Filamentous algae is among the first vegetation to sprout each spring. It appears as water temps reach upper 50’s. Our preferred method to manage algae—tilapia.
Filamentous is the most common variety. It’s slimy, lime green, and grows on the bottom. When the life cycle ends, it floats to the surface, forms unsightly mats that drift around the surface, or rings the shoreline. Pond nutrient levels influence development. Growth spurts occur when the watershed introduces rain runoff from adjacent fertilized landscaping, hay meadows, or pastures with large numbers of livestock. Expensive copper-based chemicals have been the long-standing treatment, but it’s a temporary fix. Within 10-days, the next batch appears.
Algae is a tilapia’s primary diet. They offer efficient, daily maintenance throughout the season. In fact, tilapia fill multiple roles:
- Algae management
- Enhancing sportfish food chains
- Gourmet table fare
Tilapia are prolific spawners. From April through November, they supplement valuable forage for bass. Their presence increases bluegill survival rates, therefore; strengthening the food chain. We stock five to seven-inch sizes to ensure high survival rates in lakes with mature bass. If you’re considering tilapia, remember, the only factor-limiting bass from achieving trophy class is the availability of food. By reproducing every 18-21-days, tilapia are baitfish factories.
What could be more fun than a shore lunch or dinner with fresh tilapia? They grace the menu of every popular restaurant. Although tilapia are tricky to catch with a hook, they respond to floating food. Some folks crimp a food pellet on a weightless hook to trick them. Cast net around the feeder or feed them into a narrow inlet and seine a batch.
Tilapia pay great dividends for eight months until December 1. They’re a tropical species, don’t survive water temps below 52-degrees, and must be restocked annually. Current price is $10 per pound, plus delivery. Stocking rates vary with goals. Typical amounts are 10-15 pounds per surface acre. For heavy algae conditions, consider 15-20 pounds per acre.
We begin deliveries around April 1 when water temps stabilize near 70-degrees. Let’s discuss how tilapia can benefit your management program?