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Fishponds On Farms

Fishponds On Farms: Natural and Artificial Fish Foods

Fishponds On Farms: Natural and Artificial Fish Foods As with all forms of livestock, it is essential that brood fish be kept in a thrifty condition.

Healthy food, proper shelter, ventilation, and exercise— familiar requirements to the farmer—have their equivalents in the food, physical characteristics of the pond, composition and aeration of the water, and the amount of space allotted to a given number of fish.

Common sense, based upon observation of natural laws, will carry the fish-culturist a long way toward success.

All the fishes recommended for pond culture are naturally carnivorous, choosing live food through preference. Their predatory instinct in this respect cannot be catered to exclusively where their culture is undertaken on an extensive scale, but the closer it is adhered to the better the results.

It would be detrimental to the ultimate object in view to feeding them live predaceous species of minnows, for those that were not devoured would prey upon the young of the species being propagated, and eventually, the minnow offspring would monopolize the vital resources of the water.

The smaller minnows, with sucker-like mouths, may be advantageously liberated in the pond as food; for this purpose, many fish- culturists utilize goldfish, which are herbivorous feeders and scavengers, and which, in limited numbers, do not materially lessen the supply of natural food available for the game fishes.

Large numbers of goldfish would work injury through the destruction of aquatic plants, but if held in subjection the young goldfish constitute a superior food, and any that escape this destiny have a commercial value in their ornamental colorings.

Frogs, worms, and flying insects all contribute to the food supply of the brood fish, likewise, the larger aquatic insects inhabit the water. If not overstocked, therefore, the average pond may be managed so that it will furnish all the live food necessary for the adult fish.

Where this is too insufficient properly maintain the stock, however, it may be supplemented by meat or, preferably, coarse fish, which should be cut into pieces small enough to be readily swallowed.

Wild stock will refuse to accept this food until near the starvation point. Some will never do it, but the majority show such greediness for the substitute food, after having tasted it once, that they will follow the attendant about the pond whenever he appears.

Fresh livers and hearts are the materials most used where a meat diet is employed, being the cheapest good materials obtainable; fresh fish is a more natural food, however.

If the farmer is located within a reasonable distance of a fish market, arrangements can usually be made for regular deliveries of species having little or no commercial value, such as are incidentally taken by the fishers in seining.

If the magnitude of the operations will warrant, it is advisable to devote one pound to the propagation of carp for the sole purpose of producing food for the game fish. Carp feed on vegetation and large numbers of them may be reared on a farm at little expense.

The amount of food required must be governed by the appetite of the fish. They should be given all they show eagerness for once a day. During the nesting season and the cold months practically no food is required, but especial care should be taken to feed them well both before and after the spawning period.

Crappies can rarely be taught to take artificial food, but fortunately it is seldom necessary to feed them, or the breeders of other small species adapted to pond culture—the sunfishes and the rock bass. Catfish quickly learn the lesson and will consume with avidity raw or cooked meats, vegetables, and even hard grains.

DISEASES

There are no diseases of pond fishes that can be successfully combated by artificial means. A well-fed fish is usually a healthy fish, whereas thin specimens are wanting in resistance to their habitual parasites and cannot readily recover from external injuries.

If they are fed well as appropriate foods can be secured and are carried in ponds of natural characteristics, sickness will be of rare occurrence.

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Regards, Coyalita

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