the caretaker. It should be covered by a series of screens graduated in size, the first consisting of coarse hog wire, or wooden racks with like openings, to catch the largest objects.
The intermediate screen (of 2-inch mesh) will intercept vegetation, while the inner one must be fine enough to exclude smaller debris and the fry of undesirable fishes.
Immediately below the screens, gates should be provided so that the water may be shut off flap at will and diverted into a storm channel when it becomes too roily for use. Where the source of supply is a lake, the difficulties referred to above are not encountered, lake water seldom being roily and demanding less attention to screens owing to absence of currents.
Uncontaminated open waters have many advantages. Their temperatures are seasonal; usually there are no abnormal gaseous constituents to be corrected, the plankton or pelagic animal and plant life contained therein forms a valuable addition to the natural food supply in the pond, and were it not for the difficulty of control and occasional oiliness, such waters would be preferable to springs and wells as a source of supply to fishponds.
Wells, both flowing and power lifted, are successfully used in some sections for the cultivation of fish. Before incurring the expense of constructing ponds to be supplied from such a source, however, it will be advisable to thoroughly test the water to demonstrate its fitness for fish culture.
This can best be done by fitting up a running-water supply in a retaining reservoir, and holding therein, for an extended period, a few specimens of the species of fish it is desired to propagate.
If they thrive, it may be assumed that the water is free from injurious gases or mineral substances and is adapted to the work it is proposed to undertake. Rainwater (surface drainage). —Another class of pond’s available for the propagation of fish, known as ” sl^ ponds,” embraces those wholly or partly dependent upon local precipitation for their supply of water.
Such ponds are invariably profuse in the production of fish food, and for this reason, it would be ideal were there an auxiliary water supply adequate to maintain constant surface levels during the critical nesting season, and a fair depth throughout the remainder of the year.
In the absence of this reserve many such ponds become dry during periods of drought or freeze to the bottom in the winter months. Where ponds are subjected to such conditions fish cultural operations are impracticable.
Ponds dependent entirely upon precipitation and surface drainage for their water supply must necessarily be located at a low elevation, in order that the surface drainage from surrounding lands may be taken advantage of. Land depressions, ravines protected from floods, or swamp lands, are desirable sites for such ponds.
Catfish can only be recommended for the best of “sky ponds,” and the results even with them will be very uncertain.
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