Sunday, June 5, 2016

Somethin's Fishy Again





If you have been around for a while, you may remember some of my on-going pond saga.  I had my pond drained and re-dug in 2012. The following year I added some catfish who were supposed to keep it clean.  Then we had the Winter-From-Hell 2014 version and the fish all floated to the top of the pond when the ice melted.

Last year, the water weeds in the pond really got out of control and I went on an epic weeding campaign.   That was fun, but not something I want to repeat on a regular basis.  So, FB and I made another pilgrimage over tho the fish hatchery this afternoon to enlist more finned helpers.

After the weed battle last year, I spoke with more fish experts and they all recommended Triploid Grass Carp, which are sterile and require a permit to buy.  No one wants these fish escaping out into the wild as they would decimate native wetland habitats.  My pond has no outlet other than a stone lined seep into the woods so I was eligible for a permit.

I brought home another 30 catfish, which are all in that blue bucket and 6 Grass Carp.  Three each in the big tubs.

The catfish are all about 3-4 inches long....

...while the carp are a good 10-12 inches long.

Apparently, they can grow to be as much as 2-3 feet and often weigh more than 25 pounds.  From what I understand, they mainly eat plants and prefer them, but will also eat tadpoles, bugs, worms - pretty much anything if they get hungry.  Given the massive piles of water weeds I pulled out of the pond last year, they should have plenty to eat.  I hope they get along with all the painted turtles and salamanders who call my pond home as I am fond of both.

After some acclimating, I turned them all loose.  The catfish seemed quite happy to delve into their new home.

The carp seemed a bit stunned by their new environment and took a few minutes to think about things.  Once they got past the shock, they too took off to explore.

I hope the fish survive this time around.  I am a bit worried about them making it through the winter and I may look into installing some kind of bubbler that will keep a portion of the pond from freezing over.  That would ensure that the fish don't run out of oxygen.  I am wondering if there is some kind of solar powered option that does not cost a fortune.  I am also hopeful that the fish will will be a healthy addition to the pond.  If they all come bobbing to the surface next Spring though, I am going to give up and stick with a hardier type of aquatic creature....

11 comments:

  1. The carp work, no more weeds or grass, and even cleaned out some cattails that were starting to spread! Ours are approaching the 2 foot length! Good luck.

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  2. Maybe you can train Ramsey to dig an ice hole every morning :-D.

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    1. That thought strikes terror into my heart:)

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  3. Having a solar powered (or other) opening would help ensure their longevity, there are likely some DIY versions. Heavy snow cover blocks sunlight, killing remaining vegetation & the toxins need a way to exchange.

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  4. Do you harvest some of the catfish?

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    1. I just want them to help maintain the health of the pond. I don't intend to harvest them at this time. Hell, I just want them to survive past their first year.

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    2. Good Point! We have snapping turtles in our pond Oh Joy.....I will be hoping for you...and we are looking up more turtle recipes:)

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  5. that is exciting! I wonder if I could get some catfish.....

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    1. I'm sure you must have a hatchery somewhere near you. Look for channel catfish, not bullheads. If you can't find someone, try calling your version of DEC. You could also get in touch with the hatchery I went to, they ship fish all over the Northeast and probably know of suppliers in CA as well.

      http://www.hicklingsfishfarm.com/catfish.htm

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  6. I love reading about your pond, Kris... I hope you will keep us up to date on what's happening!

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