So, You’re Interested in Fish Farming?
This is our most frequently asked question. We have quite a few inquiries from people that would like to know how to start their own fish farm. Here at Freshwater Farms of Ohio, we offer consulting services. Unfortunately, our services don’t really come into play until your new fish farm is at the commercial level. First, you will need a feasability study to assess your specific situation, resources and help in finding the economical approach that is right for your particular needs. We recommend that you do a lot of research and join some associations that will help align you with the resources to get you started.
Here are some important resources:
1) www.aquanic.org (Aquaculture Network Information Center)
2) Contact aquaculture extension personnel, Matthew Smith, at Ohio State University: firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Contact and join the Ohio Aquaculture Association for informative workshops and networking.
4) Become a member of the Ohio Aquaculture Association.
For a membership application, go to http://ohioaquaculture.org/membership.html.
We started our new 1/4 ac pond 8-04 with:
1/2 gal minnows
120 hybrid blue gill
25 channel cat fish
2 white amur
In April 2005 we put in 25 bass and 25 yellow perch and 2 white amur
I have three questions:
1. Do we need to add more fat head minnows or do the replenishthemselves?If you have the spawning habitat in place (water lillies, floating boards, wooden pallets under the water near the pond edge), they should be spawning throughout the summer.2. When we feed the 1/8th freedom feeds pellet fish food the cat fish donot come up and eat. Do we need to get a special food for them?They may just not be trained to come to the surface, or you may want to try a new brand of feed we carry that is a richer in the fishmeal and oils.3. We are enjoying the pond, fish and the aerator. The pond isn’t real clear. It has little patches of foam on top.Make sure you are not over-feeding the pond, since extra floating feed will leach proteins over time and create the foam you describe. Nothing serious, but too much feed will also make the pond murky. Try feeding half as much as you have been.
I am writing the expert for a answer regarding salmon. I was listening to a food expert that said you should only eat wild salmon and not farm raised because it is much healthier for you. I went to the grocery for wild salmon and they couldn’t tell me if it was wild or not so could you explain it to me in laymans terms.
Well, Beth, he may be an expert on food, but certainly not on fish! The marketing war the wild-caught fishery industry has waged on aquaculture (since salmon farming has taken over 50% of their market share) has produced an enormous amount of misinformation heaped on the general public. An anti-aquaculture group gave 2 million dollars to some researchers a few years ago, and they included more money for a public relations campaign than most scientists get for a whole grant. So when in 2004 they announced their results of sampling environmental contaminants (pcb’s) of wild and farmed salmon, they hit the media in an unprecedented campaign that left the public food agencies (from the FDA to the American Heart Assn.) unable to counter the nonsense of their “conclusions”. They proclaimed that farmed salmon had “dangerously higher” levels of contaminants, when in fact both were healthly and 200x lower than the safety standards set by the FDA. The only reason that any minute traces of contaminants were found in the farmed salmon, is that they are raised in pens along the coast, and they pick up these traces from the open environment (unlike our inland fish, which have no detectable levels!) The biggest boondoggle of all is the way in which that “research” was conducted and how they chose their sample locations. The highest levels were found in Europe, where persistent industrial contamination is worse, and not in Canadian or Chilean farmed-salmon, but had they sampled the wild Copper River salmon (which they did not), they could have found levels 10x higher than the safety limits in what is considered the most premium wild-caught salmon. In fact, the level of pcb’s in this salmon increases as it migrates up its home stream, since the contaminants are stored in fatty tissues, and becomes more concentrated as they lose muscle mass on their journey. It is already a concern in environmental science circles that migrating wild salmon are acting as pcb-pumps and transporting coastal pcb’s into the upper mountain streams, and as the contamination increases, this may be one of the reasons for the poor survival of the salmon eggs and fry that are extremely sensitive to any form of pollution.
Health professional are greatly concerned about the damage that this misinformation may have on public health because of people fearing one of the most healthy foods available to them (one of the top 10 “super foods” along with whole grains and berries). Recent research has also shown dramatic health and cognitive improvements in children whose mothers ate weekly amounts of oily fish like salmon and trout.
In all, it has been very frustrating for aquaculturists who are trying to produce a wholesome product for the market place, although I am confident that the truth will come out in the end.
