How do you nourish aquatic life in your pond? Fish food benefits scaly and whiskered critters. But what are you doing for unsung heroes vital to success of your management program?
Let’s follow the forage chain to find one important method. Bob emphasizes the only thing limiting a fingerling bass from reaching record potential is—food. What composes that food? As Bob states in a video, “Let’s start at the start”.
Pond life cycles resemble a ladder. The bottom rung is plankton, a true unsung hero. Plankton are microscopic organisms that feed beginner phases of all aquatic life. Properly managed, plankton blooms significantly increase pond productivity. They benefit not only fish, but every creature in the ecosystem.
Use bluegill as an example. Newly spawned fry are hatched with a yolk sack that nourishes them only a few days. If natural food like plankton isn’t present when the yolk sack runs-out, survival rates drop. If bluegill populations decline, bass, catfish, and other sportfish can’t achieve potential. It’s that simple!
Pond nutrient levels determine plankton density. Some waters receive nutrients from watershed sources or fish feeding programs. If you don’t have a natural source, ask us about approved fertilizers. Aquatic fertilizer must contain high phosphorus. We like liquid products with a 10-34-0 ratio or water soluble material with 12-61-0. Both must be fully-diluted and applied when water temperatures reach a sustained 65-degrees. Follow instructions carefully. The soluble brand is applied at six to eight pounds per surface acre. Liquid fertilizer is heavier than water. If not diluted, it will sink like Drano. Adding more IS NOT better. Too much plankton can create water quality problems. Ponds with excess vegetation should be evaluated by a professional before fertilized.
Obtain a standard water analysis before applying. Balanced alkalinity is required for good response.
Regularly measure plankton density with a secchi disk. The disk should disappear from sight at 18 to 24-inches. If you lose sight at 30-inches, see instructions for follow-up applications. If the disk drops from sight at 15-inches or below, contact us for instructions to begin immediate aeration.
Spawning season is underway. Valuable plankton should be established. Ask our biologist for a quote to maintain your plankton food chain this season.