Re: NANFA-- not thinking-long

R. W. Wolff (
Fri, 23 May 2003 02:01:12 -0500

Here is how I harvest the fish come late fall. Drain the pond slowly, don't
want all the fry sucked out by a strong pump. Put a little 120 to 160 gph
pump in a shallow area to start. In a few hours you can move it down. You
can cover the intake with foam. Check this occassionally to make sure its
not clogged. This can be a hassle, but if you have baby fish its worth it.
Once its drained to the lowest area and a few inches of water remains,
running a dip net around should find most of the fish. You will need an
entire day to do this. Start early. Nothing is more frustrating than getting
the water almost out and see all your fish scuttleing around, and it's
getting dark and cold on a Novemeber day. Your pond is still new, and not
established. Once it is established green water should not be a problem,
less you stock it full of huge fish. String algae, and the floating foam
algae types can still be a problem, but they don't cloud the water. They can
be removed with a net and remove the nutrients they suck up with them. Works
for me, if I have time to do it.

Try barley straw to reduce new algae, as the older algae cells die off.
Shade will help too, get lily pads and lay small tiles or flat stones on the
tuber to anchor them to the bottom. The roots being in the open water will
absorb nutrients, and the resulting pads will shade the water. Oh yeah, the
barley straw works best with current going through it. The more water
exposed to it, the better. If barley straw is not available, try other
things that will stain the water. Driftwood tannins will help. Driftwood
adds cover, shade etc, as well. If you have access to dried cattails from
last season, this will work like the barely straw as well. A nylon bag with
peat moss can add tannins too. The enneacanthus love black water
situtations, and suspened algae doesn't. The brown tint shades the water,
and the acidity might have an effect on it too? Leave the blue dye for
someone with a reflecting pond.

My gar pond had bluespotted sunfish survive this last winter, probably the
worst winter for living things, plant and animal, in a long time. The
section they were in was nearly froze solid, with a tunnel of water where
the channel is, and most likely only the six foot deep hole being open. As
long as gas exchange can happen, and the pond doesn't freeze solid to the
deepest part ( not likely unless you have a winter like I had or worse ) the
bluespotteds should survive. I have never had enough blackbandeds to try and
see if they would make it out there. Most sunfish species are cold
tolerant. The winter before last was not a walk in the park , atleast the
last half, and my killi pond with a small hole only 32 inches deep a foot in
diameter in the bottom ( average depth one foot) had banded pygmy sunfish
survive I missed during harvest.

Avoid things that promise cure all for lots of money, usually the simplest
methods work best. I have tried algae clumpers ( conncoctions in bottles)
magic bacteria cultures etc, and none worked any better than getting the
pond established with aged water, and lots of plants. Aged water... I nearly
drain my killi pond all the way each fall to pull the fish. I refill it with
my well water. I will get a bloom even sometimes when some ice has formed.
By spring though the water is good to go. I clean almost all the muck out in
the fall too, but leave a bit.

Hope this helps, and have patience. Spring time blooms often subside once
the pond stabilizes and plants really take off. marginal plants will help
too, iris, pickeral weed with exposed roots along the shoreline. Use
baskets, or the tile or flat stone to anchor them. My ponds have substrate,
but I plant these plants on the edges of the shelves so the outer roots
grow bare over the deeper areas for maximum contact with water.

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