I have a 1/2 acre pond that is very stocked with Bass and blue gill and as I’ve read, the blue gill starts to over take the pond which seems to be happening to mine. Is there a way to thin out the blue gill by adding a predator fish that won’t affect the bass? And is having to many blue gills going to starve the bass? Thanks for any help you can give.
This has been a very common problem in pond management for the last sixty years, and yet many publications still recommend bluegill as the food base for bass. That approach requires that 50 bluegill are removed for every bass that is taken from the pond, but sometimes that is not nearly enough. We have seen much greater success with using the native fathead minnow as the primary feeder fish for bass and other desirable pond predators. It is always a preferred food item for bass, even at the adult stage. In your pond, you need to get the stunted bluegill population under control before switching to fathead minnows. The reduction of cover is the first step in thinning out the smaller bluegill (less than 3″) and this can be done by stocking white amur at 10-15 per acre to consume pond vegetation (some older ponds require twice that number) . With an adequate bass population, this can be very effective, and 100 bass per acre is usually enough. The second step in bluegill reduction is to stock rainbow trout in October when pond temperatures are below 70 degrees at the surface. Trout at least 10-12″ in length are stocked at 25-50 per acre, and they are very effective predators on the small fish during the winter, and can be fished out in April and May (usually 1 to 1 1/2 pounds by then). The trout will start to die out in June when water temperatures rise above 70 degrees, and will not survive the summer in most Ohio ponds (the exception being springwater-overflowing ponds). At this point, the fathead minnows are introduced at 1500-4500 per acre (1-3 gallons), and artificial substrate is added for sanctuary from the bass. Evergreen brush piles are preferred, although other tree branches will work for a few seasons, and large groupings (10-20 feet around) in 3-4 feet of water are the most effective.
If you are fortunate to be able to stock a pond from scratch, the bluegill are often not included, since many of their problems can be avoided (including nuisance swimmer bites). For those pond owners that still want to fish for bluegill (and not swim), we recommend the fatheads as the feeder base and stocking hybrid bluegill at a gamefish-stocking rate of 100 per acre to avoid overpopulation and to achieve increased size (often 1-2 pounds each!).
Last summer i had a pond put in approx. 1\8 acre. i would like tostock it with yellow perch and a bait fish such as black headminnows only. could you please advise me on this .my pond is innorthern ohio and every body has bass, bluegill and catfish intheir ponds but i would like to stick with perch only. your advicewould greatly be appreciated.thank you.
That is not a problem to stock a pond using only fathead minnows andperch (with you as the top predator). We have stocked many ponds this wayover the last 15 years, and it works well. A few Christmas trees placedunder the water around the edge of the pond is the best way to keep theperch spawing and populating the pond. Another option is to supplement thepond with a high quality fish feed for the perch, and stocking densitiescan be increased from 100 per acre to 1000 or more. Many of our customersno longer stock bluegill in their ponds because of their tendency tooverpopulate and become stunted, as well as their aggressive nature towardswimmers in the spawning season over nests.
In the past I have used a pump to pump air to the bottom of the pond,but last year the pump failed and now sits in my garage. Do you service this equipment or canyou tell me where I might get it fixed?
If the motor is running, but no air is produced, it probably needs a new rubber diaphragm and / or reeds that cost between $13 and $34 for parts. This a normal maintenance item after several years of operation. If the motor is not running, we have replacement pumps that sell for $165-$250, assuming you have the other accessories from the original one (fittings, air filter, etc.). We can take a look at it, if you like, and determine what can or cannot be repaired.
I have a small pond. Less then ¼ acre. It is also in a wooded area soit does not get much sun or wind action. I am having problems with a plant that I call “duck weed”. Small plant that floats on the surface of the pond and has taken over. What do you suggest to remove this?
If you truly have duckweed (2-4mm in diameter) on the pond, and not watermeal (0.5-1mm in diameter), then it is controllable by stocking white amur, the algae-eating fish. However, the watermeal type is too small for them to eat normally, and it is extremely resistant to chemical treatment as well. There are no good control measures available for it besides physical removal (especially after wind blows it to one side, but in your case that may be a rare occurrence).
Is the sturgeon aboundant in the great lakes?
The sturgeon is currently on the endangered species list in Lake Erie due to overfishing. At Freshwater farms, we raise sturgeons in our hatchery. More about the sturgeon.